News of the Week

  • I previously announced the major grant on Human Abilities that Dominik Perler and Barbara Vetter won in Berlin this past year. Currently posted, as part of that project, is a PhD position in the history of philosophy scheduled to begin this October. Details here. The application deadline is August 8, 2020.
  • The SMRP is sponsoring a session on Giordano Bruno at the Renaissance Society of America meeting in Dublin (April 7-10, 2021, deo volente). The cfp deadline is this coming Monday (July 27, 2020). Details here.
  • As it happens, you can learn more about Giordano Bruno this coming Tuesday (July 28, 2020) at the next installment of the Lumen Christi series of online lectures. Valentina Zaffino will be speaking on Giordano Bruno and the Poetry of the Cosmos.
  • This Friday begins the weekly series of online lectures on 13th-Century English Franciscans that Lydia Schumacher has organized. Speaking this week are Nicola Polloni, Simon Kopf, and Neil Lewis. Details here.

This Week’s News

  • The Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano) is offering a new MA program, in English, focusing on a mix of analytic philosophy and the history of philosophy. Some quite distinguished scholars are involved, including, in our field, John Marenbon and Pasquale Porro. They expect to hold lectures on campus this fall. For application instructions go here. Some scholarship support is available and although some deadlines have passed, I am told interested students may be able to get an extension to that deadline.
  • I’ve recently discovered the website of the Red Latinoamericana de Filosofía Medieval, which contains a great deal of useful information about their activities, members, et cetera.
  • The University of South Bohemia, in beautiful České Budějovice, hopes to host a conference on February 11-13, 2021, on Cognitive Issues in the Long Scotist Tradition. The Cfp deadline is the end of July 2020. Let’s all hope the Scotists will be drinking their fill of Budweiser in February.
  • Peter Adamson’s latest column in Philosophy Now argues for the value of studying minor figures in the history of philosophy.

Various Online Opportunities

  • Jeffrey Brower (Purdue) is giving an online talk tomorrow (May 26, 2020) at 15:30 in Berlin, to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. For information about how to participate, contact twietecha@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de.
  • The Lumen Christi Institute is sponsoring an online panel discussion on Christians in Times of Catastrophe: Augustine’s City of God, featuring Jennifer Frey (Univ. South Carolina), Russell Hittinger (Lumen Christi Institute), and Michael Sherwin (Fribourg). That’s on June 9, 2020.
  • Lydia Schumacher‘s (King’s College London) conference on thirteenth-century Franciscans has moved online, and will run over a series of 4 Fridays in late July and early August. For details see here.
  • There’s a one-week online Latin paleography course being offered this July through the Central European University, for a reasonable tuition. It’s offered at both a beginning and an intermediate level, and there’s also two levels of Greek paleography available. July 6-10, 2020.
  • Scott Williams’ newly-published collection of papers on Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology (Routledge, 2020), is available as a free ebook until June 11th, here.
  • There is — believe it or not — a Roger Bacon Research Society. Perhaps there has always been such a society, since 1292, and it has only recently emerged from its long occultation. At any rate, note that they sponsor an online reading group.
  • Definitely not in occultation is Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College), who has been making philosophical videos since March for her online courses. The chef d’oeuvre is perhaps part two of the Julian of Norwich series. Take-home quote: “She doesn’t need to be a Zombie queen to be interesting.”

Updates on Various Initiatives

Here’s what’s new:

  • First, don’t forget that Tianyue Wu’s talk tomorrow (Thursday, April 7, 2020) begins two hours earlier than usual.
  • Second, although I haven’t mentioned it in a while, the Virtual Dissertation Workshop is thriving. If you didn’t respond to my initial announcement, and would like to join, please contact Philip-Neri Reese, who is leading the group.
  • Third, I’ve gotten a great response to my post about language study. I’ve already got the makings of groups in
    • beginning Arabic;
    • an Arabic reading group;
    • a Latin reading group;
    • English conversation;
  • Plus I’ve gotten offers for two additional groups:
    • a Hebrew reading group;
    • introductory Latin paleography.
  • If you haven’t yet contacted me and you’re interested in any of the above, send me an email!

