Issue Four: Active Objects

The essays in this issue are drawn from two sessions on “Active Objects” sponsored by the Material Collective at the 2012 International Congress of Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: “Optics and Transparency” and “Agency and Phenomenology.” The papers all consider ways in which medieval objects had agency; that is, how they acted upon viewers and shaped response.


Karen Eileen Overbey & Benjamin C. Tilghman. Active Objects: An IntroductionAvailable in PDFWeb

Joseph Salvatore Ackley, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University: Copper-alloy Substrates in Precious Metal Treasury Objects: Concealed and Yet ExcessiveAvailable in PDFWeb

Benjamin C. Tilghman, Lawrence University: On the Enigmatic Nature of Things in Anglo-Saxon ArtAvailable in PDFWeb

Genevra Kornbluth, Independent Scholar: Active Optics: Carolingian Rock Crystal on Medieval ReliquariesAvailable in PDFWeb

Alexa Sand, Utah State University: Materia Meditandi: Haptic Perception and Some Parisian Ivories of the Virgin and Child, ca. 1300Available in PDFWeb

Beatrice Kitzinger, Stanford University: The Instrumental Cross and the Use of the Gospel Book Troyes, Bibliothèque Municipale MS 960Available in PDFWeb

Anne F. Harris, DePauw University, Of Liturgical Straws and Spiritual Breadboxes: a review of Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011) and Mary Carruthers, The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)Available in PDFWeb