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ISAS 2009: St. John's, Newfoundland


Professor Bill Schipper of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland hosted the Fourteenth Biennial Meeting of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists. The conference took place from July 26-31 at Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, with "The Maritime World of the Anglo Saxons" as its special theme. There were approximately 90 attendees at the conference, with some 50 speakers presenting their work. Keynote addresses were given by Allen J. Frantzen, Martin Carver, and Gale Owen-Crocker. Papers were delivered by Dan Donoghue, Carole Hough, Antonina Harbus, Damian Fleming, Gaby Waxenberger, Bryan Carella, Miranda Wilcox, Peter Dendle, Rosalind Love, Mercedes Salvador-Bello, Tom Bredehoft, Lisa Weston, John Hines, Martin Foys, John Baker, Fabienne Michelet, Johanna Kramer, Phyllis Portnoy, Sarah Larratt Keefer, John Niles, David Pelteret, Juliet Mullins, Robin Norris, Britt Mize, Rebecca Rushforth, Catherine Karkov, Kathryn Powell, Peter Stokes, Donald Scragg, Patrick Conner, Karen Louise Jolly, Matthew Hussey, Jonathan Wilcox, Ian David Riddler, Haruko Momma, Carol Neuman de Vegvar, Carolin Esser, Bruce Gilchrist, and Nicholas P. Brooks. Project reports were presented on "'The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220' AHRC-funded Project" (by Mary Swan and Takako Kato), "Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary" (by Jane Roberts and Carole Hough), and "Lexomics for Anglo-Saxon Literature" (by Michael Drout, with Mike Kahn, Mark LeBlanc, and Christina Nelson).

Prior to the conference, Dan O'Donnell and Martin Foys led a two-day workshop on "Digital Technology in the Study of Anglo-Saxon England," made possible by the generous contributions of the President's Office of Memorial University and Dr. Axel Meisen. This workshop allowed ten graduate students from around the world to come to Newfoundland for the conference. After the workshop, the students presented a special Poster Session which summarized their work.

In addition to the conference sessions, there were also a number of receptions hosted by Memorial University, including a dramatic opening reception at "The Rooms," which is the largest public cultural space in Newfoundland and Labrador and unites the Provincial Museum, Archives, and Art Gallery. A conference dinner theater, including a performance by "The Spirit of Newfoundland," was held in the former Masonic Temple. There was also an exhibition of materials associated with L'Anse-aux-Meadows, the first documented settlement of the Norse in North-America, and with Anglo-Saxon England prepared under the direction of Patrick Warner, Director of the Center for Newfoundland Studies and Curator of the Rare Book Collection, the Queen Elizabeth II Library.

In between the conference sessions, excursions around the Avalon Peninsula were organized, including a trip to the village of Brigus, an ocean-side picnic, and a wine-tasting. The conference was concluded with two additional days of sessions, and a "poster slam" by the students from the "Digital Technology" workshop.

Following the conference, a five-day excursion took a busload of delegates through Terra Nova National Park and Gros Morne National Park on the way to Red Bay, Labrador (the site of a sixteenth-century Basque whaling station), then on to the Norse settlement discovered in 1959 by Helge Ingstad at L'Anse-aux-Meadows. The return to St. John's was made by way of the First Nations archaeological site at Port-aux-Choix, and a memorable boat tour on Bonne Bay, near Gros Morne. In addition to the historical spectacle of L'Anse-aux-Meadows, there were numerous sightings of natural wonders, including moose, dolphins, whales, and (unusually for August) an iceberg.


Official Business

Below are included the proceedings of the General Business Meeting, held at Memorial University on July 31, 2009 and presided over by President William Schipper.

The President reported the following on behalf of the Executive Committee:

  • That the Fifteenth Biennial Conference of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and will be hosted by John D. Niles. Its special theme will be "Anglo-Saxon England and the Visual Imagination." For more information on this conference, please visit http://conferencing.uwex.edu/conferences/isas2011/index.cfm.
  • That the Sixteenth Biennial Conference of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists will be held at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, and will be hosted by Mary Clayton.
  • That gratitude be expressed to all those who helped to make the conference a success.

