Saturday, September 13, 2014

Carnivalesque 105

"I'm not saying it DEFINITELY wasn't meant to be a damn(ed) fuckin Abbot, I just think it's unlikely."

And so begins the September 2014 edition of Carnivalesque!

The above quotation is drawn from a post by Kate Wiles in the post, "But What About the D?" she examines the stray mark in the marginal annotation that caused a stir many months back when it emerged as the first attestation of "fucking" as a derogatory adjective. After a considered discussion of the hand, the stray marks, and the smudging, she concludes that the scribe was only moderately infuriated by the abbot, rather than completely, brimstone-invoking outraged at him.

In further news of insightful analyses of interesting manuscripts, Erik Kwakkel has a new blog! All hail! And Adam Carter McCollum resolves some Old Georgian scribal abbreviation issues in a recent post (that is best viewed in browsers other than Safari).

We began by covering pre-modern swearing. Now on to pre-modern peeing: Don't be put off by the fact that Jennifer Sherman Roberts' post includes the phrase "collected around 60 buckets of human urine, waited for it to ferment to the point of turning black, and then boiled it down into a syrup"; In "Great Globs of Glowing Urine" she reviews the process by which phosphorous was initially isolated. And even though it was done so as a part of the now-discredited science of alchemy, this overview, as well as the embedded video, should still be be enough to convince the cranky physicists of the world that the history of pre- and early-modern science is cool, interesting, and deeply worthwhile.

The Renaissance Mathematicus wrote a two-parter, also broadly in history of science. "Galileo, Foscarini, the Catholic Church, and Heliocentricity in 1615," part 1 and part 2, offers an overview of the collision between science and Scripture at the start of the seventeenth century and the consequences of that explosive interaction.

The new Thor is a woman, which has generated lots of discussion about the representations of women in pre-modern societies and their mythologies in comics, video games, and movies and the extent to which those representations are grounded in history. Into the fray leapt some archaeologists who pronounced that fully a half of Viking warriors were women. Professor Grumpy writes two posts in which he takes an in-depth look at the funerary evidence; in a response, David Perry grapples with the evidence itself as well as the implications of the different modes of interpreting it in his post "Viking Women Warriors and Diversity in Literature."

This is not the only recent thread of online discussion about diversity in medieval studies, medievalism, and representations of the past:

The group blog In the Middle Medieval has been hosting a series of guest posts on various aspects of diversity and the lack thereof in English Medieval Studies and in Medieval Studies and the academy more broadly. In reverse order of their appearance in the series: Jonathan Hsy's post "Intersections: On Annoyances, Mistakes and Possibilities" focuses on two major topics: the place of Asian bodies in MS, and how, as teachers, we can accommodate students with a range of disabilities and differences (without putting those two in the same category) and acknowledge our mistakes along the way. Helen Young's post, "Re-Making the Real Middle Ages" focuses on the neo-medieval fantasy that the Middle Ages was all very, very white and how to introduce medieval racial diversity to a popular and student audience. Dorothy Kim, in her post "Divergent Bodies and Medieval Studies" writes about the slowly shifting demographics of Medieval Studies and the micro- and macroagressions and policing faced by medievalists of color. And finally (or firstly), Michelle Warren writes about "Diversity and #medievaltwitter."

Further discussion of #medievaltwitter can be found in Sjoerd Levelt's post "Twitter at Historical Conferences: How to introduce it to those who are not #twitterstorians themselves." Building upon other recent writing about using Twitter at conferences, he explores some of the issues that tweeting a conference can present (or might seem to present for people who are unfamiliar with the platform) and writes specifically about how he aimed to address these issues at the recent International Conference on the Medieval Chronicle. The post includes some helpful templates.

And finally, from medievalist to neo-medieval: Atlas Obscura now includes a post about growing a neo-Gothic cathedral in the forests of Bergamo, Italy.

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