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Medieval Fair Free Lecture Series


Co-sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Oklahoma

Come learn more about the middle ages just for the fun of learning! 

No papers, no tests, just interesting information about life long ago.

More information coming soon!

Tentatively set for 3rd Fridays of the school year at 6:30 p.m.:

     September 19th, October 17th, November 21st, 2014

     January 16th, February 20th, March 20th, 2015




Past Lectures of the 2013-2014 Season

A special thank you to Professors Joseph Sullivan and Joyce Coleman for coordinating all of our speakers this past season and to the Norman Public Library for hosting us!

Lecture 1, Friday October 25, 2013

"Hildegard von Bingen: Mystical Visions, Celestial Harmonies"

Susan Caldwell, David Ross Boyd Professor Emerita, Art History, University of Oklahoma

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was truly one of the luminaries of the twelfth-century renaissance in Europe. Abbess of a women’s monastery, she wrote theological texts; an encyclopedia of plants, animals, gems and metals; a book on medicine, which included extensive material on sexuality; and, not least of all, beautiful, creative and unusual liturgical music to be sung, played, and even performed. Her work was praised by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and accredited by Pope Eugenius III.

This lecture will study the illustrations and verbal descriptions of her famous visions and present a small sample of her liturgical hymns.

Lecture 2, Friday January 24, 2014

"Celestial Spheres and Torrid Zones: Medieval and Renaissance Views of the Cosmos"

CCE Thurman J. White Forum

1704 Asp Ave., Suite B-4/6 - Free parking in the CCE Forum parking lot

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Kathleen Crowther, Associate Professor, History of Science Dept., OU

This talk will explore what medieval and Renaissance people thought about the heavens and the earth, including where the earth was, how big the earth was, what caused the seasons, how the stars and planets moved, how much of the earth was covered with water, and what parts of the earth could support human habitation.

Lecture 3, Friday February 28, 2014


"The Tumultuous Seventh Century:  The Arab-Islamic Conquests and the Reshaping of the World"


Gershon Lewental, Schusterman Visiting Professor of Israel Studies, Schusterman/Josey Program in Judaic & Israel Studies, OU

In the fourth decade of the seventh century, Muslim warriors burst out of Arabia and onto the world stage, bringing with them the revolutionary message of the new creed of Islam. Within the short span of a few decades, these Arab tribesmen succeeded in vanquishing the two super-powers of the age and in establishing their rule over a massive stretch of land from Spain and North Africa in the west to India in the east. The events of this turbulent century and the eventual emergence of Islamic civilization changed the face of the Middle East and the course of world history.


Lecture 4, Friday March 28, 2014


Norman Public Library, 225 N. Webster

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


The Songs of the Troubadours: Courtly Love in Medieval France and Beyond"


Jennifer Saltzstein Associate Professor, School of Music, OU


The troubadours of 12th-century France developed a model of courtship, often called "courtly love," that has remained with us to the present day. Professor Saltzstein’s presentation will explore courtly love through examples drawn from several troubadour songs, describing their feudal language of love and devotion, as well as presenting audio recordings of their subtle and beautiful melodies.


Lecture 5 - Friday April 18, 2014

Norman Public Library, 225 N. Webster

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


"The Extraordinary Journey of Finch and Baines"


Jamie Hart, Professor and Chair, History Dept., OU

This lecture will trace the unique educational and professional lives of two young Englishmen, John Finch and Thomas Baines, in the mid seventeenth century, and will examine what their experience of life-long partnership has to tell us about European society, diplomacy, and intellectual exchange, in a time of deep uncertainty and conflict.



Also showing...

Friday April 18, 2014  7:00 pm

StART Norman, 227 W. Main Street (locally known as "The Old Lumber Yard")


And They Sang a New Song: Twenty-four Musical Elders at Santiago de Compostela"

A film by Dr. Susan Caldwell and Dr. Eugene Enrico of the University of Oklahoma with Q&A afterwards.  This presentation employs art history and music history to discover the meaning of the 24 Elders of the Apocalypse carved in the late 12th century Portico de la Gloria of the pilgrimage church at Santiago de Compostela.





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