Language Study for Medievalists

This seems like a fine time to study languages, and so in this post I would like to see whether I can help organize our little community in this way. If any of what’s below interests you, please send me an email and I’ll include you in future organizational efforts.

As I have mentioned in other contexts, I have come to think that for scholars coming into the field of medieval philosophy today, both Latin and Arabic should be thought of as obligatory. Add to that English, and we have the three essential languages for aspiring medievalists.  Let me take them in turn:

Arabic

  • Tobias Hoffmann — who in fact inspired me to start thinking about this whole topic — reports that he has done some research on programs offering beginning online courses in modern standard Arabic, and is enthusiastic about The Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies, which is offering one-on-one online courses for $20 per class. Perhaps it would be possible, also, to join a group and save money (and make online friends)? No doubt there are other online opportunities of this sort, and if anyone can recommend something, please let me know.
  • MCAS teaches modern standard Arabic. That is not a bad starting point for classical Arabic philosophy, but one might instead prefer to begin (as I did back in 2010) with the study of classical Arabic itself. I found Thackston’s Introduction to be an excellent guide, but most people would want a tutor as well as just a textbook. MCAS says they are “not prepared” at the moment to offer such a course. Does anyone know of any such online opportunity? Is there anyone out there who would be interested in serving as a paid tutor for a group of medievalists interested in learning classical philosophical Arabic? Anyone interested in participating in such a group?
  • The difference between the two previous bulletpoints, to my mind, is not so much a difference in the language itself (Arabic has not changed so much), but rather a question of whether one wants to study Arabic as a living language, with a focus (at least in part) on conversation, or study it as a scholarly language, as one would study Latin or Greek. If readers have an opinion about this pedagogical question, I would be glad if they contributed a comment to this post.
  • The previous remarks have focused on those who have not yet studied Arabic. But what about those who have already acquired the fundamentals and need to improve? Given the specialized nature of what we do, the only way forward at this stage is probably informal reading groups. Is there anyone out there who would be interested in leading such a group? Or perhaps such a group already exists online? Anyone interested in participating?

Latin

  • I cannot see that there is much point in a specifically medieval introduction to Latin. So, if one is looking simply for an introduction to classical Latin, there are presumably many online opportunities. I happened to see, recently, an affordable online program based in Romania. Does anyone know of any other affordable options?
  • Again, for those who have had a first course in Latin and are looking to improve, the most sensible approach is simply to start reading the texts themselves, in a reading group. Is there anyone who would be interested in leading a medieval Latin reading group? Anyone interested in participating? Perhaps such a group already exists online?

English

  • Perhaps there won’t be any readers of this blog looking for an introductory course in English. But, just in case, does anyone know of any affordable programs?
  • There may well be readers who would like to improve their English. If you are interested in joining an online conversational group for non-fluent English speakers, let me know.

In sum, if any of these opportunities are of interest, send me an email. Let me know your name, where you live/work, what language you are interested in, and what your language level is. And if you have thoughts about language programs, or pedagogical matters, add a comment below.

Some Things You Can Do from Home

  • The Schola Humanistica is advertising an online advanced medieval/Renaissance Latin seminar, focusing on Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris. If you’ve been wanting to stretch your Latin beyond easy scholastic texts, this may be your moment (May 12 – June 4, 2020, with a nominal fee for participating).
  • The deadline is rapidly approaching — May 1, 2020 — for the annual Founder’s Prize at the Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy. The award goes to the best paper in medieval or Renaissance philosophy from a graduate students or recent PhD (within 5 years of degree). Details here.
    • Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Benjamin Block, who won last year’s Founder’s Award for his paper on “Thomas Aquinas on Knowing Essences and Substances.” Honorable mention last year went to Nicholas Faucher, Joseph Stenberg, and Milo Jon-Christopher Crimi.
  • Also rapidly approaching is the deadline to apply for an SIEPM one-to-one stipend, which funds junior scholars to visit and work with senior scholars. (At least the applying is something you can do from home!) Deadline is May 1, 2020.
  • The SIEPM also has a new best-paper-by-a-younger-scholar prize. Deadline is June 1, 2020. Details here.
  • Henrik Lagerlund is editing a special issue of Theoria on medieval skepticism. Submission deadline is August 31, 2020.
  • Finally, a reminder that Peter King will be joining the Virtual Colloquium tomorrow (April 23, 2020) to talk about Christine de Pizan.

