Manuscript Video Orientations

Last month, I recorded video orientations for two of my favourite manuscripts from the Schoenberg Collection at Penn. You can watch these on the Schoenberg Institute’s Youtube channel:

LJS 445 – Prenosticatio

LJS 497 – Canones vel operationes in operando quadrante

These manuscripts are drawn from my upcoming exhibit on medieval astronomy, which will be displayed at the Medieval Academy of America meeting in 2019. I am also building an online version of this exhibit, which you can preview at

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Medievalists @ Penn Conference on Vulnerability

The Call for Papers for the 10th Annual Medievalists @ Penn Graduate Conference is now live on our website. This year, we focus on vulnerability in the Middle Ages, a theme that lends itself to numerous approaches in critical race studies, disability studies, environmental humanities, gender and sexuality studies, and the history of material texts. Questions and 300-word abstracts may be sent to

Medievalists @ Penn (M@P), which I am currently co-directing with Shoshana Adler, is an interdepartmental collective of graduate students at Penn that seeks to foster discussion among medievalist students and scholars and to support the development of an interdisciplinary understanding of medieval culture. We meet once a month to discuss readings and works in progress.

Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

I recently began working for the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts under the supervision of Lynn Ransom. Contributors to this open-access database enter information from manuscript catalogues and link to existing information, creating a detailed archive of manuscript descriptions and provenance data. My work combines adding new data with conducting archival research to resolve conflicts among catalogues, database entries, and authority files.

This experience has reinforced my belief that participatory digital environments are valuable for both disseminating knowledge and accelerating the pace of manuscript research. Users of this database include the directors of major rare book libraries as well as undergraduate students and amateurs, and all are vital to its continuing importance as a digital resource. If you would like to participate in the project, you can read more about the history of the database, search its records, or sign up for your own account.

Anthropocene and Animal Studies Working Group

This fall, I will begin coordinating the interdisciplinary Anthropocene and Animals Studies Working Group at Penn, along with Nicole Welk-Joerger (Ph.D. candidate, History and Sociology of Science). In preparation for the coming year, we have drafted a list of meetings and events, accessible on the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) and English websites.

We will be reading a number of texts by speakers at Penn next year, particularly presenters at the Environments of Modernity conference. Organized by the Mods, Latitudes, and Anthropocene/Animal Studies working groups, the conference aims to feature visiting faculty and Penn graduate students who will speak to the role of “environment” as a concept in the shaping of modernity.

Vagantes Board

After two excellent experiences at the annual conference, I’m delighted to have joined the Vagantes Board of Directors as its Webmaster. I have a great deal of respect for the conference and the lively intellectual community it promotes, so I’m looking forward to the next two years, beginning with the 2017 conference at the University of Notre Dame.

If you’d like to find out more about Vagantes, I recently co-produced this informational video: