Category Archives: conference

CFP Numbers and the Self

Proposals are invited for the symposium Numbers and the Self, to be held Friday 1 May 2020 at the University of Adelaide, South Australia.

Keynote: Deborah Lupton, UNSW

In 1846, the Danish philosopher and social critic Søren Kierkegaard reflected on The Present Age in Europe, where the passions of revolution had been dissolved into measuring systems and ‘everyone is given clever rules and calculators in order to aid one’s thinking’. This ‘quantifying siren song’, as Kierkegaard described it, was alluring in its seeming production of equality for a modern age –it produced a levelling of society, as the individual was collapsed into data. But for him, it came with a loss of ‘passion’, a stagnation in innovation, and an inability to enable significant social, economic or political change. Kierkegaard’s critique resonates with those of contemporary neoliberal regimes and the focus on ‘metrics’ and ‘counting’ as a useful measure of the human and its capacity. Recently, sociologists have also pointed to the ‘quantified self’, new ways of interpreting the human condition produced in relation to self-tracking technologies and metrics. Numbers increasingly surround us and make us, leading us to ask that if writing produces the self – what happens when we count it?

This symposium, funded by an ARC Discovery Project ‘Precarious Accounts’, explores the relationship between numbers and the self as a critical question in the era of big data. Much of contemporary science and social science rests on our reliance that there is a relationship between the human and the number – that our bodies, behaviours and actions, if conceptualised well, can be turned into statistics and used to predict and explain. Because of this numbers can bring us comfort and relief, as well as anxiety and fear. Numbers discipline, with both positive and negative results. They produce certain types of meaning that shapes our social environment. Yet, as Foucault reminded us, numbers never record neutral facts but enable systems of power. This workshop engages with these issues. Topics for discussion may include:

  • Numbers as discipline
  • Numbers and embodiment
  • Numbers and emotions – from anxiety to joy
  • Numbers and self-expression, art and creative practices
  • Numbers as a philosophy of self
  • Measuring the abstract and intangible
  • Numbers, self and society – changing the world?

Proposals for papers, panels or creative responses to this topic are now called for.

Please send a 250-300 word abstract of what is proposed, the time needed, and short bios of the participants to Katie Barclay at katie.barclay@adelaide.edu.au by 15 November 2019. All disciplinary perspectives and career stages welcome.

Western Civilisation in the 21st Century, Adelaide, 20-21 Feb. 2020

On 15 March 2019, a self-confessed white supremacist, now standing trial for terrorism and murder, is alleged to have walked into two Christchurch mosques and killed 51 people. The weapons and body armour employed in the attack contained the dates of several events in Crusading history; the manifesto of the alleged perpetrator placed his actions in an imaginary war of east-west, ongoing for a millennium. Ideas of ‘western civilisation’ implicitly situated against ‘other’ civilisations, or perhaps an absence of civilisation altogether, can be argued to have underpinned this attack. The concept of Western Civilisation, with various definitions, thus continues to be prominent in the public sphere. For some, such as the Ramsay Centre which promotes a degree in Western Civilisation, the idea continues to have social and political utility, reflecting a coherent body of knowledge, and their associated values, not least the ‘liberal’ tradition of western democracy. For others, this interpretation of European history can elide the almost continual global encounters and exchange of information that occurred, whilst denying the political uses of ‘western civilisation’ as a discourse of colonialism and imperialism.

This symposium provides a moment to reflect on the concept of Western Civilisation today, not just as a topic of historical interest but an idea that continues to hold a significant political function. What role do the histories that we write and teach play in the production of discourses of ‘western civilisation’ or resistance to it? What role do historians have in shaping ideas about the past in the present? And what responsibility do we have towards ‘western civilisation’ as a discourse? What is the future of ‘Western Civilisation’, both as taught in universities and in the public sphere?

The symposium will be held at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, 20-21 February 2020.

Expressions of interest are now invited that speak to this theme from any discipline, time period or place, and any political perspective. We have a limited number of slots but are interested in proposals for 90-minute panels, roundtables or other creative contributions. We also welcome individual expressions of interest. We encourage submissions from Indigenous people, people of colour, queer people and members of other traditionally marginalised communities. Proposals are welcome from those at all career stages.

