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To speik off science, craft or sapience: Knowledge and Temporality in Medieval and Renaissance Scotland

Sep 03, 2015 - Sep 04, 2015
Picture by permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Picture by permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Workshop organised by project B01 “Artefacts, Treasures and Ruins – Materiality and Historicity in the Literature of the English Middle Ages” (Prof. Andrew James Johnston, Dr. Regine Scheibe)

With respect to knowledge, pre-modern European cultures have conventionally been regarded as relatively resistant to change. According to the received historical narratives, the late antique, medieval and early modern periods were largely concerned with the preservation of knowledge. And indeed, many of the genres flourishing at these times, from late classical and medieval commentaries and florilegia to the great humanist encyclopedic efforts, seem to value stability over novelty. Yet even these so-called ‘traditional’ cultures are subject to constant processes of knowledge change, processes which may involve the differentiation of already existing knowledge or the tacit integration of novel items. Since these phenomena often occur over extended periods of time, the traditional toolkit of the History of Knowledge with its focus on indicators of ‘progress’ within narratives of rupture or revolution has proved insufficient to describe them.

Knowledge, and specifically the temporal dimensions of knowledge, seem to have played a special role in Older Scots literature as a means of engaging with, as well as distancing itself from, contemporary English literature. Late medieval Scottish discourses are characterized by a consciousness of historical distinction that pervades different fields of knowledge, such as science, philosophy and historiography. The present conference focuses on late medieval Scottish perceptions of knowledge and its relation to concepts of time, history and historicity, and the aesthetic and performative strategies to fix knowledge, to pass it on, and to edit it didactically.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

10.00 a.m.

Welcome address

10.30 a.m.

Alasdair A. MacDonald (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and University of Glasgow):
The Functionalisation of (Pseudo-) Encyclopedic Knowledge in Selected Texts of Older Scottish Literature

11.20 a.m.

Coffee break

11.50 a.m.

Wolfram R. Keller (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin):
‘Re-Medievalizing’ the Oikos: Mental Household Management in Late Medieval Dream Visions

12.40 p.m.

Luuk A. J. R. Houwen (Ruhr-Universität Bochum):
False Fables and Exemplary Truth: Henryson’s Fables

1.30 p.m.

Lunch break

3 p.m.

David J. Parkinson (University of Saskatchewan):
Style-Switching as Performative Strategy

3.50 p.m.

Janet Hadley Williams (Australian National University):
‘In Tiberus Tyme’: The Past and its Uses in Older Scots Comic Verse

4.40 p.m.

Coffee break

5.10 p.m.

Elizabeth Elliott (University of Aberdeen):
Love’s Knowledge and The Testament of Cresseid

6 p.m.


Friday, 4 September 2015

9.30 a.m.

Joanna M. Martin (University of Nottingham):
‘The Present Warld’: Knowledge and the World in the Poetry of William Lauder

10.20 a.m.

Kate Ash (University of Manchester):
Reaping the Mind: Memory, Self-Knowledge and Confessional Practice in Late-Medieval Scotland

11.10 a.m.

Coffee break

11.40 a.m.

R. James Goldstein (Auburn University):
Rhetorical Ductus and Middle Scots Aesthetics

12.30 p.m.

Stuart Campbell (National Museum of Scotland):
The Meaning and Language of Objects – Transmission of Knowledge through Material Culture in Medieval Scotland

1.20 p.m.

Lunch break

2.50 p.m.

Anne McKim (University of Waikato):
‘Bot Wyt Ye Weill Withoutyn Lesing’: Knowing and Truth-Telling in Older Scots Historiography

3.40 p.m.

Katherine H. Terrell (Hamilton College):
Transmitting the Past: Genealogy and Textuality in Medieval Scottish Historiography

4.30 p.m.

Coffee break

5 p.m.

Roger Mason (University of St Andrews):
Time, Truth and the Uses of History: Chronicling the Past in Renaissance Scotland

5.50 p.m.

Round-Up / Coffee

7.30 p.m.


Time & Location

Sep 03, 2015 - Sep 04, 2015

SFB-Villa, Schwendenerstraße 8, Sitzungsraum, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem