Borderlines XVIII – University College Cork – 4th-6th April 2014.

This year’s Borderlines conference was held at University College Cork and hosted delegates from all over Ireland, the UK and further abroad. The theme was ‘Power and Influence’, inspiring a diverse selection of papers that demonstrated just how wide-ranging are the interests of current post-graduate researchers in the fields of Medieval and Early Modern studies. Queen’s University Belfast sent several delegates on the 6 hour journey to Cork to present papers and we were incredibly impressed with the smooth-running organisation of the conference and appreciative of the warm welcome received. Presenting papers from QUB were Duncan Berryman, Natalie Calder, Margaret Tedford, Rachel Reid, Sonja Kleij and Clíodhna McAllister (not forgetting QUB alum/Uni of York student Emma Martin).

Day one kicked off with a rousing panel on the materiality of power. Other notable panels of the weekend demonstrated approaches to gendered power, political and religious influences, the power of music, absences of power and knowledge as a source of power. We were particularly excited to hear papers from last year’s Trinity College Dublin organisers; Greg Hulsman’s paper entitled ”‘Hit were to witte how comynes schulden serv God and mon’: Lollardy and the Influence of the Church and the Nobility on the Third Estate” and Caoimhe Whelan speaking on ‘The Influence of Giraldus Cambrensis in fifteenth century Ireland’. It is always interesting to be educated on areas of research far outside one’s own comfort zone. With that in mind I’d like to say I especially enjoyed Patricia Walker’s (TCD) paper on murder pamphlets and Emma Osbourne’s (Glasgow) on the genetics of power, both intriguing topics that were fascinating to hear more about. It was often difficult to chose between parallel panels to attend due to the variety of topics and disciplines on offer – a compliment to all speakers. I’d also like to make special mention of our own MA student Clíodhna McAllister who successfully presented her very first paper on ‘The Body Esoteric: The Disenfranchisement of the Present’ on the Sunday morning. Giving a paper on the morning panel after the conference dinner night is no mean feat but she kept her audience engaged throughout!

The first day of the conference had been rounded off by keynote speaker Professor Seán Duffy (Trinity College Dublin) with a lecture entitled ‘Power and Influence in Medieval Ireland: the Legacy of Brian Ború’, of special interest as the conference coincided with the approach of the 1000 year anniversary of the battle of Clontarf.


Professor Duffy presents his keynote lecture.

As you may notice from the above photo (via @Quadrivium_UK for which we were guest tweeting), social media played an interesting role for this year’s conference. The hashtag #BorderlinesXVIII  received dozens of tweets, reporting on individual papers and generating discussion between attendees. This was a great way to ‘meet’ people before networking in person and useful in finding common points of interest between papers and panels. Feel free to catch up on conference proceedings by searching out the hashtag above and following speakers if you’d like to stay up-to-date with their research.


QUB’s Margaret Tedford presents her paper.

A massive thank you and congratulations to the organisers, Aislinn, Edel and Simon, for their hard work! We had an amazing, inspiring weekend meeting with other researchers and hearing the wonderful range of papers. As always Borderlines was a positive, encouraging conference experience, allowing delegates to present in the supportive atmosphere of their peers. It was fantastic to be able to celebrate the conference’s 18th year and we hope it will continue for many more…


Happy 18th to Borderlines!

…speaking of which! We are looking forward to hosting another successful Borderlines when we welcome you back to Queen’s University Belfast in 2015. Keep an eye out for announcements on #BorderlinesXIX in the coming weeks.


Delegates from QUB and the University of York

Upcoming ‘Pre-modern Cosmopolitanisms’ seminar

Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities
Cosmopolitanisms, Pre- to Postmodern research group
Friday March 28th, 4.00-6.00
Old Staff Common Room
Pre-modern Cosmopolitanisms seminar
This postgraduate-led seminar will explore the utility or otherwise of cosmopolitanism as an interpretative framework for understanding cultural encounter in the medieval and early modern world.  The colloquium will be facilitated by Professor Anthony Bale (Birkbeck), whose research has explored Christian ideas about Jews and Judaism and Western representations of Jerusalem in the Middle Ages.
For details, email student facilitators Natalie Calder ( and Margaret Tedford (  For details on the research group, contact Dr Stephen Kelly (

British Library Doctoral Open Day – 3 February 2014

The British Library’s recent invitation to their Doctoral Open Day for first year PhD candidates saw three students from the School of English standing bleary-eyed at 05.45 in Belfast City Airport on a cold Monday morning, clutching any form of caffeine available and the reams of documentation (over-zealously) collected in order to begin their initiation to the Library.  Four hours later and Rachel Reid, Margaret Tedford and Natalie Calder found themselves in the Conference Centre of the British Library, considerably more awake and excited to learn about the variety of research materials, collections and tools made available to Readers at the BL.