Please send expressions of interest to westernciv2020@gmail.com by 18 October 2019.

Postgraduate and ECR attendees will be eligible to apply for travel bursaries to present at the conference. Details of the application process will be provided soon via the conference website, but please indicate with your EoI submission if you intend to apply for this funding support.

For more information, see https://westernciv2020.wordpress.com/.

Supported by ANZAMEMS, the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

Organisers: Katie Barclay, Louise D’Arcens, Clem MacIntyre, Lachlan McCarron, Amanda McVitty, Wilf Prest, Peter Sherlock, Stephanie Thomson, and Claire Walker.

CFP Canadian Society of Medievalists Annual Meeting

Proposals are invited for The Canadian Society of Medievalists Annual Meeting at Congress 2020, to be held 1-3 June 2020 at University of Western Ontario.

Papers for the CSM Annual Meeting can address any topic on medieval studies. Proposals for sessions of three papers are also invited. Presentations may be in either English or French. Bilingual sessions are particularly welcome.

Proposals should include a one-page abstract and a one-page curriculum vitae. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes’ reading time. Proposals for complete sessions should include this information in addition to a title and a brief explanation of the session and its format. Please indicate if the proposed session would be suitable as a joint session with another learned society. See https://www.congress2020.ca/.

Please submit proposals for individual papers by 15 December, 2019 and proposals for sessions by 15 January, 2020 by email to Kathy Cawsey, either by regular email (kathy.cawsey@dal.ca) or via our website’s email system (www.canadianmedievalists.org). You must be a member of the CSM by the time of your presentation.

Les communications à ce congrès annuel de la SCM peuvent traiter de tout sujet relatif aux études médiévales. L’invitation est également lancée pour des propositions de sessions comprenant trois communications. Les communications peuvent être données en français ou en anglais. Les sessions bilingues sont particulièrement bienvenues.

Les propositions de communications devront inclure un résumé et un curriculum vitae d’une page chacun. La durée de lecture maximale des communications devra être de 20 minutes. Les propositions de sessions devront inclure, outre les informations ci-dessus, un titre et une courte explication du contenu de la session et de son format. Veuillez indiquer si la session proposée pourrait être organisée conjointement avec une autre société savante (https://www.congress2020.ca/).

Veuillez soumettre vos propositions au plus tard le 15 décembre 2019 pour des communications individuelles et le 15 janvier 2020 pour des sessions, par courriel à Kathy Cawsey (kathy.cawsey@dal.ca) ou par le formulaire de contact de notre site, www.canadianmedievalists.org. Vous devrez être un membre en règle de la SCM au moment de votre communication.

CFP Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gendered Landscapes, IMC Leeds 2020

The organisers invite paper proposals for the 2020 Leeds International Congress Leeds on the theme of ‘Beyond ‘Virgin’ Lands: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gendered Landscapes’.

Interactions with the medieval landscape often appear as innately masculine. From Brutus’ foundation of the eponymous Britain to patrilineages derived from castle names to metaphorically feminine (virginal and untamed) lands awaiting male domination. Yet, as recent research shows, the apparent prevalence of these ‘fantasies’ in medieval sources is due in part to modern assumptions. In fact, historical women built castles and were patrons of monasteries, the legendary Syrian princess Albina gave her name to Albion before Brutus ever landed, female saints impressed their footprints permanently into rock and the menstrual blood of Queen Medh carved furrows into the Irish landscape. In symbolic, nominal, architectural, horticultural and legal ways, to name a few, medieval women shaped, curated and cared for the medieval landscape. Then as now, the landscape is a cultural construct: the ways we understand it have much to do with the gendered preconceptions and approaches we bring to our study and the sources and interactions we privilege.

