Feyza Sacmali (Marmara University) attended the IMC for the first time last year. She spoke to us about her experiences at the Congress and plans for the future.
I specialize in Christianity and history of religions in general, and medieval Christian heresies in particular, as well as focusing on the 12th and 13th-century Languedoc and the theological and political dissent of the Cathars. I am trying to understand the underlying motives of the two groups, mainly so-called heretics and the Catholic Church.
It is such a brilliant idea to bring together scholars studying the Middle Ages with such an outstanding degree of organization, as doing so provides an invaluable scholarly network. Having over 600 sessions and hosting more than 60 countries, the IMC is an excellent opportunity to provide this.
As for my personal experiences, I felt the aura of the medieval period, observing and interacting with people wearing medieval dress and carrying equipment that had been used during these times, while participating in various activities. I was very impressed with the degree of organization, and very thoughtful added details. Moreover, the book fair was an incredibly enjoyable event.
I read a statement in a PhD thesis: “This thesis would be improved with a couple of presentations.” I wholeheartedly agree with this idea. One can measure and enhance one’s study in the light of the reactions and the questions of the audiences. I had really polite audience who made really good contributions to my study. At the IMC, not only have I had the opportunity to present to an audience, I have also had the opportunity to discuss my paper with the experts in my field.
I spoke about my thesis with some very well-known heresiologists. Our session moderator was David Thomas, who has made important contributions to my paper. Finally, but certainly not least, Professor Andrew Roach, my former supervisor at the University of Glasgow, honored me when he listened to my paper and encouraged me to join in at the IMC, while also making great contributions to my PhD studies.
Next time I will probably present another paper, and I will have the opportunity to measure my paper with amenable audiences. They will give me the reactions and questions that I need, and I will enhance my paper so maybe I can make it into an article in future. The experts have given me good advice and it really helped.