The sessions carried out during the Open Day were both practical and wide-ranging.  Participants were given a quick guide on how to make the most of the materials held at the Library, including online tools such as EThOS – the PhD thesis-specific search engine, holding information on over 300,000 theses – and tips on how to search through the online catalogue effectively.  Speakers were invited to discuss different projects, including the ongoing digitisation initiative at the Library, a doctoral project which involved archiving John Berger’s collection of letters, notes and drafts, and the recent surge towards open access publication which has been preoccupying publishers, librarians and academics alike.  Participants were also encouraged to think about contributing a record of their thesis at the end of their PhD project to EThOS.  The opportunity to meet and speak with some of the curators at the Library while looking at a small sample of the materials available was provided after lunch.  Although there were no curators specialising in medieval material present, it was interesting to see the wide range of materials available, from early printed books and manuscript drafts to film and audio records.

Tips for your first visit to the Library

  • Specific identification is required to obtain a Reader Card for the Library; see for details.  Incidentally, it’s not as intimidating as the list of acceptable documents might suggest!  We, rather nervously, gathered lots of different forms of ID, but all we actually needed was a driver’s licence for proof of address and a debit card for proof of signature – two things I carried with me anyway!  Still, it is useful to check the list linked above, as some restrictions apply.
  • Have specific items in mind to consult before you visit.  The library staff are keen to assist in your research, but also to make sure that the BL is the appropriate place for it.  You can view the Library’s online catalogue via the link below and, if you have pre-registered for a pass before your visit, you will be able to reserve items for your trip.  See, then hover over ‘Catalogues’.
  • For some items, especially manuscripts pre-dating 1500, you may require a Letter of Recommendation from your academic supervisor.  If a letter is required, a note will appear as you try to reserve the item through the online catalogue (hence the benefits of browsing before you set off!).

The British Library runs doctoral open days throughout the year, with specific days tailored to either English, History or Media, Cultural Studies and Journalism.  For more information, see


A Fiend in the Furrows: Perspectives on ‘Folk Horror’ in Literature, Film and Music

‘A Fiend in the Furrows’ is a three-day conference in association with the School of English and the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s University Belfast, exploring ‘folk horror’ in British and Irish literature, film, television, and music. The event – running from 19-21 September 2014 – will include academic papers, film screenings, musical performances and readings.

FolkBanner2Supernatural and horrific aspects of folklore inform the Gothic and weird writings of
M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood and Lord Dunsany, where philosophical and religious certainties are haunted and challenged by the memory of older cultural traditions. Folklore has a profound and unsettling impact on the imaginative perception of landscape, identity, time and the past. Folk memory is often manifested as an intrusive and violent breach from an older repressed, ‘primitive’ or ‘barbarous’ state that transgresses the development of cultural order. Gothic and weird fictions are burgeoning as the focus of serious academic enquiry in philosophy and literary criticism, and the genres continue to have an impact on popular culture.

Through the writing of Nigel Kneale and Alan Garner, among others, the tradition has influenced British and Irish horror cinema and television, being revived and reimagined in films such as Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Devil Rides Out (1968), Witchfinder General (1968), Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), The Wicker Man (1973), and more recently in Wake Wood (2010) and Ben Wheatley’s Kill List (2011) and A Field in England (2013). The conference will examine ‘folk horror’ texts, films and music in their period context and the implications for British and Irish culture’s understanding of their own unsettled pasts.

Please follow the link below to view the call for papers, the deadline for which is 1 June 2014:

Medieval Cultures Seminar, Semester 2, 2011-12

All seminars will be held at 4pm in 16 University Square, rm.101, unless stated otherwise. For Information, contact Dr Sinead O’Sullivan: All welcome.

Friday 24th February

Dr. Marilina Cesario (English), ‘Ovidian influences in Aldhelm’s Enigmata

Friday 2nd March

Professor John Thompson (English), ‘Imagining the British History in an Irish and Welsh setting: chapters in the lives and careers of James Ussher and a Welsh deputy herald’

Friday 9th March

Duncan Berryman (GAP), ‘How many buildings make a farmstead? A study of fourteenth-century manorial agricultural buildings’

Ciaran Arthur (English), ‘Ploughing Through Cotton Caligula A VII: Establishing Connections between the Heliand and the Æcerbot through Incantation’

Friday 16th March

Professor Mariken Teeuwen (Utrecht), ‘The Margin in Carolingian Manuscripts – A Place for Debate and Dissent’