These interdisciplinary panel(s) will explore the ways women, other gendered identities and non-human agents, both historical and representational, took control of and shaped geographical landscapes at a variety of scales. We are particularly interested in papers that move beyond artificial borders between male/female, nature/culture, domestic/political and other oppositional understandings. Questions may include but are not limited to:

  •  How did women’s political, communal and private interests influence the ways medieval
    people understood their contemporary landscapes? To what extent did legends and
    landmarks left by women shape future notions of the land’s identity?
  • In what ways did women’s devotional practices draw on landscapes at both micro and
    macro levels? What haptic, emotional, affective experiences can we understand from
    today?
  • What impact do masculine and paternalistic narratives have within the current
    discourses on medieval landscapes, particularly in heritage studies?
  • What can we as scholars do to understand the diversity of class, gender, religious, racial
    and cultural positions always at play within the medieval landscape? How does eco-
    criticism and new materialism help in this study?

We hope these will be truly interdisciplinary discussions and welcome papers from all fields, including anthropology, archaeology, heritage studies, history, art history, literature and religion on any medieval period and geographical region.

Please submit an abstract of 150-200 words to Emma Bérat emmaberat84@gmail.com and Karen Dempsey k.dempsey@reading.ac.uk by 15 September 2019.

 

CFP Queens on the Threshold, IMC Leeds 2020

The organisers invite paper proposals for panels at the 2020 Leeds International Medieval Congress on the theme ‘Queens on the Threshold’.

Often, we see medieval queens in movement: between families, between lands, between status, between the lines.
This strand seeks to think with and through the theme of ‘borders’, to consider how medieval queenship (understood in broad terms) operates and is set in motion by queens themselves and those around them. We hope this strand will engage with the multiple movements of queens in texts, images, and artefacts.

We welcome submissions from all periods and geographical areas.

Potential topics include but not are limited to:

  • liminal events (inauguration ceremonies, weddings, funerals, succession crises);
  • physical and geographical crossing of limits (international alliances, networks of communication and gift-exchange);
  • visual signs of ‘foreignness’ (heraldry, fashion, religious symbols);
  • failed crossings (unsuccessful marriage agreements, repudiation or divorce, early death);
    unstable personas or models (the virago, the concubine).

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (.pdf or .docx preferred) and short bio to Florence H. R. Scott and Juliana Amorim Goskes (queenlythreshold@gmail.com) by 15 September, 2019. Questions can also be addressed to the same e-mail.

CFP Writing Identity in Liminal Spaces, IMC Leeds 2020

The Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol, and the Medieval and Early Modern Centre, University of Sydney, will be sponsoring a series of three panels at IMC Leeds 2020.

The aim of the panels is to explore aspects of identity in multilingual and multicultural border zones, and how border identities are imagined and represented in different literary and historical genres of medieval writing. Each panel will focus on a key genre in which formations of identity in border contexts are central to the textual strategies of the genre. A wide range of critical approaches is encouraged, including, but not limited to, eco-criticism, cultural geography, gender theory, book history, historiography, literary criticism, linguistics, postcolonial theory.

We welcome submissions for 20-minute papers from all disciplines, and relating to all languages/nations of the medieval world. Proposals from postgraduates and early-career scholars are particularly welcome.

Abstracts of up to 200 words can be sent to: Helen Fulton (helen.fulton@bristol.ac.uk) or Jan Shaw (jan.shaw@sydney.edu.au) by Monday 9 September 2019. Please include your name and full contact details, including institutional address, and any AV equipment you are likely to need.

Download the full Call for Papers below.

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CFP Writing Health from the Eighteenth Century to the Twenty-First

Proposals are invited for the conference “Writing Health from the Eighteenth Century to the
Twenty-First” to be held 3-5 June 2020, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Northumbria University, in connection with a three-year Leverhulme Trust-funded major project, is organising a two-day conference focusing on writing by and about doctors and other health practitioners, encompassing everything from physicians and apothecaries to midwives and cunning women. The aim of the conference is to give scholars the opportunity to explore the phenomenon of writing doctors and its wide social effects, whether it be representations of medical practitioners in literature and art, or creative works written by medical people. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject invites work on cultural, economic and gender history, as well as literary, visual and performing arts.

