Category Archives: ANZAMEMS

Western Civilisation in the Twenty-First Century

Registration is now open for ‘Western Civilisation in the Twenty-First Century’, to be held on 20-21 February 2020 at the University of Adelaide.

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?

This event is being supported by ANZAMEMS. Registration is free and ANZAMEMS is funding travel bursaries to facilitate attendance for postgraduates, early career scholars and those without institutional support.

To register, please follow the registration link from the conference homepage: https://westernciv2020.wordpress.com/

For further information on bursaries and to apply, see https://westernciv2020.wordpress.com/bursaries/

For information on the conference venue and nearby accommodation, see https://westernciv2020.wordpress.com/location/

Parergon Reviews Editor

Dr Hélène Sirantoine, the Reviews Editor of Parergon, has signalled her intention to step down from the role at the next ANZAMEMS AGM (tentatively scheduled for April 2020) and so we are seeking a new Reviews Editor. Members interested in further details about this position vacancy should contact Parergon Editor Professor Susan Broomhall (editor@parergon.org) or Dr Hélène Sirantoine (reviews@parergon.org)

Call for Nominations: Parergon Early Career Committee

Parergon, the journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early
Modern Studies (Inc.), seeks nominations for interested early career scholars within
ANZAMEMS to participate as members of the 2020 Early Career Committee (ECC). The aim
of this committee is to recognise and support early career researcher contributions to
ANZAMEMS, and specifically, Parergon.

The ECC meets quarterly, and offers an opportunity to provide advice to the Editorial team and
gain a deeper understanding of the detailed intellectual and practical processes of production
of a prestigious, peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

Additionally, participation in the ECC will provide valuable service experience for those
interested in pursuing academic and publishing career pathways. Membership of the ECC is
not a paid position.

A maximum of 6 places are currently available for the 2020 ECC Committee.

Terms are for a calendar year, with a possible maximal renewal of an additional, immediate
year.

Nominations are sought from late-stage doctoral students through to those five years post PhD
or equivalent), who are current members of ANZAMEMS.

Applications should consist of a cv, and a covering email outlining disciplinary expertise to the
Editor of Parergon, susan.broomhall@uwa.edu.au

Doctoral students wishing to apply should also provide an email from their supervisor
indicating support for their application.

Nominations close on 6 December 2019. Successful candidates will be notified in late
December.

For more information including selection criteria, see the attached PDF:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Highlights from the Parergon archives: Women and Property

We asked members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that really stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Emma Simpson discusses Patricia Crawford’s ‘Women and Property: Women as Property’, Parergon 19.1 (2002), pp. 151-171 (DOI: doi.org/10.1353/pgn.2002.0086)

Those of us interested in early modern women owe a great debt to Patricia Crawford. The ANZAMEMS Crawford-Maddern network speaks to her personal legacy, one that builds on her extensive work in the field encompassing numerous monographs, articles, and edited collections.

Personally, Crawford and Gowing’s Women’s Worlds in Seventeenth-Century England was an early introduction to research around early modern women, and I returned to Crawford’s work when beginning my dissertation. Though my focus has since shifted from women writers in a male-dominated genre to representations of women within that genre itself, Crawford’s work still influences the historicist approach I take in my work. Indeed, she remains important across disciplines, and her 2002 Parergon article “Women and Property: Woman as Property” is no exception.

Here, Crawford explores how early modern women functioned as property, what rights they had to property and freedom, and how this affected their ability to act autonomously. She suggests that “three interlocking variables affected a woman’s right to property”: the “status” of women as a category, the “complex system of jurisdictions” which comprised early modern law, and the definition of property itself. But in outlining difficulties for women in the early modern period, Crawford also carefully establishes the ways in which these women could and did “circumvent the restrictions of the common law” (154). She further contextualises her important discussion of gendered restrictions in the period with reference to shifting political and class hierarchies.

Though interested largely in the eighteenth century, “Women and Property: Women as Property” serves as a useful introduction not only to important work on early modern women, but also as an introduction to Crawford and her broader work, as one of Australia’s important voices on women in the early modern period.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/.

Highlights from the Parergon archives: Rationality and renaissance magic

We asked members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that really stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Julie Davies of the University of Melbourne relflects on Gregory W. Dawes, ‘The Rationality of Renaissance Magic’, Parergon 30.2 (2013), pp. 33–58. (DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2013.0132)

I was very excited to read Dawes’s article exploring the rationality of magical beliefs from a philosophical perspective. The question of belief is complex and historians of witchcraft and magic often have to balance the ideal of evaluating their subjects according to the values and beliefs of their time with the scepticism of both contemporaneous critics and modern readers. While it is sometimes appropriate to reduce engagement with supernatural themes to ignorance, credulity, fantasy, delusion or outright fraud, hastily, unconsciously or consistently presuming such would significantly distort our historical perspective. As Dawes points out, even if certain accounts of magical phenomena are known to have been completely made up, many were unquestionably intended to be plausible fictions. Understanding the rationality behind such beliefs is, therefore, key to understanding both believers and deceivers.

