Garden of Paradise. Rhenish Master © Städel Museum. Source: Wikipedia

Medieval Conferences 2023

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Geese and dogs sounding the alarm i front of a castle Source: Conradus Kyeser: Bellifortis, um 1430, Clm 30150, fol. 28r © Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München23.03.2023 – 24.03.2023 Hearing with all Senses. Interdisciplinary Approaches to a Multisensory Phenomenon (ca. 500–1500). Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main und online

Hearing occupies a prominent place within the medieval hierarchy of senses. The New Testament pericopes “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1.1) and “Faith comes from hearing” (Romans 10.17) had an immense impact in late antiquity and in the Middle Ages. For example, based on this, the ideas of the conceptio per aurem, according to which Mary conceived by hearing, develop. Exploring the medieval sensory worlds no longer from the primacy of seeing, but rather from hearing, opens up new and surprising perspectives for the evaluation and understanding of actions and rituals, media and narratives. But one sense rarely stands alone. Perception – especially in the Christian-Latin Middle Ages – is fundamentally figured as a fluid, situation-dependent mutual interrelation of the senses. The aim of the conference is to trace the special significance of hearing within multisensory structures and related patterns of perception and contexts of meaning within their specific communication contexts. This not only addresses genuine questions of the historical sciences and humanities, but also calls for interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., in the field of psychoacoustics or the neurosciences). Furthermore, it is important to question the terminology of the sensory crossing of borders (such as synesthetic, multi- or intersensory, multi- or cross-modal) regarding contemporary categories of interpretation.

The international conference is organized as part of the interdisciplinary DFG-funded network “Lautsphären des Mittelalters” and takes place in hybrid form. Please register until March 22, 2023 for participation (in presence or via zoom) at: Access information for participation via zoom will be communicated in due time.


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