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Lecture: 'How Medieval People Touched their Books'

Friday, 28 February, 2020

The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies will host a lecture, “How Medieval People Touched their Books,” by Kathryn Rudy, Ph.D., professor at the School of Art History at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom on Friday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m., in Room 142, Adorjan Hall.

A reception will follow the lecture.

About the Speaker

Kathryn “Kate” Rudy earned her doctorate in art history from Columbia University, and also holds a licentiate in Mediaeval Studies from the University of Toronto.

She has held research, teaching and curatorial positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands and Belgium.

Her research concentrates on the reception and original function of manuscripts, especially those manufactured in the Low Countries, and she has pioneered the use of the densitometer to measure the grime that original readers deposited in their books. She is currently developing ways to track and measure user response of late medieval manuscripts.

Rudy is the author of six books, including Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print (Open Book Publishers, 2019); Rubrics, Images and Indulgences in Late Medieval Netherlandish Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 2017); Piety in Pieces: How Medieval Readers Customized Their Manuscripts (Open Book Publishers, 2016); and Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books (Yale University Press, 2015). 

From 2017 to 2018, she held a Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship to write a book about physical interactions with the manuscript in late Medieval England.

Between 2018 and 2019, she was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam to complete a book about manuscript production in Delft.

She will hold a Leverhulme Major Research Grant through 2022 for a study titled “Measuring medieval users’ responses to manuscripts: New technological approaches.”

She has held grants from, among others, the British Academy, the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Getty Research Institute, and the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy in 2019. In 2019, she also won the Sir Walter Scott Prize for humanities and social sciences in Scotland.