WMU News

WMU to hold medieval seminar at the British Library

June 8, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A rare opportunity to study a collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts at the British Library in England will be given to 15 medieval scholars through a summer seminar directed by Western Michigan University's Medieval Institute and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The six-week seminar, titled "Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Texts," will be held June 25-Aug. 3, and is the first time the British Library has been host to an NEH seminar or allowed a group access to its wide collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. Considered one of the world's best research libraries, the facility traditionally allows scholars to study its collection on an individual basis.

"The participants of the seminar will be privileged to handle these materials," says Dr. Timothy C. Graham, assistant director of the Medieval Institute and co-director of the seminar.

The Medieval Institute was awarded $128,000 by the NEH to conduct the seminar, making this the fourth time WMU has received funding from that agency to sponsor its summer institutes. According to Dr. Paul E. Szarmach, Medieval Institute director, WMU is one of only a few institutions to consistently receive such NEH funding. WMU has previously held seminars in 1995, 1997 and 1999; with the 1997 seminar also held in England at Cambridge University's Parker Library.

A total of 15 scholars were selected from nearly 40 applicants to participate in this year's seminar. Each participant will receive a $3,700 stipend and will be exposed to a variety of topics, including issues, problems and methodologies that have arisen in the past decade of Anglo-Saxon manuscript studies.

"The fact that a world premier research library such as the British Library will allow our participants access to invaluable manuscripts demonstrates a positive reflection of WMU and validation of its Medieval Institute," says Szarmach.

WMU is one of the few universities in North America to offer medieval studies and the first state-supported university to introduce a master's degree in that curriculum. Each year, the University plays host to the International Congress on Medieval Studies, which is the largest gathering of medieval scholars in the world, attracting more than 3,000 medieval scholars from all parts of the globe.

Media contact: Lisa Lueking, 616 387-8400

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