Thursday, 18 October 2012

The I3MS comes to an end

On account of the poor attendance to today's meeting, it has been decided to bring the Informal Iberian and Italian Medieval Seminar (I3MS) to an end.

Thank you very much for your support during the last two years and we wish you all the best in your career as Medievalists.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Thursday 18th of October: Meeting

Sunday, 7 October 2012

New term, new I3MS?

Welcome back to all the participants in the I3MS!

We hope that the new academic year looks as good as the past one, and that the long vacation has been productive as well as relaxing for all of you. This term is full of challenges and you will need all your energy to cope with them.

One of the most immediate challenges this year is the future of the I3MS. As you probably know, we have experienced some problems finding speakers for our fortnightly sessions and attendance has been rather poor. This circumstances have made us think if we should not change the format of the seminar and reduce the number of sessions to either two (one on an Italian topic and the other on an Hispanic topic) or just one longer session per term. Please, express your views on this in the comments below or write to us at

Moreover, the current organisers are both in their last DPhil year and they do not think they will be able to devote as much time to the I3MS as necessary to keep it working at the current rate. Although the reduction of the number of sessions could be a solution, it is only temporary and passing the organisation over to other hands seems the most sensible thing to do. Therefore, we would like to know if anyone volunteers for this task Should you be interested in taking over the organisation of the I3MS, please send us an e-mail to as soon as possible.

The last and saddest possibility, but a solution as well, is to discontinue the I3MS. This is totally unfair for new graduates and for new students in general, however, interest on the seminar has reduced considerably. This could be taken as a sign that the moment of the I3MS has passed and maybe this is true, but we cannot help thinking that this would be a shame.

There will be a special session to discuss the future of the I3MS on week 2, time and place to be confirmed, but very likely at the same time and place the seminar has been taking place this last two years. In this session, you will have the opportunity to comment on the above options and even volunteer for taking over the organisation of the I3MS. Meanwhile, you can use this blog or the e-mail to express your views or contact us, or just express your interest in the I3MS.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Review of the Digital.Humanities@Oxford Summer School 2012

The Digital.Humanities@Oxford Summer School (DHOXSS) 2012 took place from 2nd-6th July 2012 at the University of Oxford. Our colleague and seminar member Amaranta Saguar attended the course "An Introduction to XML and the TextEncoding Initiative" and has decided to share her experiences with us.

One of my greatest frustrations as a graduate student at the University of Oxford has been –and still is– the lack of courses on Digital Humanities. While other British universities such as King's College London or the University of Sheffield offer programmes on that subject, the University of Oxford has no course devoted to any aspect of Digital Humanities, neither practical nor theoretical. Only the Oxford University Computing Services run courses on tools used in the field but, until now, none of them has specifically been oriented to Digital Humanities, and most of them are either introductory or just informative. This situation is far more serious as the University of Oxford is part of, leads, hosts and fosters several Digital Humanities Projects. Therefore, when I heard about the Digital.Humanities@Oxford SummerSchool I was determined not to miss the opportunity, despite the course fees being so high. Luckily, I was awarded one DHOXSS Bursary to attend and the financial effort got considerably reduced.

Among the different courses offered, An Introduction to XML and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) seemed the most appropriate for my expectations. First, I was looking for something with an immediate application to my research that was more practical than theoretical, as well as something that could be learned in some depth in just one week. Second, I had had previous experiences with tag-based languages, so that the mechanics of the TEI were quite familiar to me and I was sure I could make the most of this course. And last, I was at the time transcribing one piece of manuscript text for an on-line project, and realised how much it could benefit from the tagging system proposed by the TEI: creating indexes, recording special characters, reflecting the layout... I immediately started dreaming of a world of possibilities and simple scripts based on tags and Javascript/JQuery.

