Calls for Papers

 

This page includes postings of calls for papers that are sent to the School and that may be of special interest to our Faculty and Members.

55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: "Fictionality and Belief in Middle English Writing"
Coleridge's famous phrase "the willing suspension of disbelief" implies that disbelief (i.e., secularity) is a precondition of fictionality. That argument is made explicitly in Catherine Gallagher's well-known article "The Rise of Fictionality"—but it is also often assumed in medieval studies, as fictionality is localized in secular romance and rarely considered in devotional contexts. Where do fictional writing and sincere belief meet, and how do they interact? This panel welcomes papers that investigate the relationship between fictionality and belief from any angle, but which might respond to one or several of the following questions: How are fictionality and religious devotion concatenated together in Middle English writing (e.g., in passion meditations, mystery and miracle plays, Piers Plowman)? How can we distinguish between invention and revelation, artful creation and receptive witness, in dream-visions and visionary writings? How do medieval audiences play with belief and take admittedly fictive claims seriously? And how do the different epistemic demands of fiction and devotion generate friction within particular texts and contexts? This is intended primarily as a Middle English panel, but if you work on similar issues in other times and places of the Middle Ages, we are happy to consider your submission.

Note on the selection process: The Harvard Medieval English Colloquium will sponsor two panels this coming May at the 55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. Each of the panels has a "featured speaker": Julie Orlemanski has agreed to give a paper on "Fictionality and Belief in Middle English Writing," and Martin Foys has agreed to give a paper on “Encountering the Strange in Early Medieval England.” A committee will choose three other panelists for each session by a process of blind review of the abstract submissions. The hope is that the blind review process would provide an unbiased chance for junior faculty, graduate students, and adjuncts to "break in" on a well-attended panel. The panels thus have a double purpose: first, to start a conversation between senior faculty and those whom academic conferences often leave underexposed, and second, to provide a space for dialogue between academics at widely differing stages of the career.

Please submit a one-page abstract and PIF (available at https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/ submissions) to Kathryn Mogk (kmogk@g.harvard.edu) by September 15.

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55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: “Encountering the Strange in Early Medieval England"
From Bede’s accounts of Britain’s originary myths to current scholarly and popular engagements with the Anglo-Saxon past, to encounter early medieval England is to depict or enact strangeness.

Taking Sarah Ahmed’s work on embodied strangeness, queer phenomenology, race, and related approaches as a source of inspiration, this panel welcomes papers that consider the strange in early medieval England.  Ahmed’s work on embodied others, for example, leverages feminist theory and postcolonialism to posit the stranger as an embodied, discursive creation formed not as a manifestation of the distant and unfamiliar, but rather an extension of the self. Similarly, Ahmed’s queer phenomenology productively re-conceptualizes phenomenology as a means of considering the orientation of the body to ideas and objects.  Proposed papers may consider the panel’s theme from any angle, including but not limited to such frameworks as: how cultural and/or social alterity manifests in Anglo-Saxon literature; how early medieval English subjects conceptualize the strange and/or the stranger; the function of strangeness in scholarly method, form, and object; the defamiliar of digitized Old English materials, or the aesthetics of estrangement as a poetic conceit, among others. Following the spirit of Ahmed’s work, paper proposals on race in early medieval England would be particularly welcome and salient.

Note on the selection process: The Harvard Medieval English Colloquium will sponsor two panels this coming May at the 55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. Each of the panels has a "featured speaker": Julie Orlemanski has agreed to give a paper on "Fictionality and Belief in Middle English Writing," and Martin Foys has agreed to give a paper on “Encountering the Strange in Early Medieval England.” A committee will choose three other panelists for each session by a process of blind review of the abstract submissions. The hope is that the blind review process would provide an unbiased chance for junior faculty, graduate students, and adjuncts to "break in" on a well-attended panel. The panels thus have a double purpose: first, to start a conversation between senior faculty and those whom academic conferences often leave underexposed, and second, to provide a space for dialogue between academics at widely differing stages of the career.

Please submit a one-page abstract and PIF (available at https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to Joseph Shack (josephshack@g.harvard.edu) by September 15.

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55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: "Prologues in Learned Texts of Medieval Magic"
Although the prologues of learned books of magic could take many forms, nearly all share at least one common characteristic: the claim to transmit a secret and pristine branch of knowledge. Such claims are frequently couched in the form of a narrative describing how this secret knowledge was originally revealed. Many employ the same actors (Hermes Trismegistus, King Solomon, Aristotle), the same objects (a tablet or disk made of precious material and inscribed with divine wisdom), and the same locations (a hidden cavern or lost pagan temple). These narratives helped to establish the authority of their texts, broadcast their affiliation with specific discourses, and signal how they should be read. Moreover, the prologues served to highlight the erudition of their authors through the use of classical and biblical references and often sophisticated word-play.

