Western opens campus to medieval scholars for 2023 International Congress

Contact: Deanne Puca

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Medieval scholars from around the world will convene on Western Michigan University’s campus Thursday through Saturday, May 11-13, for the 58th meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Held virtually the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event returns in a hybrid format, including 268 traditional in-person sessions, 151 virtual sessions and 45 blended-format sessions that make it possible for speakers to present and audiences to attend both in-person and online.

“We’re excited to bring the Congress back to campus,” says Dr. Robert F. Berkhofer III, director of the WMU Medieval Institute. “The Congress fosters interaction among international scholars, the WMU community and the city of Kalamazoo. As one of the leading conferences on medieval studies in the world, it brings a lot of visibility to our program at Western.”

Special events include the Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival, a performance festival showcasing the global heritage of drama, music, dance and performance styles from late antiquity through the Renaissance. It will be highlighted by WMU theatre students, who will present a rotating repertoire of short performances at various times and locations throughout the Congress. In addition, there will be another edition of Mining the Collection, an ongoing series of virtual lunchtime, behind-the-scenes museum tours with spotlights on the Walters Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, which is sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art.

Plenary lectures

  • Thelma Thomas

    Thelma Thomas, from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, is speaking on “Clothing the Angelic Life: The Desert Fathers on the Necessity of Clothing for Monks, Angels, and Adam,” on Friday, May 12, at 8:30 a.m. in the Bernhard Center Ballroom.

  • Marla Segol

    Marla Segol, from the University at Buffalo, is speaking on “Sex Magic and You: Experimental Ritual, Mythical Innovation, and the Study of Medieval Religion,” on Saturday, May 13, at 8:30 a.m. in the Bernhard Center Ballroom.

A selection of virtual and blended-format sessions will be recorded and posted on the Congress meeting site. All major lectures and special events will be broadcast live and made available for viewing by registrants May 15-31. View the schedule of events

Anyone with a WMU email address can register for free, and any city of Kalamazoo resident can register for a discounted price of $10. Other registration rates are based on annual income. Advance registration closes April 25. Continuing registration for those attending the Congress in person is available through the end of the Congress but is subject to a $50 late fee. Continuing registration for those virtually attending the Congress online is available through May 31, when recorded sessions and other content are removed from the meeting site. The late fee does not apply for online attendees. Find information, costs and register

The 59th International Congress also is planned for a hybrid format and will be held May 9-11, 2024.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.