The course was exactly what its title announced: an introduction to the TEI, quite similar to having a guided look through the TEI Guidelines. And there is the word that makes this course worth: guided. While approaching the TEI from the point of view of documentation can be confusing and lead to misunderstanding –to be honest, there is sometimes too much technical information for the person who just arrives to the TEI–, this course focuses on understanding the practical part and getting into the way the TEI structures texts and the hierarchical relations among its components. Once this has been understood and assimilated, getting familiar with the different tags and practice is everything that is needed for starting to work with the TEI. Moreover, the course provides information on forums, websites and mailing-lists devoted exclusively to the TEI, its features, its difficulties and examples of TEI encoding, so that it is no longer necessary to spend hours surfing the web looking for the right answer to TEI-related questions.

By contrast, the practical part of the workshop was a little bit disappointing. In this case, the adjective “guided” does not have such a positive meaning as it does above, but it is the principal weakness of the course. Directed exercises have an undeniable pedagogic value, however, they stop being challenging when they are reduced to following the steps and concentration does not last for long if you are told exactly what to do and do not have to think by yourself. It is true that this is an excellent method if you are working on your own –have a look at programming reference books and/or sites if you do not believe me–, but it makes no sense if you are in a group supervised by specialists in the topic, to whom you could pose your questions directly and in which you could discuss your problems at encoding as well. I would have preferred so much to be confronted to raw texts and raw encoding rather than to guided exercises...

Despite the above criticisms, I learned a lot. Not only about the TEI, but about other topics too. In first place, people that attended the course had quite interesting things to say, not only about Digital Humanities, but on a whole range of topics. In addition, some plenary lectures and sessions were quite inspiring –others did not interest me the slightest, as it is impossible to please everyone every time– and introduced aspects of Digital Humanities that I had dismissed or not considered before. Only the “surgery” sessions were too specific for me and I think they could have been organised in a different way, so that everybody can follow them and be interested in what is being discussed there. This last aspect could be improved if topics were less anglocentric and more open to general considerations than to particular circumstances in the United Kingdom, as well as if Oxford-based projects gave way to external ones or, at least, did not focus on its particularities but on what can be applied to other projects.

Unfortunately, only the TEI applies to my current research, but I got some good ideas for some parallel and future projects. Not only have I started to encode the piece of manuscript text that inspired me to attend the course, but I have tried to apply the principles that I learned on accessibility and machine readability to some of my on-going projects. What I learned about copyright and open licensing has proved very useful to publish one book, as well as the information on crowdsourcing. I only miss not to have had the chance to learn about the use and the creation of databases in the field of Digital Humanities! My life would be so much easier if I had!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Thursday 14th of June: WORKSHOP!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Next and last session of the term

Did you know that the last session of the I3MS this term will be a practical workshop on codicology, paleography and old printed book? More information to come!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Thursday 31st of May: Julia Hartley on love and reason in Dante

Friday, 4 May 2012

Thursday 10th of May: Liliana Worth on "Poema de Mio Cid"

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

IMPORTANT: The first session of this term takes place on week 3!

Due to organisatory reasons, the first I3MS session of this term does NOT take place on week 2, but on week 3.

(Thursday 10th of May)

More information to follow.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

CFP: 1st ARDIT International Congress of Predoctoral Medievalists

New term, more CFPs! This time the I3MS brings to you the CFP for the 1st ARDIT International Congress of Predoctoral Medievalists, to take place from the 14th to the 16th of November 2012 in Barcelona. More information at the official site:

Esguardant e pensant qual era aquest món

Medieval thought, traditionally related to major figures and to the works produced by an intellectual elite, provides, however, a great richness and variety when we broaden our sight to encompass the ensemble of those who formed medieval society. With the introductory phrase of this text, from the preface of the Llibre dels Fets by Jaume I, we aim to open the door to the multiple points of view and reflections provided by graduate researchers within a wide range of aspects related to knowledge and its language, the arts, the ways of learning, the transmission of proficiency, the objects and the spaces in which the thoughts are reflected in the context of medieval age.

