The Medieval Book

open medieval book
  •  Date: June 10-21, 2019
  •  Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  •  Location:

    Waldo Library
    Western Michigan University
    1903 W Michigan Ave
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Course overview

single page of a medieval book
  • An intensive 2-week exploration of the medieval book.
  • Sponsored by University Libraries and the Medieval Institute.
  • Offered through WMU Extended University Programs.
  • Available as a professional or personal development opportunity for no credit.
  • Available, with a writing requirement, as a course for graduate credit (2 credit hours).
  • No prerequisites.
  • Graduate students taking the course for credit who are members of the Medieval Academy of America are eligible to apply for a Medieval Academy/Cara Summer Scholarship.

Learning outcomes

  • Students become familiar with the materials and techniques of book production in the Middle Ages.
  • Students become familiar with aspects of the social history of the book in the Middle Ages.
  • Students develop rudimentary skills in transcribing texts from medieval sources.

Course description

This course is a two-week immersion into the study of the medieval manuscript, with a focus on the material qualities of the books and other handwritten materials of the period, and with attention paid also to their characteristic texts and contexts. It draws on twenty-one manuscripts on loan to WMU by Les Enluminures through its “Manuscripts in the Curriculum” program, as well as the manuscript holdings of WMU Libraries. Class meetings are 9 to 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. The afternoons feature a variety of required activities, including the completion of exercises involving original objects, hands-on workshops in papermaking and bookbinding, preparation for oral reports to be given on the last day of class, and consultations with the instructor.

Program accommodations

On-campus accommodation

Air-conditioned student accommodation is available in WMU’s newest residence halls (opened 2015), the Western Heights complex, where rooms are arranged into “houses” of 10-17 rooms with a mixed gender community bathroom (with a shared sink area and stalls for toilets and showers). Linen packets include sheets, a pillowcase, towels, and a pillow, but no blanket. A fresh linen packet is issued after the first week’s stay. A refrigerator and an oven, but no microwave, is available in each house. Participants in the course will share a bathroom and a lounge with adults, but be aware that there are likely to be chaperoned children attending summer sports camps staying in other parts of the building.

Western Heights is fully wheelchair accessible, centrally located not far from the library where class meets, and close to the Bernhard Center, which is home to a variety of food vendors, offering options from all-you-care-to-eat meals to fast food to grab-n-go snacks. There are also restaurants within walking distance.

The cost is $750 for single occupancy for the period of the course (from Sunday afternoon, June 9, to Saturday morning, June 22); for those who pre-arrange a roommate, the cost is $560 per person to share a double room. Reservations must be made by contacting the Medieval Institute ( before May 10. Payment (check, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover) is due by May 24.

Off-campus accommodation

The Microtel Inn and Suites, located at 5597 South 9th Street in Kalamazoo is offering a room rate of $78/night (not including 11% state and local taxes). This is a heavily discounted rate available for students attending the 2019 Medieval Book course. The hotel is ca. 6.5 miles from the WMU campus, and we recommend this option only for those who have cars. Reservations are made by phoning the hotel at (269) 353-3200. In order to receive the discounted rate, you must state that you are attending the Medieval Book course at Western Michigan University.

Parking on campus

All course participants with cars will need a parking permit ($30 for the duration of the course). Reservations must be made by contacting the Medieval Institute ( before May 10. Payment (check, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover) is due by May 24.

How to apply

Fill out the application form.

The course will enroll a maximum of 15 students by competitive application, with prospective students submitting a résumé and a page-long statement describing the student’s motivation in pursuing the course, as well as any prior study of the topic.

Important dates

  • Course dates and times: June 10-21, 2019, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Application for early admission deadline: Jan. 4, 2019 (with notification by Feb. 1).
  • Final admission deadline: May 1, 2019.
  • Les Enluminures manuscripts will be on display during the 2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies at WMU May 9-12, 2019

Course daily schedule

open medieval book
  • Day 1: Materials and techniques
  • Day 2: Signs of production
  • Day 3: Script and scribes
  • Day 4: Illumination and wayfinding
  • Day 5: Date, place of origin, and provenance
  • Day 6: Describing manuscripts and reading catalog entries
  • Day 7: Texts and contexts: monastic
  • Day 8: Texts and contexts: liturgical
  • Day 9: Texts and contexts: secular
  • Day 10: Final reflections and student reports

Course Costs, Graduate Credit, and Continuing Education

The course can be taken for professional or personal development (no credit), or, with a writing requirement, as a course for graduate credit (two credit hours).

If the student is not seeking academic credit, the course fee is $500.

If the student is seeking to earn graduate credit for the course (MDVL 5970, two credit hours), the course tuition is $1,303.14 for those with Michigan residency and $2,464.10 for non-residents. The University’s mandatory fees are $129.35. Students not seeking a graduate degree at Western Michigan University or one of the institutions participating in the Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies (MIGS) Program will have to apply for non-degree status at the University ($50.00 application fee plus a potential charge from the student’s alma mater, if an official transcript is requested).

Participants have the option to earn CEUs, once the instructor has confirmed the particpant’s full attendance and satisfactory completion of the course. To earn WMU-CEUs, participants must complete a verification form and pay the $20 fee online using the link that will be provided at the conclusion of the course.

All successful course participants will receive a certificate of completion.

About the instructor

Elizabeth C. Teviotdale is the Assistant Director of WMU’s Medieval Institute. She has been teaching codicology and Latin paleography for more than fifteen years, repeatedly at WMU, and occasionally at the Newberry Library (Chicago) and the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research field is early medieval Christian liturgical manuscripts.