ISAS Conference, 2009

Memorial University, Canada

The fourteenth biennial meeting of the Society took place from July 26 to July 31 at Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Canada’s east coast, with ‘The Maritime World of the Anglo-Saxons’ as its special theme. The conference was hosted by Bill Schipper. Approximately 90 ISAS members attended the meeting. Some fifty speakers presented their work. Plenary lectures were given by Martin Carver, Allen J. Frantzen,  and Gale Owen-Crocker. Papers were presented 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 (paper delivered by Carole Hough), 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 delivered on ‘“The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220” AHRC-funded Project’ (Mary Swan and Takako Kato), the ‘Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary’ (Jane Roberts and Carole Hough), and ‘Lexomics for Anglo-Saxon Literature’ (Michael Drout, with Mike Kahn, Mark LeBlanc, and Christina Nelson).

The conference was preceded by a two day workshop on ‘Digital Technology in the Study of Anglo-Saxon England’, conducted by Dan O’Donnell and Martin Foys, and generously funded by the President’s Office of Memorial University (thanks to Dr. Axel Meisen, whose generosity made this possible).  The workshop allowed ten students from places as far afield as Berkeley, New York, and Prague to come to Newfoundland for the conference.

The meeting itself began with a reception at ‘The Rooms’, the spectacular Provincial Museum, Archives and Art Gallery. Two days of sessions were followed by a day of excursions on Wednesday to places around the Avalon Peninsula that included a picnic by the ocean and a wine-tasting, and to the village of Brigus.  Two more days of sessions, including a ‘poster slam’ by the students who had participated in the workshop, ended the conference.

The five-day post-conference excursion took 35 delegates by bus via Terra Nova National Park and Gros Morne National Park to Red Bay, Labrador (site of a sixteenth-century Basque whaling station), then to the Norse settlement discovered in 1959 by Helge Ingstad at L’Anse-aux-Meadows, and back to St. John’s by way of the First Nations archaeological site at Port-aux-Choix and a memorable boat tour on Bonne Bay, near Gros Morne.  The weather was at times cold and rainy, but the frequeant appearance of moose, the presence of dolphins and whales, and the sight of an iceberg in August, not to mention standing on the site of the earliest medieval settlement in North America, made the weather entirely bearable.

John Niles assumed the post of President, succeeding Bill Schipper. Mary Clayton assumes the post of First Vice-President. Mary Swan was elected to a final two-year term as Second Vice-President. Honorary memberships were awarded to Éamonn Ó Carragáin, Martin Carver, Mary Richards, Tom Shippey, Marijane Osborn and Anne Klinck.

Dublin was chosen as the venue for the 2013 conference.