Medieval Ars Memoriae in Italy: Theory, Techniques, and Practices

Elisabeth  Trischler's picture
Call for Papers
September 23, 2019
Michigan, United States
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Italian History / Studies, Languages, Literature, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies


From the pseudo-Ciceronian Ad Herennium to Pietro da Ravenna’s Phoenix, the vibrant intellectual climate of the Italian peninsula was the core of many important contributions to Europe’s mnemonic traditions, bridging not only Eastern and Western cultures but also adapting the classical tradition to its own epoch. This panel aims to explore the variety of memory techniques developed and practiced in Italy during the medieval period. Medieval memory has become a key topic of discussion amongst contemporary scholars from many disciplines, our panel will therefore accept papers from a variety of fields, including but not limited to: art, history, literature, philosophy, and theology. 


Potential paper topics include but are not limited to:

  • the use of ars memoriae in Italian literature
  • the differences between theory and praxis
  • the influence or rejection of classical authors
  • illustrations as pedagogical tools and/or their absence
  • Ars memoriae and the sermo modernus
  • the practice in relation to different audiences
  • real and imagined architectural spaces and ars memoriae
  • the roles of affect and sensorial play
  • art and mnemonics: from manuscript decoration to cloister frescoes


We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers on (but not limited to) the above-mentioned topics. Please send abstracts with paper title (maximum 300 words), a short bio, your affiliation, keywords, and participant information form to the organizers, Leon Jacobowitz Efron ( and Elisabeth Trischler ( by 23 September 2019. Please refer to the paper submission and conference participation policies located on the website for the Congress.

Contact Info: 

Organized by: Elisabeth Trischler and Leon Jacobowitz Efron

Sponsor: Italians and Italianists at Kalamazoo


Contact Email: