Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies

CEMMS visiting speaker seminar series

Join us for an intellectually stimulating series of research seminars.

Autumn 2020 Online Visiting Speaker Series 


Week 2, Monday 5th October, Week 2, 5PM, by Zoom

Dr Shazia Jagot, University of York, 'Divination, Astrolabes, & Arabic Mathematics in the Canterbury Tales  & Troilus & Criseyde' 

Abstract: Chaucer is a keen mathematician, or so he tells us. His references to arithmetic and algorithms, and his unfinished Treatise on an Astrolabe, all draw on developments in Arabic mathematics: a transmission of learning that he has more awareness of than we might first assume. This paper will open up ways of exploring Chaucer’s use of Arabic mathematics that will take us from ninth-century Baghdad to fourteenth-century Canterbury. But it does so by foregrounding a form of an obscure form of mathematical divination known as geomancy that Chaucer references in 'The Knight’s Tale' and Troilus and Criseyde. I will argue that this form of divination-by-numbers, which is expressly Arabic in nature, can shed light on quintessential Chaucerian ideas of fortune, ‘cas’ or chance, and ekphrasis in these texts. This, I argue allows us to locate an Arabic presence in Chaucer’s poetics and position Arabic as an embedded culture force in Middle English poetry in innovative and exciting directions. 

This paper will also delve into ways of challenging, disrupting and decolonizing an approach to sources and analogues that has long been central to the study of late medieval writers but also resonates across a longer history of the study of English literature. 


Week 6, Monday 2nd November, 5PM, by Zoom

Work in Progress Flash Presentations - an open session for all CEMMS members and interested parties to present for five minutes on developing work in the early modern or medieval fields. 


Week 9, Monday 23rd November, 5PM, by Zoom

Professor Ladan Niayesh, University of Paris, 'Thinking Race & Empire with Russians &  Tatars in Early Modern England'


Week 11, Monday 7th December, 5PM, by Zoom

CEMMS Virtual Seasonal Pub Quiz


The Premodern Critical Race Studies Reading Group

will meet, by Zoom, twice during the term - please watch your emails for dates and readings.


To join in with any of the above activities you will need access to Zoom, an online meeting platform you can find out more about here. If you are a University of Sussex student or staff member you will have an account associated with your log in. Rachel Stenner will send out the zoom links for each session in advance. Please email to be added to the mailing list: rachel.stenner@sussex.ac.uk. Undergraduates are especially, and very warmly, welcome. 




here's a taster of what happened in (or, rather, what was planned for) spring 2020 

Spring Seminar Visting Speaker Series 

Week 1 Wednesday 29th January, 5pm, Silverstone 309

Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki, University of Warwick, ‘Credit, Credibility, and Corporations in Early Modern Travel Writing’, in collaboration with The English Colloquium 

Week 3 Monday 10th February, 5pm, English Social Space B274

Dr Tom White, University of Oxford, ‘Working Theories of the Book: Late Medieval Ink Recipes and the Poetics of Practicality'

Week 3 Thursday 13th February, 5-7pm, LLC Room 4

On Ulysses: Homer, Dante, Joyce

Professor Lino Pertile, Harvard University, ‘On Ulysses: in Praise of Literature’, and Professor Brian Cummings, University of York, ‘Ulysses and Time Travel: Homer, Dante, Joyce’ with discussants Dr Ambra Moroncini and Professor Andrew Hadfield, University of Sussex, in collaboration with Sussex Centre for Language Studies Language and Culture Series

Week 5 Monday 24th February, 4pm, English Social Space B274

Dr Kurosh Meshkat, British Library, title tbc, in collaboration with the Department of History Work in Progress Seminar 

Week 7 Monday 9th March, 5pm, English Social Space B274

Professor Charles Nicholl, University of Sussex, 'Naked Tragedy': True Crime Drama on the London Stage, 1598-1605

Week 8 Monday 16th March, 5pm, venue tbc

The Annual Shakespeare Lecture, by Dr Hester Lees Jeffries, St Catharine’s College Cambridge, ‘Silken Terms Precise: Shakespeare’s Textile Imagination’ 

Week 10 Monday 20th April, 5pm, venue tbc

The Dove-Medcalf Lecture, by Dr Marianne O'Doherty, University of Southampton, ‘Transnational Travel Texts and the Expanding Globe in the later Middle Ages’ 

Week 11 Monday 27th April, time tbc, English Social Space B274

Dr Flora Dennis, University of Sussex, ‘Cooking Pots, Tableware and the Changing Sounds of Sociability in Italy, 1300-1700’, in collaboration with the Department of Art History

Week 12 Tuesday 5th May, 5pm, English Social Space B274

Dr Anna McSweeney, University of Sussex, ‘The Legacy of al-Andalus: Architectural Fragments from the Fifteenth-century Torrijos Palace’ 


Autumn Seminar Visiting Speaker Series  

Thursday 24th October, 4-6pm, Arts A 108, Professor Alison Rowlands, University of Essex, in collaboration with the Department of History Work-in-Progress seminar: ‘The Life and Times of Michael Würth: Writing an Historical Biography of a Man Accused of Witchcraft in Germany in 1663’

- Wednesday 6th November, 1-2:30 pm, Jubilee G31, Dr Mel Evans, University of Leicester: ' Language and Power in Tudor Royal Texts: A Case for Corpus-Assisted Historical Discourse Analysis'

 - Monday 18th November, 5-7pm, English Social Space, B274, Professor Catherine Bates, University of Warwick: 'Sidney's Poetry: the Rhetoric of Courtship Revisited'

- Wednesday 27th November, 5-7pm, Jubilee 144, Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki, University of Warwick, in collaboration with the English Colloquium: 'Credit, Creditability, and Corporations in Early Modern Travel Writing'

*For more updates, please see our Twitter feed, and for our full program of events, please see below.

commas autumn series


University of Sussex Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies: https://t.co/kTwaaXwBUF

We have a superb blogpost here sussexcemms.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/inc… from @SpenserSociety & by Promise Li… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @YorkCofC: 📢 Exciting Friday news! We are thrilled to present the programme for 'Division, Dispute and Debate in the Early Mod… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

comb makers of the world: look at the possibilities! twitter.com/ciaokatet/stat…

RT @Ben_WT: *cries in book historian at finding Tipp-Ex in 17th century book* pic.twitter.com/m2Up3BZbMl

still time to send through a proposal for this beastly event! @ShinnAbigail twitter.com/SussexCEMMS/st…

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