Summer Happenings

Nicola Polloni (Leuven) has organized a complex online initiative, The Elusive Substrate, which over the next year will study prime matter and hylomorphism “from ancient Rome to early Qing China” (via the Middle Ages). The first event–“Roman Preludes”–is this Friday (May 14, 2021) and activities will run, roughly every month, into summer 2022.

Monika Michałowska (Łódź) and Riccardo Fedriga (Milan) are organizing an international conference on The Will and Its Acts in Late Medieval Ethics and Theology (online, June 17-18, 2021). The format of the conference is interesting: the talks will be prerecorded and prewatched, and the conference itself will be devoted to discussion.

The program for this summer’s Women on Medieval Philosophy conference has been finalized. The online event runs July 8-10, 2021. All are welcomed to attend.

Graziana Ciola (Nijmegen) and Paul Bakker (Nijmegen) are organizing a conference for next spring on Marsilius of Inghen and His Legacy (March 3-5, 2022, in Nijmegen). Cfp deadline June 1, 2021.

The University of Geneva is advertising an “assistant” position in medieval philosophy. This is what, in the American context, would be called a “teaching assistant” position: it’s open to students who have their MA and wish to pursue a PhD. The ability to teach in French is required. The application deadline is the end of this week, May 15, 2021.

There’s an International Conference on Philosophical Anthropology in Ibn Sina scheduled for this coming December in Tehran (December 26-28, 2021). Cfp deadline July 22, 2021.

Stephen Ogden (Catholic University of America) is moving to a position at the University of Notre Dame, which he will begin next fall.

Preview of coming attractions: my next blog post is going to depart from my usual narrow focus on medieval philosophy, and look at the dominance of Oxford University Press in the field of philosophy.

More Spring Announcements

Res Philosophica is sponsoring an essay prize on the topic Theological Dogma and Philosophical Innovation in Medieval Philosophy. There’s a cash prize to be won, and of course publication in the journal. Papers must be received by July 1, 2021.

The long-awaited third meeting of the Avicenna Study Group, originally scheduled for last June, has now been reorganized by Andreas Lammer (Trier) as a weekly series, beginning June 1, 2021. Details here.

The Roger Bacon Research Society has scheduled a series of online talks over the next 12 months, each on a different aspect of Bacon’s scientific theory. Next up (March 19, 2021) is Alexander Fidora (Barcelona) on “The Division of Science.”

The Graduate Student Chapter of the Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group is meeting on March 19-20, 2021. Details here.

The Medieval Philosophy in the UK Network is holding its next meeting online, on March 26, 2021. Details here.

The University of Würzburg has rescheduled, for the coming summer, last year’s summer school on Affective Intentionality in Medieval Philosophy and Phenomenology (July 26-30, 2021). Application deadline is March 31, 2021.

Trinity College Dublin is sponsoring an online course in Byzantine Greek: both a beginners and a more advanced class. The price is quite reasonable, with further financial support available. Details here.

Doctor Virtualis is planning a special 20th-anniversary issue on Analogy and the Middle Ages. Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2021.

There’s a conference in honor of Miguel Cruz Hernández scheduled for September: Pensamiento del Islam: fundamentos, instituciones y sociedades (Alcalá la Real, September 24-25, 2021).

Congratulations to Jari Kaukua (Jyväskylä), who won the Journal of the History of Philosophy‘s prize for best article, for his paper on “Avicenna’s Outsourced Rationalism.”

News for a Cold Planet

Globally, we’re in no position to object to cold weather but, still, it’s cold here! It’s also, unaccountably, been a long time since I posted anything, so here’s an attempt to catch up:

A online conference showcasing the work of female scholars working in medieval philosophy is being held on July 8-10, 2021. It’s being organized by folk at KU-Leuven. Details here. The cfp deadline is March 1.

The SIEPM has two colloquia tentatively scheduled for this summer, which may or may not happen in person (details here):

  • June 7-9, 2021, in Ramat Gan, Israel, on “Dialectic in the Middle Ages: Between Debate and the Foundation of Science”;
  • June 14-15, 2021, in Porto, on “Per cognitionem visualem. From the Visual Exegesis to the Visualization of Cognitive Processes in the Middle Ages and Beyond” (originally scheduled for 2020).

The International Congress of the SIEPM, which meets only once every five years, is scheduled for August 23-27, 2022, in Paris. Further details to come.

There’s an online summer school scheduled for July 5-9, 2021, organized out of Groningen, on Methodologies in the History of Philosophy. Applications are due by March 14.

Thomas Hibbs (University of Dallas) is directing a summer program for PhD students on Justice in Thomistic Ethics (July 18-24, 2021, in Washington DC). Application deadline March 31.

The American Philosophical Association has announced an annual Alvin Plantinga Prize, awarded for “original essays that engage philosophical issues about or in substantial ways related to theism.” The prize money is significant, but you must be an APA member. The deadline is March 30, 2021.

Scott Williams (UNC Asheville), in collaboration with Gordon Wilson, has created an extremely useful webpage on Henry of Ghent, complete with extensive links to online texts, an up-to-date account of where the critical edition stands, and a comprehensive bibliography.