20-22 April 2012 

Borderlines XVI: Site and Sound

Humanities PG Centre

Guest speaker: Prof Paul Strohm (Columbia)

Friday 27th April

Eamon Byers (English), ‘“Come all ye rolling minstrels” – The Medievalism of Modern Folkmusic’

Friday 4th May

Dr. Alice Jorgensen (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Translating Emotion in the Paris Psalter’

Friday 11th May

Dr. Malte Urban (English), Title TBC

Friday 18th May
Dr. Stuart McWilliams (Edinburgh), “The Inscription of Enchantment: Magical Books in Theory and Practice”

Friday 25th May
Dr Paul Oldfield (Manchester Metropolitan University), ‘A Bridge to Salvation and Entrance to the Underworld: medieval southern Italy and international pilgrimage’

Medieval Cultures Seminar Series, Semester One 2011-12

Here is the Medieval Cultures seminar list for semester one, 2011-12. All seminars take place every Friday at 4pm in Room 101, 16 University Square, unless otherwise stated, and all are welcome.

Friday 7th October

Stephen Kelly (QUB), ‘God’s Insomniacs: relics and the religious (re-)turn in medieval studies’

Friday 14th October

Mark Gardiner (QUB), ‘The politics and domestic life of Sir John Scott, Yorkist courtier’

Tuesday 18th October at 5.00pm

Theresa O’Byrne (Notre-Dame), ‘’A Tale of Two Scribes: Scribal Education and Careers in Fifteenth-Century Dublin’

Friday 21st October

Sandor Chardonnens (Radboud University Nijmegen), ‘Mantic alphabets: Where dreams and letters meet’

Friday 4th November

James Davis (QUB), ‘Common Foundations: Local and Retail Trade in the Medieval World’

Wednesday 9nd November, 3pm, 01-009 Elmwood Building (nb. *not* ELTC!).

Joint Seminar with SSC (GAP) – Michele Campopiano (University of York), ‘Space representation and measurability in the 12th century: the works of Guido da Pisa’

Friday 18th November

Gregory Toner (QUB), ‘The dead testifies against the living: telling the past in early medieval Ireland’.

Friday 25th November

Daniel Brown (QUB), ‘Hugh de Lacy in exile, 1210-21′

Friday 2nd December

Sinead O’Sullivan (QUB), ‘Perspicuity and Obscurity in early medieval glosses on Martianus’s De nuptiiis’

Friday 9th December

David Falls (QUB), ‘Power and Patronage: Fifteenth-Century Textual Cultures and the ‘Lancastrian Spiritual Aristocracy’

Friday 16th December

Christmas Quiz

For information, contact Dr James Davis:

All welcome.


“Textual Afterlives”, QUB, 8th-9th April 2011

As part of the ongoing “Textual Afterlives” project, co-organised by Jeremy Smith (University of Glasgow), Ian Johnson (University of St Andrews), Crawford Gribben (Trinity College Dublin), and John Thompson (QUB), a two-day event is being held in Belfast on the 8-9th April, 2011.

A workshop will be held on Friday 8th, including a “sandpit” event at which participants will offer a brief response (no more than five minutes) to the symposium theme, “Textual Afterlives”, an open lecture by Mimi Godfrey, from the Folger Library, Washington DC, and a graduate masterclass. On Saturday 9th, there will be a day-trip to the Robinson Library in Armagh.

Throughout the event, there will be contributions from the symposium’s visiting scholars, Richard Beadle, Rolf Bremmer, Joel Fredell, Vincent Gillespie, Mimi Godfrey (keynote speaker), Rich McCoy, Cathy Shrank, Andrew Prescott, Beth Robertson, Sebastiaan Verweij and Liz Elliott.

The event is due to take place in the McClay library, and those interested in attending (either the workshop, day-trip or both) should express their interest to John Thompson:

Medieval Cultures, Semester Two, 2010-11 (Provisional Programme)

Here is the provisional Medieval Cultures programme for semester two, 2010-11. As before, all seminars take place every Friday at 4pm in House 4, Rm 105 unless otherwise stated, and all are welcome.

Please note: the location for the ‘Medieval places, streets, and crowds’ workshop is to be confirmed.  Please declare your interest for that workshop by January 24th as catering arrangements need to be made.

There are openings in February and April – volunteers for the empty slots are very welcome!

Christmas Graduations 2010

Congratulations to Dr Kathrin Prietzel, Dr Daniel McCann, Paul Murphy and Ericka Lynch on the occasion of their graduations today.  Daniel and Kathrin graduate with PhDs; Paul and Ericka with MAs in English (Medieval Studies).  While Paul is proceeding to read for his doctorate, we wish Daniel, Kathrin and Ericka all the very best for the future!

We’ll miss you!