Conway Lectures

In 2002, the Medieval Institute inaugurated a lecture series in honor of Robert M. and Ricki Conway. Robert Conway was a 1966 graduate of Notre Dame and trustee of the University; he was, and his wife Ricki continues to be, a long-time friend and supporter 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 2024 Conway Lectures will be held on September 12 and 13, 2024. Details will be announced closer to the date. 

The 2023 Conway Lectures
"Women and Knowledge in the Middle Ages"

Sara Ritchey

"Notes on Performed Knowledge in Late Medieval Women's Religious Communities"

Linda G. Jones

"Contested Female Authority and the Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Sunni Islam"

Leonora Neville

"Wisdom, Virtue, and Intellectual Women in the Eastern Roman Empire"


2022: "Medieval Multilingualism"

2021: "Dante and Medieval Studies"

In September 2021, the Conway Lectures celebrated two important anniversaries: the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri and the 75th anniversary of the Medieval Institute.

Carol Lansing (UC, Santa Barbara), "The Power to Choose? Piccarda Donati in the Paradiso and Girls in Bologna's Criminal Court"

Areli Marina (Kansas), "Battering Ram and Fire: Civic Glory and Devastation in Dante's Age"

Simon Gilson (Oxford), "Dante's Philosophers"

2020: "Race in the Middle Ages"

Reading Group

A graduate-student-led reading group on premodern critical race studies was also formed for the 2020–21 year. This biweekly reading group created a space in which participants read and discussed foundational theoretical texts within this subfield and thought through ways to apply this theory to their own work. Readings for the fall semester included books and articles published by the 2020 Conway speakers. Following the Conway lectures, readings and discussion topics were chosen based on the needs and research interests of group participants. 


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

Published as Don't Think For Yourself: Faith and Authority in Medieval Philosophy (2022)

Adamson book cover

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"

Published as Sounding the Word of God: Carolingian Books for Singers (2022)

Rankin book cover


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”

Published as Visual Translation: Illuminated Manuscripts and the First French Humanists (2022)

Hedeman Book Cover


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”

Published as The Etiquette of Early Northern Verse (2022)

Frank Book Cover


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