"Kalamazoo" is the informal name for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, an annual conference hosted each year by the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The conference takes place from the Thursday to the Sunday of the second week in May each year. (Until 2010, it took place during the first week in May)
(Adapted from "Welcome to the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University", http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/welcome/welcome.html).
- The Medieval Congress began as a biennial conference catering largely to researchers from Michigan in March 1962. By 1966, approximately two hundred participants were registered in the event, and the presenters had begun to come from colleges and universities outside of Michigan. The Congress also grew programmatically as the initial concert of the Society for Old Music established a tradition of early music at the conferences. In 1970 the conference became an annual event, and an Assistant Director, George Demetrakopoulos, was appointed to manage conference organization and related responsibilities.
- Although geography and the late spring date of the conference have contriuted to its success, the the most important reason was the egalitarian strategy successfully instituted by the first director, John Sommerfeldt: invitations to present papers at the Kalamazoo conference went out to everyone in the field, and abstracts were invited from anyone who wished to be considered. This approach was considered radical at the time, but served to open scholarship to a much broader range of individuals, including advanced graduate students who sometimes read their first papers at Kalamazoo.
- The growth of the May conference both in prestige and size in the late 1970s and 1980s may be traced to the appointment in 1975 of Otto Gründler, first as Associate Director and then in the following year as Sommerfeldt’s successor as Director of the Medieval Institute. Gründler instituted the practice of inviting affiliated organizations as well as other scholars to organize special sessions, and at his suggestion the Board of the Institute voted to rename the conference the International Congress on Medieval Studies. By May of 1984 the number of registrants had exceeded 2,000, and in 2001 a record 2,891 registrants came to hear more than 1,800 papers read in 605 sessions over a four-day period. Plenary speakers, many of them from abroad, form a roster of the most distinguished researchers in the field. Music and drama programs presented by the Newberry Consort, Sequentia, the Hilliard Ensemble, the Boston Camerata, Tapestry, Anonymous IV, the Society of Old Music, and Poculi Ludique Societas have provided a tradition of enrichment for the Congress participants. The Congress Book Exhibit has grown now to some 70 vendors.
- June 1: Session proposals due. Organizers of "Special" (proposed by individuals) or "Sponsored" (proposed by scholarly associations or organizations) sessions must submit proposals by this date.
- July: Call for papers published. A call for papers including general, special, and sponsored sessions approved by the Congress committee is published.
- Sept. 15: Paper proposals: Papers proposals for general sessions must submit proposals by this date. Most special and sponsored sessions also require paper proposals by this date.
- October 1: Final session schedules due. Organizers of special or sponsored sessions must submit final schedules for their sessions by this date.
Contacts and administration
The Congress and Medieval Center is directed by James M. Murray.
For information on the congress, contact the conference office:
- International Congress on Medieval Studies
- The Medieval Institute
- Walwood Hall
- Western Michigan University
- 1903 W. Michigan Ave.
- Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5432
- Phone: (269) 3878745
- FAX: (269) 3878750
- e-mail: MDVL_CONGRES@WMICH.EDU
Sessions on digital topics
Links to programs for individual years appear at the end of this article. Articles on previous years' conferences may include abstracts.
- http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/ Congress home page.
- http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/41stadvance/how-it-works.html Description of conference rules and regulations.
- International Medieval Congress (Leeds)