The Virtual Dissertation Workshop

You’ve read about the Virtual Colloquium, but now here’s something more: I’d like to see whether I can help create a virtual medieval dissertation workshop.

The prime focus is people who are writing PhD dissertations in medieval philosophy. But in principle these groups might include a slightly larger group: people writing MA theses; people doing graduate-level work but not yet writing a dissertation; people who have recently completed a dissertation but would still value being part of this kind of community; people writing dissertations not quite in medieval philosophy, but whose interests are close enough to want to be involved.

My role in this is simply to use this blog to connect interested parties. So, if you’d like to be involved, send me the following information:

Name
Email
Academic Institution
Stage of Career
Dissertation Topic
Preferred Language(s)

I will put all of this information into a spreadsheet and circulate it.

 

Purdue etc.

The main news I have to share is that the three-year postdoc in medieval philosophy at Purdue University is, all of a sudden, being advertised for next fall. The deadline is very soon — March 1st, 2020.  Details here.

A few other items:

  • The Avicenna Study Group is meeting June 3-5, 2020, at Trier University. Small travel grants are available to students interested in attending. Students seeking a grant should directly and immediately contact Andreas Lammer.
  • St. Bonaventure University (New York) has announced its summer programs for 2020. They’re very theological in orientation, but perhaps of interest.

Latest News, including even some jobs

Here’s the latest news, all with deadlines approaching very quickly. If you’re hoping to close a gap between your aspirations and your achievements, don’t put off reading this email for too long!

  • The University of Groningen is advertising a four-year postdoc in the history of philosophy, to be associated with the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought. Application deadline is January 30, 2020.
  • KU Leuven is inviting applicants for a position associated with the Aristoteles Latinus project. This is a tenured, or tenure-track professorial position. Application deadline February 15, 2020.
  • St. Bonaventure University (New York) is hiring an assistant or associate professor of theology in the Franciscan tradition. Review of applications begins February 3, 2020.
  • Symposium Thomisticum V will take place in Cracow, June 4-6, 2020. The theme is “Aquinas on Action.” Deadline for receipt of abstracts is January 31.
  • The folk in Würzburg are advertising a summer school on “Affective Intentionality in Medieval Philosophy and Phenomenology.”  Dates are August 24-28, 2020. Application deadline is February 15.
  • The Lumen Christi Institute is advertising their latest round of summer seminars, including one in Chicago on the Five Ways and another in Berkeley on The City of God. Application deadline is February 1.  Details here.
  • The University of Notre Dame has announced a new project, their History of Philosophy Forum, which comes with opportunities, among other things, for international scholars to visit UND. See details here. Grant application deadline is February 7, 2020.
  • Speaking of Notre Dame, February 1 is the deadline for applying to the previously advertised, first ever, SMRP conference, to take place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2020, in South Bend. I’ll be there, and you should come too. Details here.

The Berlin Human Abilities Project

Deserving of a special post is the information that Dominik Perler and Barbara Vetter have won a multi-year Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Grant on the project of “Human Abilities.” The project will range over metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of action, and involve both the history of philosophy and contemporary discussions.

Over the years ahead, there will be quite a few funding opportunities associated with this project, a first set of which are now posted and include positions both for graduate study and for scholars who already have a PhD. The application deadline is December 9, 2020.