Session Title

Making Meaning: Context and Reception in the Early Medieval World

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series

Organizer Name

Melissa Herman

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of York

Presider Name

Carol Neuman de Vegvar

Presider Affiliation

Ohio Wesleyan Univ.

Paper Title 1

The Wooden Signifiers of Kingship: Halls, Thrones, and Ephemeral Visual

Presenter 1 Name

Heidi Stoner

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of York

Paper Title 2

Reading Beowulf in the Context of the Nowell Codex

Presenter 2 Name

Simon Thomson

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. College London

Paper Title 3

Eschatology and the Everyday: Concepts of Last Things and Material Consciousness from the Medieval to the Modern

Presenter 3 Name

Meg Boulton

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of York

Paper Title 4

Masking and Unmasking: Faces in Context in Early Anglo-Saxon England

Presenter 4 Name

Melissa Herman

Start Date

16-5-2015 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 1265

Description

Objects and spaces are, in themselves, empty of meaning or purpose: a piece of dead skin; some twisted metal; an open field. Modern scholarship works to make sense of artefacts from the Early Medieval World. Moving from a fixation on the origins of such cultural objects, scholarly attention is being increasingly drawn to how and by whom they were used: shifting attention towards the processes of meaning-making, by both authors and audiences, that are the focus of creative activity. The challenge of this type of approach is the necessity to apply inter- and multi-disciplinary tools in order to approach the object. It is no longer enough to simply describe a manuscript, a carving, or a site: consideration must be brought to how those objects and spaces were engaged with and how they interacted with one another. In this process, 'context is all'.

This session will bring a range of disciplines, including manuscript and literary study, art history, archaeology, and history together. Methodological consideration will be brought to how a context can be recreated, how the interaction of things with people and places creates meaning, and how the meaning of cultural productions can be seen to mutate in different contexts. Case studies from different disciplines will provoke a conversation between fields of study about decoding meaning in Early Medieval Worlds.

Melissa Herman

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May 16th, 3:30 PM

Making Meaning: Context and Reception in the Early Medieval World

Schneider 1265

Objects and spaces are, in themselves, empty of meaning or purpose: a piece of dead skin; some twisted metal; an open field. Modern scholarship works to make sense of artefacts from the Early Medieval World. Moving from a fixation on the origins of such cultural objects, scholarly attention is being increasingly drawn to how and by whom they were used: shifting attention towards the processes of meaning-making, by both authors and audiences, that are the focus of creative activity. The challenge of this type of approach is the necessity to apply inter- and multi-disciplinary tools in order to approach the object. It is no longer enough to simply describe a manuscript, a carving, or a site: consideration must be brought to how those objects and spaces were engaged with and how they interacted with one another. In this process, 'context is all'.

This session will bring a range of disciplines, including manuscript and literary study, art history, archaeology, and history together. Methodological consideration will be brought to how a context can be recreated, how the interaction of things with people and places creates meaning, and how the meaning of cultural productions can be seen to mutate in different contexts. Case studies from different disciplines will provoke a conversation between fields of study about decoding meaning in Early Medieval Worlds.

Melissa Herman