With a distinctly interdisciplinary diffusion intention, the congress aims to announce innovative researches on multiple and corresponding fields, such as History, Philosophy, History of Art or Philology among others. Our main objective with this call, with which we encourage you to participate, is to give access to new spaces of creation and network transmission of knowledge, thus  confronting the specialization and compartmentalization of expertises usually attributed to the academic world. The accepted papers will define the final sections in which the congress will be divided.

Proposals will be accepted until June 20th 2012. You will receive an acceptation/refusal answer from the scientific committee before August 20th.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review of the I Jornadas de Iniciación a la Investigación en Literaturas Hispánicas

Yesterday and today took place the I Jornadas de Iniciación a la Investigación en Literaturas Hispánicas, at the Biblioteca Histórica Marqués de Valdecilla and the Facultad de Filología (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). One member of the I3MS participated in the last session of the first day and wants to share her impressions with us:

Efficiency. There is no better adjective to describe this congress. Efficiency on the side of the organisation, and efficiency on the side of the speakers. On the side of the organisation because this congress has been organised exclusively by graduate students of the Universidad Complutense, with some support from the Facultad de Filología and the Biblioteca Histórica Marqués de Valdecilla, and in a record time. On the side of the speakers because papers have stuck to the available time and shown that young Hispanists are well prepared.

As this is just a short review, I will not analyse the papers individually, but in general. With regard to the research lines represented, there were three: "La edición ayer y hoy" (Text-editing yesterday and today), "Tradición y transgresión en la literatura hispánica" (Tradition and transgression in Hispanic literature) and "Estudios interdisciplinares" (Interdisciplinary studies). Papers on the two first research lines were mainly devoted to ecdotics and intertextuality. The results were very satisfactory and showed that there is still a lot of work waiting to be done in both fields and graduate students with the skills to do it. Moreover, it demonstrated that some traditional views can be updated and applied to modern research, as well as that certain well-studied research fields need a review from a modern point of view and with modern tools. Unfortunately, I could only listen to one paper on interdisciplinary research, but it showed that philological methods can be applied to other fields, in this case, the study of opera.

In general, my impression was very positive. Moderators did very good jobs and I only missed more active Q&A turns. I think this kind of initiatives show the healthy state of research in Hispanic literature, above all research performed by young people, and should inspire us at the I3MS to keep going.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review of the IX ALEPH Congress (10th-13th April 2012, University of Cádiz)

Last week, from the 10th to the 13th of April, took place the 9th congress of the Asociación de Jóvenes Investigadores de la Literatura Hispánica (ALEPH) in Cádiz, at the Facultad de Filología y Letras. This has been the most successful congress since the founding of the association, with more than 150 speakers from different European countries, as can be seen in the extensive programme (available here). On this occasion, the interesting topic "Escritura y disidencia: textos literarios hispánicos en busca de la libertad" has attracted pre-doctoral students from various fields of the research in Hispanic literature, with a massive representation of Latin-Americanists. As in the previous congress, the I3MS has been able to send someone to attend this year's edition and write this first-hand review.

Do you know how it feels seeing the sea from the classroom window? I did not, but this was my first impression of the University of Cádiz. Situated at the side of the sea, in a white and red brick building, the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras invited more to spend the day on the beach than listening to papers. Fortunately, the programme of the congress was wide and interesting enough to keep people indoors and "hooked" on the papers.

After the welcoming session, the first plenary presentation by Dr. José Jurado (Universidad de Cádiz) defined the general tone of the congress: subversive, critical and non-conformist (in both directions: conservative and progressive). Thereafter, thematically organised parallel sessions took place, so that I will be able to review just some of them.

On account of their relevance for the I3MS, I want to make stand out the paper by Blanca Ballester (Universitat de Barcelona) “Señor, no me lo mandéis”: La reinvindicación de la voz poética femenina en los villancicos dialogados de Juan del Encina, in which she analysed the invention of the feminine voice in courtly amorous poetry at the end of the XVth century from a genderised point of view. This voice was completely different to the feminine voice in previous literature and obviously influenced by the masculine point of view of love poetry up to the time. The following paper, "Sin libro nuevo no hay contento": mujeres y caballerías en el Siglo de Oro, by Pedro Álvarez (Universidad de Oviedo), was as interesting as the previous one, and informed us about the popularity of "libros de caballerías" among women and questioned why there are not so many known women writers of this kind of texts. This interesting approach has shown to be very frutiful and I cannot wait to read the conclusions by Pedro Álvarez when he finishes his research.