The aim of this session is to explore these still largely understudied prologues which testify to the variety of medieval approaches to “magic”. What do these prologues have to tell us about the institutional, cultural, and political milieux in which they were produced? How do certain recurring mythemes found in these prologues stand in relation to the various magical and divinatory arts, specifically those classified as natural or demonic? And to which philosophical, mystical, or religious beliefs do they appeal in order to justify the magical practices that they introduce?

Other potential topics relating to magical prologues include, but are not limited to: the rhetoric of authority and the relation between power and secret knowledge; the intersection of diverse intellectual traditions; the continuity and reception of the Classical Tradition; the appropriation of Jewish and Arabic traditions; the relation between the tropes and mythemes found in magical prologues and those in other literary genres, such as prophecies and romances; the assimilation of philosophical and medical texts; the use of the Bible and biblical traditions; philological and text-critical studies of magical prologues. Please submit abstracts no later than 15 September 2019. Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence: http://manuscriptevidence.org/wpme/2020-international-congress-on-medieval-studies-call-for-papers/

Contact: Vajra Regan: vajra.regan@mail.utoronto.ca

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55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: "Race before Raza in Medieval Iberian Studies I–II"
CFP for Kalamazoo 2020: "Race before Raza in Medieval Iberian Studies I–II," co-sponsored by the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain (AARHMS) and the Texas Medieval Association (TEMA)

Modern assumptions about race and identity have shaped scholarship on the Middle Ages since such work began. Few fields of study make this more evident than medieval Iberia, where centuries of interaction among diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural communities offer up a tempting canvas for the projection of modern paradigms and ideologies. Although when judiciously applied, such models can provide a fresh lens through which to consider problems obscured by time and cultural distance, when employed carelessly or unconsciously they can badly distort our image of the medieval Iberian past.

Our sessions invite papers that explore how post-medieval discourse about race and identity has intersected—or could intersect—with modern understanding of the history and culture of the medieval Iberian peninsula. Submissions might consider such topics as the efficacy of applying modern concepts and terms to the study of medieval problems; the impact of unconscious or unspoken modern paradigms in evaluating medieval evidence; promising methodological strategies in study of the past; and the uses and misuses of medieval Iberian history in public and political discourse. Both illustrative case studies and scholarly position papers will be considered. We welcome speakers from a diversity of disciplines, perspectives, and backgrounds, and encourage submissions from emerging and independent scholars: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call

(Please send to the contact listed and copy ppatton@princeton.edu)

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55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: “Treating Animals: Veterinary Science in the Middle Ages"
Medieval animal studies has tended to privilege literary and encyclopedic texts, viewing animals within Aristotelian hierarchies of rationality, while research on animals in medieval medicine has focused on their use as ingredients, rather than their potential status as patients. There have been few discussions of animals and humans in relationships of care, or of animals as the recipients of medical treatment. In this panel, we seek to expand these conversations by centering veterinary medicine, including treatment manuals (e.g., hawking handbooks), literary representations of veterinary practices (e.g., romance heroes caring for horses), and other genres that concern the (un)ethical, (il)legal, or (im)proper treatment, training, or keeping of animals. In light of the ongoing Anthropocene extinction, we believe that medieval veterinary texts and allied genres can contribute to the urgent philosophical project of decentering the human, enabling us to describe relationships of mutual benefit between humans and animals in this period, and to cultivate more ethical perspectives today.

We welcome 15- to 20-minute papers on this topic from any discipline, including the Environmental Humanities (e.g., ecocriticism, ecofeminism, studies of human-animal relationships), Medical Humanities (e.g., history of medicine, disability studies, medical readings of non-medical texts), and legal and religio-philosophical studies of animal care. We are particularly interested in papers that engage with historical scientific discourses, alone or in combination with literary or historical discourses. We welcome papers that focus on any pre-modern period – from late Antiquity through the Early Modern period – and any geographical region – from Britain to Central Asia, from Iceland to Northern Africa. Comparative and cross-disciplinary approaches are most welcome.

Please send abstracts (200-300 words) and the Participant Information Form (available at https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions), to Bethany Christiansen (christiansen.35@buckeyemail.osu.edu) or Aylin Malcolm (malcolma@sas.upenn.edu) by September 15th, 2019. Preliminary queries and expressions of interest are welcome.

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55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: "Medieval Proverbs: Exchanges, Clashes, and Transactions"

 

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55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: Politics of Migration: Mobility in the Middle Ages