– Chriscinda Henry, 11 March 2015, 2:30–4:00 PM, McGill University, Leacock 738: CIVIS Workshop: Singing for Venice: The Social and Political Roles of the Renaissance Entertainer

Chriscinda Henry, McGill University

CIVIS  is  an interdisciplinary, multi-university, Workshop in Civic Studies. It draws on disciplines in humanities, social science and law to extend the public science sketched by Carlo Cattaneo and Alexis de Tocqueville in the nineteenth century. In seeking to   create, mobilize and promote an intellectual community at McGill and beyond concerned with civic ideas and civic practices through time, CIVIS  proposes to  give a hand to the emerging international community that seeks to understand and strengthen a set of practices involving citizens as co-creators of the world they belong.

– Sarah Guérin, 25 February 2015, 6:00 PM, McGill University, Arts 160: Medieval Climate Change and Interregional Exchange

Having obtained her PhD in art history at the University of Toronto in 2009, Sarah Guérin is now an assistant professor at the University of Montreal. Before coming to Montreal, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University and at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Sarah is a specialist in médiéval ivory carving, and her approach marries traditional concerns such as technical analysis with questions derived from thing theory, the anthropology of the image, and new materiality. Her work has appeared in such journals as the Art Bulletin, Burlington Magazine and the Journal of Medieval History, and she recently co-edited a special volume of The sculpture journal entitled New Work on Old Bones: Recent Studies on Gothic Ivories. She is presently working on a monograph treating Gothic ivories called Ivory Palaces: Material, Belief, and Desire in Gothic Sculpture. Today, however, she will be speaking about an important subtheme of her research output, that is the inter-regional ivory trade that connected sub-Saharan Africa with Gothic Europe.

Sarah M. Guérin, Université de Montréal

McGill Medievalists event

This event will be held in Arts 160; it will begin at 6:00 PM (please note the later starting time)

Followed by a wine and cheese reception

Feb 25 Guerin

– Tomasz Grusiecki, 6 February, 3:00 PM, Concordia University, EV 3.760: Lost in Translation: Baltic Carved Ambers in the Medici Collections

While some early modern Italians associated amber with the Baltic Sea, as had Pliny and Tacitus, many believed it was local in origin. The most powerful impulse for indigenizing amber as an Italian material was provided by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which explicitly situates the generation of amber in the Po Valley. The inconsistencies between the material’s purported past and its actual Baltic derivation were smoothed over by circumstantial evidence. Amber was particularly conducive to semantic drifts, given the high yields of ‘archaeological’ amber from various sites in Emilia-Romagna, where Roman artefacts were excavated in large quantities. The embodied experience of amber’s physicality, particularly its ability to congeal small organisms from millennia away, also supported the Ovidian account. In this talk, I examine the epistemological malleability of amber and thereby explore spatial tensions and temporal disorientations in the processes of cross-cultural interaction.

Tomasz Grusiecki, McGill University