The Executive Director reported the following on behalf of the Executive Committee:

  • That membership dues and the associated interest generated revenues of $11,101.10, and that total assets as of June 10, 2009 were $45,514.68. Out of this total amount, $24,628.71 were retained in mutual funds.
  • That in accordance with the Society's constitution, William Schipper completed his term as President on December 31, 2009, and was succeeded by John D. Niles. Mary Clayton assumes the post of First Vice-President. The term of Second Vice-President will be extended for two years, with Mary Swan continuing on until December 31, 2011.
  • That the terms of office for the following members of the Advisory Board have expired as of December 31, 2009: Susan Irvine, Leslie Webster, and Barbara Yorke.
  • That the Honorary Membership includes Nicholas Brooks, George Hardin Brown, Peter Clemoes, Margaret Clunies-Ross, Rosemary Cramp, André Crépin, René Derolez, Alger N. Doane, Helmut Gneuss, Joyce Hill, Edward B. Irving Jr., Kevin Kiernan, Matti Kilpiö, Tadao Kubouchi, Michael Lapidge, Henry Loyn, Bruce Mitchell, Sigeru Ono, Richard Pfaff, John Pope, Barbara Raw, Matti Rissanen, Jane Roberts, Fred C. Robinson, Ute Schwab, Donald G. Scragg, Joseph B. Trahern, and Leslie Webster. éamonn Ó Carragáin, Martin Carver, Mary Richards, Tom Shippey, Marijane Osborn and Anne Klinck were awarded honorary membership.

  • That the Advisory Board has established procedures for the publication of themed volumes arising substantially from ISAS conferences. The first, edited by Matti Kilpiö, based on the 2001 Conference at the University of Helsinki, is to be published shortly. The second, edited by Nicholas Howe and Catherine Karkov and published in 2006, is based on the 2003 Conference at Arizona State University. The third, edited by Hans Sauer and Joanna Story, is based on the 2005 conference at Munich, and first proofs were on display at the 2009 ISAS Meeting. The fourth, edited by Jane Roberts and Lesley Webster, and based on the 2007 conference, is in preparation. The fifth, to be based on the St John's conference, is to be edited by Stacy Klein, Shannon Lewis-Simpson, and William Schipper. The Executive Committee will oversee and monitor the production of the volumes. The membership package includes the ISAS publication based on, and emerging substantially from, the conferences, with the exception of the first volume.

  • That the ISAS Publication Prizes, 2009 panel, consisting of Thomas N. Hall (chair), Scott DiGregorio, and Stacy Klein announced the following winners of Publication Prizes:

— Best First Book: David Pratt, The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great (Cambridge UP, 2007).

— Best Edition/Translation: shared by R.D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, Klaeber's Beowulf, Fourth Edition (University of Toronto Press, 2008); and Michael Lapidge, Byrhtferth of Ramsey: Lives of St. Oswald and St. Ecgwine (Oxford UP, 2008).

— Best Article: shared by Craig Davis, "An Ethnic Dating of Beowulf," Anglo-Saxon England 35 (2006): 111-29, and Emily Thornbury, "Aldhelm's Rejection of the Muses," Anglo-Saxon England 36 (2007): 71-92.

  • That the Executive Director reports on behalf of the Executive Committee the thanks of all participants for a very successful conference.


Registration and Membership Dues

Registration forms for the Fifteenth Biennial International Society of Anglo-Saxonists conference to be organized by and held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be provided electronically to all paid-in-full members of the Society. Membership dues for two years may be made by check or money order for $50.00 or £30.00 sterling (for regular members) or $35.00 or £20.00 (for students or retired members), or $100.00 or £60.00 sterling (for regular members) or $70.00 or £40.00 (for students and retired members).

Membership dues should be sent to

Prof. Stacy S. Klein

Executive Director, ISAS

Dept. of English

Rutgers University

510 George Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1167 USA

e-mail: ssklein@rci.rutgers.edu

Payments may be made to the Executive Director by Visa, MasterCard, or personal check. Members outside the US wishing to make transfers in sterling may do so via the ISAS account, HSBC Bank plc, City Office Cambridge Branch, Cambridge, CB2 3HZ; sort code 40-16-08, account no. 21241605. Payment forms are available from the Executive Director and from the ISAS website (http://www.isas.us/mem.html).

ISAS 2009 Group Photo

Bill Schipper and John D. Niles