Working Groups

Medieval Classroom

Each year the Medieval Institute sponsors Working Groups, an opportunity for faculty fellows and graduate students to investigate a topic relating to shared research interests.

Current Working Groups

Christianity and Philosophy in Late Antiquity

Faculty: Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Gretchen Reydams-Schils; Graduate Students: Kirsten Anderson, Grant Gasse

A perennial topic in the study of late ancient Christianity is the relationship between properly Christian literature and mainstream (i.e. non-Christian) Greek philosophy. It is widely acknowledged that without a thorough grasp of ancient and late ancient philosophy, one cannot fully understand authors like Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine of Hippo, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, and Maximus the Confessor — not to mention Christians like Boethius and John Philoponus, who are well-known for their properly philosophical works. Philosophy formed more than merely these authors’ “context”; it was, or at least often was, the mode in which they wrote. To read them well is to take seriously the philosophical character of their argumentation, at least in those texts where this is appropriate. Although countless scholars have discussed Christianity’s relation to philosophy, the question has often been pursued strictly within the parameters of one or another of the modern disciplines. This working group is meant to provide a space for interdisciplinary study, in the form of both regular reading group discussion and shared individual research, which considers early Christian authors as sophisticated philosophical thinkers in their own right.

Medieval Liturgy

Faculty: Katie Bugyis, Margot Fassler, Nina Glibetic, Peter Jeffrey, CJ Jones, Gabriel Radle, Julia Schneider; Graduate Students: Spencer Arrowood, Eleonora Celora, Kristina Kummerer, Samantha Slaubaugh

The Medieval Liturgy Working Group is dedicated to interdisciplinary scholarship on liturgy across the long Middle Ages, in diverse traditions of both East and West. Notre Dame has one of the largest representations of scholars dedicated to research on medieval liturgy, spread across at least six different departments and programs at the university. Our Medieval Institute working group brings these and other faculty, researchers, and graduate students together in order to share work in progress, advance methodological reflections on the discipline, and increase visibility and interdisciplinarity for liturgical studies at Notre Dame and in the broader academy.

Religion and Pluralism in the Medieval Mediterranean

Faculty: Hussein Abdusater, Alexander Beihammer, Jessalynn Bird, Catherine Bronson, Thomas Burman, Nina Glibetic, Li Guo, Robin Jensen, Mahan Mirza, Ebrahim Moosa, Gabriel Radle, Deborah Tor, Alexis Torrance; Graduate Students: Joseph Baxley, Francisco Cintron, Marven Corrielus, Eric Devilliers, Anthony Gaspar, Spencer Hunt, Jake Kildoo, Edith Legarde, Mihow McKenny, Eileen Morgan, Catherine Perl, Hüsamettin Simsir, Romain Thurin

The working group will explore questions pertaining to the study of religions, religious interactions, the formation of identity and community, and the state of the fields of religion, literature, and history in the medieval Mediterranean. Our group will continue to invite participants to consider the ways in which the medieval Mediterranean world was shaped by religious pluralism and the interaction of religions (principally Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and how that reality is reflected in contemporary scholarship. Through this working group, participants will continue to appreciate contemporary scholarship on various aspects of the medieval Mediterranean across a wide range of disciplines.

The Transformation of Classical Texts in the Middle Ages

Faculty: W. Martin Bloomer, David Gura, Stephen Metzger, Hildegund Müller, Julia Schneider; Graduate Students: Carlos Arenas Pacheco, Emily Mahan, Kelsi Ray

This MI working group studies how the texts of pagan sapientia are accommodated to, become vehicles for, help articulate, and modify Christian ideas, institutions, and doctrine­. We are working on both the practical level of the individual text and manuscript and at a more theoretical level. We focus mainly on the commentary tradition of the Disticha Catonis, a very important text with a long and varied history in the Middle Ages, with the hope of understanding not simply allegorizing practices but, more deeply, how sapientia is reframed in a Christianizing mode. We are also considering the theoretical and methodological issues involved in recuperating modes of reading and recomposition and in determining how an object or idea from a foreign religion is accommodated to the mainstream religion.

Submitting a Proposal

The Working Group application deadline is April 1st of each year. Review the Proposal Instructions to prepare and submit an application.  

The MI Faculty Committee will review applications and the MI will inform groups of decisions by the end of April. 

Guidelines for Working Groups

Approved groups will want to review the Guidelines for Working Groups so they are familiar with the necessary steps for planning their events and running their groups.