  • Plenary Speakers
    Michelle Faubert, Associate Professor of English, University of Manitoba and Visiting Fellow, Northumbria University
  • Pratik Chakrabarti, Professor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester
  • Tita Chico, Professor of English, University of Maryland

The movement of medical writing from Latin to English in the Early Modern era opened up knowledge previously monopolised by an elite readership. Medical practitioners of both genders recognised the potential to build up their brand by catering to a burgeoning market of eager new readers. Publishers and booksellers capitalised on increased literary rates and greater purchasing powers amongst the public to produce ever-growing quantities of scientific texts – further fuelling public fascination with health and wellbeing, especially that of women. Practitioners, in entering this marketplace, were laid increasingly open to public ownership, as a personality behind the prose, either for better or worse. The full social, economic and political implications of this radical shift in the dissemination of information in the medical field have only just begun to be uncovered by scholars. This conference aims to open up discussion regarding all elements of this topic ca. 1660 to the present day.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Representation of, and writing by, medical practitioners in literary, visual and performing arts
  • Medical self-fashioning
  • The role of gender in medicine (e.g. female apothecaries, midwives, cunning women, etc.)
  • Definitions of medical writing and the role of genre
  • European, Trans-Atlantic, Asian, and colonial medicine
  • Satire – in all its forms – directed at medical practice, both lay and professional, including by medical people themselves
  • Discourse and correspondence between practitioners, and practitioners and their patients
  • The nature of medical publishing

We welcome proposals from researchers across a range of disciplines and stages of career, including early career and student scholars. Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a short biography, to writingdocs18@gmail.com by 15 November 2019. Papers will be invited on a wide variety of relevant topics from within the period. A selection of revised papers is expected to be published as part of the project outputs.

CFP Gender in Global Medieval Mysticism

Proposals are invited for the conference “Gender in Global Medieval Mysticism”, to be held 20-21 March 2020, Ashoka University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Liz Herbert McAvoy, Swansea University
  • Professor Sa’diyya Shaikh, University of Cape Town

The French theorist Luce Irigaray has called mysticism “the only place in the history of the West in which woman speaks and acts so publicly.” This capacity of mysticism to disrupt gender norms and established hierarchies — theological and political — by giving women a public voice extends across geographic regions. In a wide array of religious traditions– Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam–pre-modern women established private relationships with the divine. In doing so, they evaded patriarchal spiritual monopolies and laid claim to their own spiritual authority. Mysticism, a spiritual experience often associated with the private and the intimate, thus emerges as a gendered political mode.

While medieval women’s mystical visions differ widely across time, space and religious tradition, we also find striking points of convergence in the ways that women mystic exemplars translate their experience of intimacy with the divine. Early twentieth-century scholarship accounted for such commonalities by presuming a single mystical experience. However, this kind of comparativism has largely been rejected. Given these shifting grounds in comparative studies of mysticism, this conference asks: What are the points of intersection that emerge within studies of mysticism at the site of gender? What kind of dialogues can be forged within and across spiritual traditions, particularly between Europe and South Asia? How might inquiries into gender and mysticism open up political dimensions of mysticism that are often subsumed within the private, and how might they inform us about the entanglement of the public and private within the frameworks of pre-modern gender in the past as well as today?

This conference invites investigations of gender and mysticism in the medieval period that focus on either South Asia or Europe or take a comparative approach. Topics might include the following:

  • Women mystics
  • Theory and mysticism
  • Men speaking as women in mystical writings
  • Gender, Politics, and Mysticism
  • Comparative mysticism
  • Mystic scribes and spiritual authority
  • Mysticism & place
  • Spiritual influence
  • Friendship/Community
  • Mystical authority and political power
  • Queer phenomenology and mysticism
  • Mysticism and the body
  • Gender and South Asian Sufi-bhakti traditions
  • Gender, material culture, and mysticism
  • Mysticism and the vernacular
  • Gender, planetary emergency, and mysticism

Paper abstracts of no more than 250 words, plus one-page CV, should be sent to Abir Bazaz at abir.bazaz@ashoka.edu.in and Alexandra Verini at alexandra.verini@ashoka.edu.in no later than 1 October 2019.

Successful speakers will be notified shortly thereafter, and online pre-registration shall be open in November. Updates regarding the conference schedule, registration and accommodation details will be posted to http://gendermysticismconference.com/.