The next session dealt with texts of the Golden Age, with a first paper by Jessica Roade (Universidad de Vigo) on La privación de la libertad en "El vaquero de Moraña": del encierro al exilio, an almost unknown work by Lope de Vega that she analised from the point of view of the topic of freedom. This paper was followed by the very interesting paper El grito de la libertad de un morisco español expulsado: análisis de un discurso anti-cristiano en el "Tratado de los dos caminos", which gave us an unusual view of the expulsion of the Moorish, told from the perspective of an exiled "morisco" living in Turkey. This is the counterpart of the accounts from the Christian-Spanish point of view and reveals a pseudo-mystical interpretation of this expulsion that should be analysed in depth. Finally, “Porque es mi libertad / muy preciada…” La nostalgia de la libertad perdida y anhelada: Representaciones, expresiones y reivindicaciones en el "Aula" by Mª del Rosario Martínez (Universidad de Sevilla) provided us with a good general overview of the topic of the court as a "mare malorum" and the criticism of Cristóbal de Castillejo, who had a first-hand knowledge of the life at the court. Among the remaining papers of the day, it is important to highlight the one by Cecilia Angélica Cortés (Universidad de Salamanca) La elaboración del catálogo de sermones impresos novohispanos del siglo XVII de la Biblioteca Nacional de México, which demonstrated how important is the study of material bibliography, so neglected by certain modern scholars nowadays.

The next day opened with a divulgation plenary session on the "trobairitz" by Dra Antonia Víñez (Universidad de Cádiz) and was followed by a paper by one I3MS member, Amaranta Saguar (University of Oxford), who talked about "Celestina", as usual, with a paper entitled Las premisas bíblicas de un silogismo falaz: "Celestina" y Eclesiástico 13. In it she analysed the argumentation techniques of Celestina and related it to opposition to university teaching of the time. Carmen Benítez (Universidad de Sevilla) gave a paper afterwards on the interesting topic of queenship and propaganda with the title Subvertir la  realidad: los lugares perdidos en Ribacôa y la Crónica de Fernando IV. Un ejemplo de propaganda molinista, that showed how chronicles can be used to legitimate a certain political attitude. The afternoon was dominated by papers on Golden Age authors and works such as Góngora, Quevedo or short theatre writers.

On Thursday, new technologies gained prominence with the paper El microrrelato en la era digital: ¿Una transgresión institucionalizada o emergente? by Mª Begoña Díez (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela), in which medium and text were analysed together. Contemporary and Latin-American literature dominated afterwards, before the Asamblea General, in which the new Standing Committee was chosen.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early on Friday, so I was not able to attend any of the sessions that day. In any case, the congress was very interesting and the organisation was satisfactory, above all because it is very difficult to coordinate 150 speakers in only three days and a half. The next edition will take place in Torino (Italy) and I hope it will be at least as interesting as this 9th edition of the ALEPH congress in Cádiz was.

See you there!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Thursday 8th of March: David Bowe on Theory and Medieval texts

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Next I3MS Session. CANCELLED

Unfortunately, the I3MS session scheduled for next Thursday, 23rd of February, has to be cancelled. however, the last session of the term will take place as usual, on the 8th March.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

MIMSS Session on the 2nd March

The MIMSS is quite active this term and there will be a new MIMSS session on the next 2nd March, with Prof. Carlos Heusch (ENS-Lyon) and Prof. Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco (Columbia University) as guests.

