Program. Conference 2023

21st International Symposium 2023: Human and Natural Worlds in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Time: From Ecocriticism to Pre-Modern Anthropology


Date: April 28-29, 2023. Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM each day

Location: University of Arizona, Biological Sciences East (BIOE) 100: 1311 E. 4th St. (when on campus with your back to the tall administration building, walk straight south, past the Henry Koffler Building; next comes a courtyard, and south of it Bio East) and Zoom:

Contact: Prof. Albrecht Classen,, or call 520 621-1395 (in my office, so during the symposium I won’t be able to answer; but you could reach me via FB or Whatsapp).


Online: please enter through the zoom link (no password required):


This is open to anyone, so just enter, but please make sure to mute yourself until you want to speak. You can always raise your hand electronically, or leave a note in the chat. I will then read it out aloud.





Thursday, April 27: 7:00 p.m., Social reunion in the hospitality suite no. 134 in the hotel Ramada by Wyndham Tucson, 777 W. Cushing St, Tucson, Arizona 85745, tel.: +1-520-239-2300

Friday, April 28: 8:15 a.m. meeting in the hotel lobby, we’ll take the Sun Link streetcar to the campus, getting off at Main Gate and walk to our building, Bio Science East, no. 100.

Welcome and Introduction: 9:00-9:15 a.m. Albrecht Classen


9:15-9:45 a.m.: Fidel Fajardo-Acosta, Creighton University, NE: Unnatural Humans: The Misbegotten Monsters of Beowulf


9:50-10:20 a.m.:Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona: Medieval Epistemology and the Perception of Nature: From the Physiologus to John of Garland and the Niederrheinische Orientbericht. Bestiaries and the ‘Book of Nature’


10:20-10:35 a.m.: Coffee break (outside of the building)

10:40-11:10 a.m.: Connie L. Scarborough, Texas Tech University: Island, Grove, Bark and Pith: Nature Metaphors in Teresa de Cartagena (per zoom)


11:15-11:45 a.m.: Marialuisa Caparrini, University of Ferrara (Italy): Natural Environment in the Old English Orosius: Ohthere’s Travel Accounts in Norway (per zoom)


11:50 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: Warren Tormey, English Department, Middle Tennessee State University: Waste, Excess, and Profligacy in Fourteenth Century English Literature 


12:25-1:30 p.m.: Lunch Break, outside of our building

If interested, I’d like to show you a selection of facsimiles and incunabula held by Special Collections, University of Arizona Library, going over at 12:50, hence from 1:00-1:20 p.m. Promptly returning at 1:22 to Bio Science East 100.

1:35-2:05 p.m.: Wendy Pfeffer, University of Louisville (Emerita) and the University of Pennsylvania: When Is a Good Time? Health Advice and the Months of the Year (per zoom)

2:10-2:40 p.m.: Anne Berthelot, University of Connecticut: “La Nature, c’est le Diable!” Nature as Diabolical in Medieval Romances (per zoom)

2:45-3:15 p.m. Daniel F. Pigg, The University of Tennessee at Martin: William Langland’s Piers Plowman and the Natural World: Finding Comfort and Meaning in Nature

3:15-3:30 p.m. Coffee break

3:35-4:05 p.m.: Jane Beal, Dept. of English, University of La Verne, CA: The Natural World: Inspiration and Transformation in the Medieval English Dream Vision, Pearl, and Its Illustrations from British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x (per zoom)

4:10-4:40 p.m. Nicole Archambeau, Colorado State University: Humans Serving Nature: Bee Products and Beekeeping in Piero de Crescenzi’s Ruralia Commoda

4:45-5:15 p.m.: Fabian Alfie, University of Arizona: “A New Flood Was Released from the Heavens”: The Literary Responses to the Disaster of 1333

We then walk over to the west end of the campus: Ca. 5:45 p.m.: Departure with the Sun Link streetcar at Main Gate (University Blvd.) going west, to 4th Ave, near 9th St., to the Boxyard, for dinner (it’s literally a yard with ca. 4 different eateries (Mexican, Italian, Indian, Vietnamese). Please choose your own option, I’ll pay for your meal and non-alcoholic drinks. There is also a bar where you can order your own alcohol [with very good choices]).

Boxyard: 238 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

6:30-7:30 p.m., dinner

7:30 p.m., departure with the Sun Link streetcar back to the hotel (going west, until Cushing Street station)

Ca. 8:00 p.m.: social gathering in suite 134


Saturday, April 29

Meet in the lobby, 8:15 a.m.

Departure with the Sun Link streetcar at 8:20 a.m.

9:00-9:30 a.m.: Chiara Benati, Università di Genova, Italy: The Environmental Causes of the Plague and their Terminology in the German Pestbücher of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

9:35-10:05 a.m.: Birgit Wiedl, Institute for Jewish History in Austria, St. Pölten, Austria: Jewish Viticulture in the Middle Ages

10:10-10:30 a.m.: William Mahan, Oklahoma State: Praising Perchta as Nature’s Cycles Embodied: Worship and Demonization of Perchta in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

10:30-10:45: Coffee break

10:50-11:20 a.m.: John Pizer, Louisiana State University: Imitation vs. Allegorization: Martin Opitz’s Influential Poetic Nature Postulate

11:25-11:55 a.m.: David Tomíček, John Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic: Res naturales, Causes and Nature of Diseases in Czech Medical Literature of the Sixteenth Century


12:00-1:15 p.m. Lunch break, again, catered by Panera Bread, 845 N Park Ave Suite 125 · (520) 882-5003. Outside of our building

1:20-1:50 p.m.: Alyssa Larson, Creighton University, NE: Nature Lost: Milton, Mammon, and the End of Eden (per zoom)

1:55-2:35 p.m.: Nurit Golan, Tel-Aviv University, Israel: Humanity and Nature as perceived by Giulio Romano in his Sala dei Giganti, 1532-1535; Palazzo Té, Mantua, Italy

2:40-3:10 p.m.:Thomas Ballhausen, Salzburg, Austria: On the Non-Human Nature of Sirens: Discourses of the Monstrous in Literary Orders of Nature (per zoom)

3:10-3:30 p.m.: Coffee break

3:35-4:05 p.m.: Filip Hrbek, John Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic: Perception of Quality of Air in the Czech Lands of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

4:10-4:40 p.m.: Thomas Willard, University of Arizona: Johann Arndt’s Book of Nature: Medieval Ideas in the Reformation Era

4:45-5:15 p.m.: Pascale Barthe, University of North Carolina Wilmington: Kashmir: Where Mughal Pastoral Poetry and François Bernier Meet

5:20-6:00 p.m.: Performance by Les Enfans Sans Abri, feat: Sharon King and Curt Steindler, location tba

6:10 p.m. Departure for dinner, we walk to Main Gate (University Avenue) to Sinbad Café (south side, near Starbucks, a little set-in, shady area): 810 E University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85719; Phone(520) 623-4010

6:20-7:30 p.m. Dinner (make your own selection and enjoy it; I cannot pay, however, for alcoholic drinks)

7:45 p.m.: Departure for hotel, with streetcar

8:15-10:15 p.m.: Social gathering in the hospitality suite, business meeting, planning for the volume to be published. Then, good-bye!

Sunday, April 30: free day; I’ll be happy to be there for you and show you around a little, time permitting and availability of seats in my car (max. 3).