CFP Pfaff at Fifty: New Devotions and Religious Change in Later Medieval England

Originally published in 1970, Richard W. Pfaff’s New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England
fundamentally changed the way humanities scholars thought and wrote about English religious development in the long fifteenth century. Pfaff asked important questions about the
process by which the new devotions that focused on Christ and the Virgin entered the liturgy in England and how a liturgical feast was ‘promulgated — at all the levels to make it effective — or accepted’. Moreover, he emphasised the gradual pace of liturgical change and its different stages.

Pfaff explored the relationship between liturgical and extra-liturgical devotions; demonstrated the variation in the pace and extent of regional, local and institutional change; and promoted the idea of the push and pull of popular demand for change in place of the traditional notion of
official promulgation from above. Most importantly, even though he was a liturgical scholar with deep, specialised knowledge of the material evidence and an intense insight into the practice of the period, Pfaff opened study of the cultural impact of these devotions to scholars of many adjacent fields. It is in honour of this wide sowing that we now gather, fifty years
on, to reap and to share.

New Liturgical Feasts documented a process of increased elaboration and enhancement in
fifteenth-century English liturgy that would have profoundly impacted the experience of church-
going parishioners throughout the realm. Pfaff saw this as evidence of ‘liturgical vitality’ rather than of ‘an over-complicated and decadent system which was shortly to collapse through its own burdensomeness’ (p. 131). He called for scholars interested in ‘the whole of later medieval spirituality’ to consider both private devotion and ‘what goes on in the church’ (p. 132).

In the five decades since 1970, we have witnessed a very considerable flourishing of research —
conducted across many disciplines — on a wide range of aspects of late medieval religious life.
These include, among others, lay piety, the importance of gender in shaping religious belief and practice, religious observance in parish and cathedral churches, the religious orders, saints’ cults, mysticism, devotional reading, the material culture of religion, and heterodoxy and heresy. Pfaff’s pioneering study opened new pathways and provided a new impetus for scholars to explore religious culture as a whole in all its variety. As a result, fifty years after NLF’s publication, we have a much greater appreciation of the vitality, as well as the complexity, of late medieval religion.

‘Pfaff at Fifty’ will take place at the University of Nottingham, 2-3 July 2020. The conference aims to take stock of the enduring legacy of New Liturgical Feasts by reconsidering the important questions that this touchstone book raised. We invite abstracts that address the themes,  questions, and implications of Pfaff’s book in the light of new research. We encourage submissions from scholars working in any relevant discipline or field, including history, theology, art history, literary studies, archaeology, gender studies, musicology, and manuscript studies.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short biographical note to either of the email addresses listed below by 1 October 2019.

Dr Benjamin Barootes
Pontifical Institute of Mediæval Studies, Toronto
 
Dr Rob Lutton
University of Nottingham
 
The full call for papers can be downloaded below.

CFP How to do things with early modern words

Paper and panel proposals are invited for the conference ‘How to do things with early modern words: Interdisciplinary opportunities, dialogues, perspectives and methodologies’. The conference will take place at Loughborough University, UK, 23-25 April 2020.

2020 will see the publication of the first two volumes of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Aphra Behn. Editing Aphra Behn’s remarkable oeuvre has involved the collaboration of an international and interdisciplinary team of scholars, drawing on expertise from across the humanities. ‘How to do things with early modern words’, a three-day conference to mark the 350th anniversary of the start of Behn’s public career, aims to celebrate and develop interdisciplinary approaches to early modern studies. Bringing together researchers working in all fields represented within the edition, including literature, history, theatre history, language, and digital humanities, between 1500 and 1750, the conference will explore current, cutting-edge themes, perspectives and methods in scholarship on the early modern world.

Proposals for either individual 20-minute papers or complete panels (comprising 3 or 4 papers) should be submitted to EMWords@gmail.com by 23 September 2019.

Papers which explore interdisciplinary approaches to early modern scholarship, or which address the challenges represented by digital technology, conceptual advances, or new archival discoveries (either within or across disciplines) are especially welcome. We encourage discussions of projects at initial or early stages of development for 10-minute Pecha Kucha presentations, and other formats of presentation and discussion are also invited.

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