There’s an interview with Ana Maria Mora Marquez (Gothenburg) at the blog 3:16.

I’ve got more material to share, but that’s all for this post. Will be back soon.

Berlin, Oxford, and Other News

Three one-year postdocs on the topic of Human Abilities are being advertised at the Humboldt University in Berlin. This is the latest funding opportunity from the Perler-Vetter DFG project. The application deadline is January 10, 2021.

Oxford is advertising a multi-year postdoc in medieval Islamic philosophy, with the possibility of its turning into a permanent position. The application deadline is very soon: midday UK time on Friday November 27, 2020.

The Medieval Institute at Notre Dame is advertising a one-year junior faculty fellowship. To apply you must hold a position as an assistant professor at a North American university. The application deadline is February 1, 2021.

Don’t yet have a job as an assistant professor in North America? Maybe it’s because you’re not studying Byzantine philosophy! But, good news, the Gennadius Library in Athens is sponsoring a summer session on medieval Greek, with some funding available (June 28 – July 28, 2021). Application deadline is January 15, 2021.

For the record, that was just a little Thanksgiving humor about Byzantine philosophy as useful on the job market. (Though, who knows….) But if by chance you do have expertise in Byzantine philosophy, you can apply for the Medieval Institute at Notre Dame’s nine-month postdoc in Byzantine Studies. The application deadline is February 1, 2021.

The British Society for the History of Philosophy is sponsoring a Graduate Essay Prize. The deadline is very soon: November 30, 2020.

The Scotus Archiv at Bonn is sponsoring a colloquium on the Quodlibet of John Duns Scotus (December 4-5, 2020, online).

The Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ Group at Marquette is advertising their annual graduate-student workshop (March 19-20, 2021, online). The cfp deadline is February 1, 2021.

There’s an interview of Henrik Lagerlund (Stockholm University) at Richard Marshall’s site 3:16am.

If you’ve been waiting to buy the critical edition of William Ockham, or any of the many other useful texts published by the Franciscan Institute, now is a good time: all books, from November 27 to 30, are 40% off.

End of Summer News

Lots of useful information has been piling up in my inbox. Many of the deadlines are soon!

  • The 42nd Kölner Mediaevistentagung, on the topic ‘Curiositas,’ is online this year, and so accessible to everyone (September 7-10, 2020). It’s a wonderfully international program, with lots of talks in English. Registration and general information here.
  • Leuven is hosting, virtually, a conference on “Essence and Existence in the 13th and 14th Centuries.” (September 11-13, 2020).
  • The University of Jyväskylä is advertising a three-year postdoc to work on the project “Vicious, Antisocial and Sinful: The Social and Political Dimension of Moral Vices from Medieval to Early Modern Philosophy.” Application deadline is September 15, 2020. Details here.
  • Filipe Silva (University of Helsinki) is advertising a 46-month postdoc to research Augustinian Natural Philosophy ca. 1277. Application deadline September 15, 2020. Details here.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi is advertising research fellowships for junior and senior scholars focusing on “the study of the Arab world.” Application deadline is October 1, 2020. Details here.
  • Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist (Gothenburg) is advertising a multi-year postdoc as part the project on Medieval Aristotelian Logic 1240-1360. Application deadline is September 24, 2020. Details here.
  • The Schindler Foundation is advertising a 3-6 month grant for junior scholars focusing on “Medieval Latin Studies,” in honor of Claudio Leonardi. Application deadline is September 15, 2020. Details here.
  • UCLA is advertising the Wellman Chair in medieval European history. Review of applications begins November 1, 2020.
  • Western University (Ontario) is organizing a weekly online Latin study group, aimed at students who are just beginning their Latin studies, and who wish to concentrate on philosophical texts. Application deadline is September 5, 2020.
  • The New Narratives Project is organizing a work-in-progress seminar for early-career scholars. Officially the deadline passed yesterday to submit a proposal, but it might not be too late to get involved!
  • The SMRP has issued a call for papers, on any medieval topic, from scholars of any rank, for the APA Central meeting in February 2021 (which will be online). Deadline is September 15, 2020. Details here.
  • Reginald Lynch is organizing a session at Kalamazoo (May 13-15, 2021) on “Scholasticism and the Sacraments.” Cfp deadline is September 15. Details here.
  • The Paris Institute for Advanced Studies is accepting applicants for visiting fellowships during 2021-22. Having spent a year there myself, I can report that they are enthusiastic about the history of philosophy. The deadline is September 15, 2020.
  • The Aquinas Institute has begun an online masters program in theology. Details here.
  • Congratulations to Michiel Streijger, who has won a three-year German Research Foundation grant: “Digitale Edition von Walter Burleys zwei frühen Kommentaren zur Physik des Aristoteles.”
  • Congratulations to Gordon Wilson and to Rega Wood for each receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for their editions of Henry of Ghent and Richard Rufus.
  • Congratulations to Gaston LeNotre (Dominican University College), who won the annual SMRP Founder’s Award for the best paper by a younger scholar. Honorable mention went to Milo Crimi (UCLA).

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.