As I reported yesterday, I attended just two sessions.
The first session I attended, on Friday afternoon, was on "Old and New Classics." It was a continuation of similarly-themed sessions at previous AHAs. I had attended the one last year, I think it was, which had a huge crowd. By comparison, attendance at this one seemed a little sparse. Still, the conversation was fairly lively. Each member of the panel proposed a classic work of medieval history (admittedly two of them dealt with a classic theme, instead). Daniel Bornstein's classic was Robert Brentano's Two Churches, and he raised the possibility that a classic may forestall rather than inspire imitation. Ruth Mazo Karras discussed classics of medieval women's history, focusing on the essay collection Women in Medieval Society edited by Susan Mosher Stuard. Carol Lansing instead talked about integrating heresy into broader histories, discussing Herbert Grundmann and Lester Little's work, among others; John Van Engen focused on Haskins's Renaissance of the Twelfth Century and how the idea has become a fairly standard part of most medievalists' thinking. Session chair Dan Smail--making a last-minute entrance--said he'd like to see a future session focusing on classic articles rather than monographs, which seems a worthy idea.
The discussion was wide-ranging enough that I won't attempt to convey my sketchy notes: it included specific responses to all of the speakers, as well as a broader conversation about undergraduate and graduate teaching. I hope this series of sessions continues; I think it has sparked some very interesting conversations, especially useful for younger medievalists. Since I work on neither England nor Italy, I wasn't familiar with Brentano's book, for example, but it sounds well worth a look.