The Catholic University of America

Nov. 8, 2007

Retiring CUA History Professor Honored with Conference of International Scholars

History Professor Uta-Renate Blumenthal Has Served CUA for 28 Years

Uta-Renate Blumenthal

Assembling a number of highly respected international scholars for an academic conference can often be a daunting task, but when the CUA Department of History told invitees the day would honor history professor and medieval scholar Uta-Renate Blumenthal, they were only too happy to participate.

"Law and Society in the Middle Ages: A Conference in Honor of Uta-Renate Blumenthal" will feature eight scholars in a day of lectures Friday, Nov. 9, at Caldwell Hall's Monsignor Stephen J. Happel Room. The conference is devoted to the scholarly teachings of Blumenthal, who will retire in December after 28 years of service to the university.

"Most of the senior scholars we invited are not only colleagues, but also good friends of Dr. Blumenthal," says Kate Jansen, associate professor of history. "And the attending junior scholars talked about how honored they were to be included, because her scholarship has been such a part of their studies."

There are several ways a university or department can honor a long-serving faculty member at retirement. Sometimes colleagues will gift the departing scholar with a "festschrift," a collection of original essays by colleagues and former doctoral students. But when it came time to honor Blumenthal, a fixture in the history department since 1979, her CUA colleagues felt a conference would be a more festive way to celebrate not only Blumenthal, but also the university's commitment to medieval history and studies.

"I feel very honored and I'm especially grateful to my colleagues who set this up," says Blumenthal. "I'm really looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues and hearing what they have to say about my research, from a scholarly point of view."

The full-day conference will offer four sessions, with lectures by a range of international scholars touching on several areas of expertise to Blumenthal, including medieval history, papacy and empire, and Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian history. The featured sessions are "Law and Society in the Early Middle Ages," "Compilations and Papal Letters in the Eleventh Century," "The Age of Pope Pascal II" and "Gregory VII." The final session will include a lecture titled "Uta-Renate Blumenthal and Pope Gregory VII."

Uta-Renate Blumenthal and Pope Gregory VII?

"Dr. Blumenthal is one of the greatest international authors on the Gregorian Reform Movement," notes Jansen. "That's why it's very easy for an eminent scholar such as University of Munich's Peter Landau to give a talk with that title without blinking an eye. It is very much as a scholar that we celebrate her."

And as a perennial scholar, Blumenthal has no plans to put aside her research after she leaves CUA. Far from it, the medieval scholar is eager to begin work on several subjects she's wanted to pursue since she finished graduate school in 1973. She will work on a major paper on Roman law, to be presented at a conference in Budapest in 2008.

The conference is free and open to the public, but space is limited. For additional information, call 202-319-5484.


The Medieval and Byzantine Studies Program was organized in 1969 as an interdisciplinary program with 31 faculty drawn from the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Canon Law, Theology and Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Music. Students are offered a wide range of courses, with requirements in Latin, medieval history, philosophy and theology, and an extensive range of electives in the participating schools and departments.