Call for Proposals for the 2016 ICMS (Kalamazoo, Michigan) "Mappings" Sessions

MapISH news

Dear Cartographical Colleagues (with apologies for cross-posting),

Felicitas Schmieder, FernUniversität in Hagen, and I invite you to submit talk proposals for one of the three “Mappings” sessions we have organized for the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo (May 12-15, 2016).  Along with your talk’s title, and a 250-300-word abstract, please include a short cv detailing your work on medieval maps, and a completed Participant Information Form, which you’ll find at  Please send these items to both of us (, no later than September 15.  Our Special Session descriptions follow below. 

Please note the publication possibility below.  Note, too, that we again will submit proposals for “Mappings” sessions (and perhaps a round table) for the 2016 International Medieval Congress in Leeds.  Our goals are to raise the profile of map studies by bringing together scholars from Europe and North America.

Session Descriptions

Mappings I: The Roman Heritage of Medieval Maps

Map scholars have become more confident in thinking that a Roman heritage stands behind medieval mapmaking, but have not fully articulated the components of that legacy—if we can call it a legacy—or what affect it had on mapmakers in the Middle Ages.  Speakers in this session will focus on vestiges of a Roman worldview and mapping concepts on medieval maps to help us understand the extent of that presence and what it tells us about the worldview and mapping concepts of medieval mapmakers.

Mappings II: Mapping Space and Time

Many medieval maps represent space, but also time.  Such maps have been rightly described as painted world chronicles that, like verbal chronicles, emphasize the past, present, and future of the world and Christianity.  Indeed, most medieval world maps show paradise as the earthly place where it all began, the place where events transpired that would profoundly effect human history up to the endtime.  By picturing, and often captioning, biblical places, persons, and apocalyptic events, medieval maps were more compelling, more convincing than verbal texts and, for some, pointed the way back to paradise.  Speakers in this session will examine various ways in which this happens and so provide an overview of medieval approaches to space and time.

Mappings III: Medieval Maps, their Makers, and Uses

No artwork, and certainly no map, arises sui generis.  Without an understanding of the web of personalities and circumstances behind a map’s creation, theories about its commissioning, design, creation, placement, and use rest on unstable ground.  Speakers in this session will lay different contextual foundations for different types of medieval maps and suggest what these contexts tell us about the maps’ makers and uses.

Publication possibility

Dan and Asa Simon Mittman, California State University, Chico, edit and publish extended, peer-reviewed essays that grow from talks at the IMC in Leeds and now at the ICMS in Kalamazoo.  These essays constitute the special biannual “Mappings” issues of Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture.  All of our speakers from Leeds 2015 and Kalamazoo 2016 will be invited to submit manuscripts for the spring 2017 issue of Peregrinations.

All the best,

Felicitas and Dan