top of page
TresRichesHeures-c1411-16 (1).jpg

Conference Format

One of the unique elements of the Colloquium is its use of a respondent-format. Papers for each panel are pre-circulated to a selected respondent 1 month before the conference meeting. The respondent takes this time to read each paper and create a response that addresses the individual papers and poses questions for the panelists. This guarantees that each presenter has the opportunity for an established scholar to engage with their work, and the responses set the initial terms for the questions and conversation at the end of each panel.

Commenters are generally established figures in the field with a significant record of publication; participants in the Colloquium are generally limited to holders of a Ph.D. and those currently in a Ph.D. program. 

Plenary Speakers

Each year we invite two plenary speakers, each of which is supported by a generous endowment given to the conference for this express purpose. The Edward King Memorial Lecture allows us to bring a noted historian to the conference, and the Brinley Rhys Memorial Lecture sponsors a scholar from any other area of medieval studies. 


Each year, organizers propose sub-themes that relate to the larger conference topic. Papers inspired by and submitted to these sub-themes will be selected by their organizers, once the submission deadline has passed. If a paper is not selected by the organizers, it will be considered for the general paper call. These sub-themes allow us to encourage long-form conversations that develop over the course of the Colloquium, generating sustained interdisciplinary interest around topics related to the year's theme. In addition to selecting the papers that go into the sub-theme's panels, organizers also arrange respondents they would like to include in the conversation.

Collaborative Space

A hallmark of the Colloquium is the way it generates collaboration within its panels. However, we also make space for this in more informal ways. One of the newer features of the meeting is a 'collaboration session' during the conference where people working on shared projects can find time to talk and meet in-person. Alongside this are 'topic tables' that participants can propose in the weeks before the conference. These tables will create a space to gather over coffee and light snacks as a break from traditional panels and discuss things ranging from the pragmatic (concerns around publishing a first monograph or navigating particular archives, for example) to more scholarly (the nature of lyric form, or trans-national travel in the pre-modern world, or medieval bibliophilia, for example). Casual and social, these allow exploratory conversations where people can make connections and try something new.

Colloquium Seminar

Every other year we invite a scholar to host a seminar as part of the Colloquium. This seminar is tied to the theme of the conference that year and allows participants to read a shared text (chosen by the seminar leader) together over several remote meetings in the weeks before the conference. Discussions of this text are augmented in these meetings by short "objects of study" selected by each participant. These objects allow the group to try out applying the shared reading to a variety of medieval contexts -- and to let those contexts, in turn, speak to the shared reading. At the Colloquium itself, the group offers a collaborative roundtable discussion about their conversations, their findings, and how their thinking has changed over the previous weeks through this process.

Paper Presentations

Traditional, 20-min papers which are proposed to the committee by an abstract. Papers may be submitted to a particular sub-theme or they might be submitted to the general call. Accepted papers are assembled into 3-paper panels and are assigned a respondent by the conference organizers.

Proposed Panels

Panels are a way for societies or groups to assemble a panel of 3 papers and propose the entire panel to the conference organizers. Panel organizers are not responsible for arranging their own respondents, unless they have someone specific in mind and would like to reach out to them as part of the proposal. Otherwise, the conference organizers will arrange the respondent as usual.

bottom of page