CFP Kalamazoo 2017: Metalwork and Gems in the Middle Ages

52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, May 11-14, 2017
Special Session
Organizer: Laura Whatley (Auburn University Montgomery)

This session seeks to offer a broad analysis of medieval metalwork, including but not necessarily limited to objects such as jewels, engraved gems, seals, coins, badges, reliquaries and medals. In particular, it welcomes papers that examine portable or wearable metalwork—objects with a very personal, somatic connection to the owner or viewer. In terms of iconography, materiality, function and context, these objects of status, legitimacy and even devotion have much in common and should be explored alongside one another. This session has the potential to help advance and refine our methodologies for analyzing these important facets of medieval visual culture across time, place and discipline. Some general topics of interest include: personal seal matrices (signets, finger rings); re-use or revival of antique gems, cameos and coins; workshop practices and production of metal objects; heraldry and arms; magical properties of gems and metalwork; metalwork and medieval gift exchanges; metalwork, gems and pilgrimage; materiality and portability; signification, identity and self-fashioning; “afterlife” of medieval metal objects and gems.

Proposals on aspects of metalwork and gems not suggested in this CFP will also be considered. Please email one-page abstract and completed Participant Information Form to Laura Whatley at on or before September 10th.