The 2023 Conway Lectures: Sara Ritchey (UT–Knoxville), "Notes on Performed Knowledge in Late Medieval Women's Religious Communities"


Location: Eck Visitors Center Auditorium and live-streamed on our YouTube channel (View on

Berlin Codex 33v Sara Ritchey Conway 2023 imageBerlin Codex, folio 33v

This talk will be held in-person and streamed live on our YouTube channel. Vist the event main page to find the viewing link.

About the Talk

This talk will spotlight the role of orality, vernacularity, and performance as means of knowledge transmission in late medieval women’s religious communities in northern France. Setting the stage for such processes are two manuscripts produced in the fourteenth century at the abbey of Origny Ste. Benoite. Liturgical dramas, saints’ lives, sermons, and images within these manuscripts illuminate a complex network of improvisational knowledge and communication practices that, I argue, can be recuperated through historical methods adapted from folklore and performance studies.

About the Speaker

Sara Ritchey is Professor of History and Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is author of Holy Matter: Changing Perceptions of the Material World in Late Medieval Christianity and Acts of Care: Recovering Women in Late Medieval Health. She is Co Editor-in-Chief of the journal postmedieval.

About the Series

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.