Literary and intellectual convergences in late medieval Spain, II
Session of MIMSSFriday 2 March 2012Summer Common Room, Magdalen College
3.30.- Welcome. Coffee and tea

4.00.- Prof. Carlos Heusch (ENS-Lyon): "El florido árbol de las mentiras. Aproximación a la ficciología medieval desde don Juan Manuel"
4.45.- Prof. Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco (Columbia University): "Political Idiots".
5.30.- Discussion
6.15.- End of the session6.15.- End of the session

More information at the MIMSS official site.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Thursday 7th of February: David Bowe on Theory and Medieval Texts

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

CFP The Oxford/Cambridge International Chronicles Symposium (OCICS)

The Oxford/Cambridge International Chronicles Symposium (OCICS) is a biennial conference devoted to the interdisciplinary study of chronicles in the medieval and Early Modern periods. It provides a forum for discussions of historical and related texts written across a range of languages, periods and places. It seeks to strengthen the network of chronicle studies worldwide, and aims to encourage collaboration between researchers working in a variety of disciplines from around the globe.

The theme for the 2012 conference, which will take place at the University of Oxford from the 5-7 July, is ‘Bonds, Links, and Ties in Medieval and Renaissance Chronicles’. Keynote addresses will be given by Prof Pauline Stafford (Liverpool), Dr Elizabeth van Houts (Cambridge), and Dr James Howard-Johnston (Oxford). The conference will take place at Oxford’s Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies.

Registration is £60 (full) or £50 (reduced). This includes lunch and refreshments on all three days. A limited number of bursaries will be available to assist graduate students with travel costs.

Call for Papers

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers of 20 minutes must be submitted to the organizers via e-mail (at by 31 January 2012.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
•    genealogies (real or imagined)
•    family bonds
•    textual links
•    breaks and discontinuities
•    links between past, present, and future
•    ties of religion and faith
•    law, order, and disruption
•    oaths, promises, and betrayals
•    local, regional, and national identities
Please visit our website for more information:

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Yours faithfully,

The OCICS 2012 Organizing Committee.

CFP: Jornadas de Iniciación a la Investigación en Literaturas Hispánicas

The Spanish Literature Department of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid will be hosting its first Jornadas de Iniciación a la Investigación en Literaturas Hispánicas the days 18th and 19th of April of the current year. This symposium is intended to provide a forum for researchers in the early stages of their career who want to share and discuss their ideas with other young researchers and reputed scholars in the field of Spanish Literature.

20-25 min papers from MSt and DPhil students are welcome until the 15th of February 2012, as well as proposals by recent Doctors that have defended their dissertation during the course year 2010/2011. A maximum of fifteen papers will be selected for the symposium, which will be read by a member of the scientific committee before its presentation.After the celebration of the symposium, papers can be uploaded to the on-line repository E-Prints and it is highly likely that they will be published in a specialised journal.

Papers have to fit in at least one of the following categories:
  1. Editing now and in the past: this includes ecdotics, bibliography, history of the book, diachronic linguistics, hipertextual edition, etc.
  2. Tradition and transgression: literary tradition, subversion, minorities, etc.
  3. Interdisciplinary studies: the relation of Hispanic literature to other fields of study

More information about the symposium and the application procedure in any of the official blogs of the symposium: or (in Spanish).

Monday, 23 January 2012

Thursday 26th of January: Jennifer Rushworth leads a discussion on Medieval melancholia

Saturday, 7 January 2012

"Biblia y Celestina": a searchable on-line database of biblical quotations in "Celestina"

Yesterday, 6th of January 2012, I3MS co-founder Amaranta Saguar García presented officially the on-line project "Biblia y Celestina" associated to her doctoral research. This presentation was part of the roundtable "Digital Humanities and Hispanism" organised by Kyra Kietrys (Davidson College) for the 127th MLA Convention that is taking place this weekend in Seattle.

Amaranta has decided to share a video of her presentation with all of us, which can be found too at Enjoy it!

A slightly more complete presentation can be found at too, in which some technical details are given and important updates are announced. Do not hesitate to comment!
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