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


The 2022 Conway Lectures will be held on September 1 and 2, 2022, on the topic of "Medieval Multilingualism" and will feature speakers Paul Russell (Cambridge), Susan Phillips (Northwestern), and Scott Johnson (U of Oklahoma). More details will be announced closer to the event.



Conway Lectures 2021 Updated


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.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

2–3:30 PM: Lecture 1 with Carol Lansing (UC, Santa Barbara), "The Power to Choose? Piccarda Donati in the Paradiso and Girls in Bologna's Criminal Court"


3:45–5:15 PM: Lecture 2 with Areli Marina (Kansas), "Battering Ram and Fire: Civic Glory and Devastation in Dante's Age"


Friday, September 24, 2021

2–3:30 PM: Lecture 3 with Simon Gilson (Oxford), "Dante's Philosophers"


3:45–5:15 PM: Speaker Roundtable


This year's lectures were 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 were held virtually over Zoom. 

Sara Lipton, "'Jews Will Not Replace Us': Identity and Difference in Medieval Polemic and Modern Politics"

Cord J. Whitaker, "'From Medieval America to Modern': Medieval Black Metaphors, the Harlem Renaissance, and Antiracist Chivalry Today"

Suzanne Conklin Akbari, "Racializing Religion: The Case of the Ethiopian Magus and the Jews of Cologne"

Roundtable with all speakers and audience Q&A

Reading Group

A graduate-student-led reading group on premodern critical race studies was also been 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"

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