Christ Enthroned, from the Book of Kells

Sacred Objects and Places

This week has been crazier than most, but mostly in a good way. It’s always crazy during Spring Lecture Series week, and this year, the 33rd in the annual series, has certainly kept me going. The lectures have been amazing, the lecturers have been generous, and the UNM Institute for Medieval Studies, headed by Dr. Timothy Graham, has been in top form.

In case anyone wonders, it’s been one of the most thrilling parts of my career to be witness to almost one full quarter of these events, though being in Albuquerque this long was never really the plan. What I’ve had the opportunity to see and hear during these lectures, however, has at least taken the edge off of my long sojourn, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done in the wings of the lecture series, both as a student and as an officer of the Medieval Studies Student Association.

I’m not going to make this a long post, but I did want to put out there that I’m especially grateful to Adam Cohen, Art Historian from Toronto, who has been most generous with his expertise and his friendly conversation this week. It’s been a pleasure to talk with him as much as I have and an even greater pleasure to learn from him about sacred Hebrew texts and the way material culture is tied up in the texts and illustrations of those books. He’s given me a lot to think about, even if I still think he’s being too specific about how the Exeter scriptorium stored gold leaf in the Exeter Book.

Finally, I wanted to say thank you to all the faculty who serve and have served to make the IMS SLS the institution it is. Dr. Helen Damico started it, Dr. Graham now directs the institute, and Drs. Andrews, Cardenas, S. and J. Davis-Secord, Donovan, Gibbs, Obermeier, and Ryan have all been important players in making these events come together. Others, like Dr. Patrick Gallacher, who passed away last year, were not active in the department in the time I’ve been here, but I have no doubt that they, too, did a great deal to help the Series during their careers at UNM, and I know there are others I don’t know about. Their efforts have brought a whole world full of world-class scholarship to our doorsteps here in Albuquerque, and I cannot adequately express how thankful I am to have been able to be even a small part of it.

If you’re here, there are two more lectures to go for this year. I hope to see you in Woodward Hall tonight!

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