Conway Lectures

In 2002, the Medieval Institute inaugurated a lecture series in honor of Robert M. and Ricki Conway. Robert Conway is a 1966 graduate of Notre Dame and trustee of the University, and he and his wife are long-time friends and supporters of the Medieval Institute. The annual Conway Lectures bring senior scholars of international distinction to Notre Dame each fall to speak on topics across a variety of disciplines. The lectures are then published by the University of Notre Dame Press

2020 Conway Lectures: Race in the Middle Ages

This year's lectures will be on the topic of race in the Middle Ages with speakers Sara Lipton (Stony Brook University), Cord J. Whitaker (Wellesley), and Suzanne Conklin Akbari (Institute for Advanced Study), and will be held virtually over Zoom. 

Schedule of Events

11/5, 2–3:30 p.m. EST, Sara Lipton, lecture followed by Q&A

11/5, 5–6:30 p.m. EST, Cord Whitaker, lecture followed by Q&A

11/6, 2–3:30 p.m. EST, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, lecture followed by Q&A

11/6, 4–5 p.m. EST, Roundtable with all speakers and audience Q&A

How to Join

All events will be held over Zoom. Registration is free and open to the public. To join, please register by Tuesday, November 3, 2020, to receive the Zoom links the morning of each event. (N.B.: If you have difficulty with this form, please sign out of your email/browser, clear your cache, and try again.) 


Please email

Reading Group

A graduate-student-led reading group on premodern critical race studies has also been formed for the 2020–21 year. This biweekly reading group creates a space in which participants can read and discuss foundational theoretical texts within this subfield and think through ways to apply this theory to their own work. Readings for the fall semester will include books and articles published by the 2020 Conway speakers. Following the Conway lectures, readings and discussion topics will be chosen based on the needs and research interests of group participants. Please contact the organizers, Shela Raman McCabe and Eileen M. W. Morgan, for more information on participating. 

Looking Ahead

The 2021 Conway Lectures will be on the theme of two important anniversaries: the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri and the 75th anniversary of the Medieval Institute. 




Peter Adamson (Ludwig Maximilians Universitat München), "Don't Think For Yourself: Faith and Authority in Medieval Philosophy"

Conway 2019 Poster

The lecture videos are available on our YouTube channel:

Lecture 1 "Taqlīd: Authority and the Intellectual Elite in the Islamic World"

Lecture 2 "Testing the Prophets: Reason and Medieval Religious Debates"
video | slides

Lecture 3 "The Right to Speak: Women in Byzantine and Latin Christian Philosophy"
video | slides




Niklaus Largier (UC Berkeley), "The Rhetoric of Mysticism"

Conway 2018 Poster


Susan Rankin (Cambridge), "Manuscripts for Musicians: 750–900"

2017 Conway Poster


William J. Courtenay (U Wisconsin–Madison), "Religious Ritual and Prayers for the Dead in the Medieval University of Paris"

Published as Rituals for the Dead: Religion and Community in the Medieval University of Paris (2018)

William Courtenay book jacket Conway


John V. Fleming (Princeton), "Asceticism and Literature in the Middle Ages"

Conway 2015 Poster


Alice-Mary Talbot (Dumbarton Oaks), "Varieties of Monastic Experience in Byzantium, 9th–15th Centuries"

Published as Varieties of Monastic Experience in Byzantium, 800-1453 (2019)

Alice-Mary Talbot Varieties of Monastic Experience Conway 2014


Anne D. Hedeman (U Kansas), "Visual Translation and the First French Humanists”

Conway Poster 2013


Sylvia Huot (Cambridge), “Giants in Medieval Romance Literature”

Published as Outsiders: The Humanity and Inhumanity of Giants in Medieval French Prose Romance (2016)

Huot Web


Barbara Newman (Northwestern), “Medieval Crossover: Reading the Secular Against the Sacred”

Published as Medieval Crossover: Reading the Secular Against the Sacred (2013)

Barbara Newman book jacket Conway


Roberta Frank (Yale), “Slip Slidin’ Away: The Nimble Leaps of Early Northern Verse”

Conway Poster 2010


John Marenbon (Cambridge), “Abelard in Four Dimensions”

Published as Abelard in Four Dimensions: A Twelfth-Century Philosopher in His Context and Ours (2013)

John Marenbon book jacket Conway


Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge), “The Templars and the Hospitallers as Professed Religious in the Holy Land, 1120-1291”

Published as Templars and Hospitallers as Professed Religious in the Holy Land (2009)

Jonathan Riley-Smith book jacket Conway


A. C. Spearing (U Virginia), “Medieval Autographies: The 'I' of the Text”

Published as Medieval Autographies: The "I" of the Text (2012)

A C Spearing book jacket Conway


Beat Brenk (University of Basel), “Our Lady: The Apse and the Icon”

Published as The Apse, The Image, and The Icon: An Historical Perspective of the Apse as a Space for Images (Reichert Verlag, 2010)

Beat Brenk book jacket Conway


Calvin Bower (Notre Dame), “Grasping the Wind: Words for Melodies in South-German Liturgical Music, 800-1200”

Conway 2005 Poster


Rosamond McKitterick (Cambridge), “Perceptions of the Past in the Early Middle Ages”

Published as Perceptions of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (2006)

Mckitterick Web


Paul Strohm (Columbia), “English Writing and the Pre-Machiavellian Prince”

Published as Politique: Languages of Statecraft between Chaucer and Shakespeare (2005)

Paul Strohm book jacket


Fr. Ulrich Horst (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität), “The Teaching Authority of the Pope”

Published as The Dominicans and the Pope: Papal Teaching Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Thomist Tradition (2006)

Ulrich Horst book jacket Conway