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Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale [CESCM]locked

  • Stephanie Luther

Updated in this version

updated and revised, 28 July 2014

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, a quarterly journal of articles and book reviews. Cahiers focuses on the 10th to the 12th centuries with an emphasis on history, art, and literature, and it frequently publishes work translated from various languages into French. Colloquia proceedings are published in the series Civilisation Médiévale.

Research facilities at CESCM include reference and research libraries and an extensive image collection. Begun in 1955, the image collection was an essential part of the foundation of CESCM, and now includes over 150,000 images of Romanesque architecture, sculpture, wall painting, manuscript illumination, metalwork, and stained glass. The collection is accessible online via the search engine Romane. CESCM also maintains a collection of photographs and records of medieval French inscriptions from the 8th century to 1500. CESCM participates in the projects Transmédie, a compilation all ancient texts that were translated into French from the 10th to the 15th centuries, and Biblifre, a definitive bibliography of French literature.

Bibliography