Dawes gives an overview explanations for magical thinking from a range of disciplines including anthropology, sociology and psychology. However, his main discussion focuses on the different epistemological levels of rational belief. Dawes leads the discussion beyond the typical historical focus on the background beliefs which supported and promoted beliefs about magic and rendered them rationally defensible. He also explores how Renaissance belief in magic was formed on the basis of evidence and other cognitive mechanisms, and how it’s weakness, from the modern perspective, arises from its failure to employ collectively rational procedures. Unlike the modern scientific community who attempt to overcome biases through replicability and verification, magical practitioners tended to value secrecy, limiting the spread of knowledge to like-minded initiates or, as in the case of controversial figures such as Paracelsus, actively maintaining independence from established institutions.

As a result, Dawes not only provides a very useful and detailed introduction to the philosophical theory of knowledge production, magical or otherwise, it also provides insight into the value shift which arguably represents the biggest hurdle to our own objective engagement with the magical past.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

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.

Parergon 36.1 preview: Mealtimes and authority in the Book of Margery Kempe

We asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Hwanhee Park, assistant professor at the Department of English Language and Literature at Kyung Hee University, South Korea, talks about “Mealtime Sanctity: the Social and Devotional Functions of Mealtimes in The Book of Margery Kempe” (DOI:10.1353/pgn.2019.0002).

My research focuses on the literature of late medieval England, particularly texts written about or by women that deal with education and self-development. I focus on women negotiating and manipulating their surroundings to aim for greater power and acknowledgement. In that process, I argue, establishing an outwardly visible characters of authority for others to see and accept becomes important — perhaps even more important than the actual interior virtues.

Margery Kempe was well aware of the importance of such visible characters of authority. As a secular woman/mystic who never bothered to remove the slash in between, she was in a tricky position to be acknowledged as a religious authority, either officially or by popular agreement. But she could find ways to make the social norms and expectations of her time — such as mealtimes and their social functions — work for her unconventional circumstances.

My article reassesses the mealtime scenes in The Book of Margery Kempe and argues that mealtimes enable Margery Kempe to claim greater spiritual authority by providing a public space for showcasing her devotion. I got the idea for this article as I was attempting to develop a previous article on Margery Kempe I had written in 2014. In that paper, I argued that Margery Kempe utilizes the ideal womanhood described in conduct books to add to her authority. Since conduct books deal with eating habits and behaviors (to such an extent that a well-known conduct book, Le Ménagier de Paris, has a huge section on meal planning and recipes added to it), I thought that the few but memorable depictions of mealtimes in The Book of Margery Kempe deserved special attention. As I revisited the text, I realized that the mealtimes are important as a stage for performing what her society deemed as good manners. Since medieval mealtimes demonstrate social hierarchy and a sense of community and harmony, Margery could use them as a stage to assert her position within the orthodox circle at a time of religious dissent.

I’m continuing my research on medieval women establishing spiritual authority by making themselves visible to the public eye. My current project goes back to the thirteenth century and to Ancrene Wisse, a guidebook for beginner anchoresses. I argue that the anchoress’s maidservants are essential in making the anchoress an authoritative figure, because of their labour made visible to the local community. This project will expand to a larger one focusing on women’s social labour in medieval England. In that, I hope to return to Margery Kempe and her fascinating career again.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

 

Call for Proposals: Parergon Special Issues 2022

The journal Parergon, in print since 1971, regularly produces one open issue and one themed issue annually. Recent and forthcoming themed issues include:

  • 2018, 35.2 Translating Medieval Cultures Across Time and Space: A Global Perspective, guest-edited by Saher Amer, Esther S. Klein, and Helene Sirantoine
  • 2019, 36.2 Practice, Performance, and Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Cultural Heritage, guest-edited by Jane-Heloise Nancarrow and Alicia Marchant
  • 2020, 37.2 Foreign Bodies: The Exotic, the monstrous, and the medical in early modern art in Melbourne, guest-edited by Anne Dunlop and Cordelia Warr
  • 2021, 38.2 Children and War, guest-edited by Katie Barclay, Dianne Hall and Dolly Mackinnon

We now call for proposals for future themed issues, specifically for 2022 (39.2). Themed issues contain up to ten essays, plus the usual reviews section. The guest editor is responsible for setting the theme and drawing up the criteria for the essays.

Proposals should be submitted by 1 October 2019 to the Editor, Susan Broomhall at susan.broomhall@uwa.edu.au

The detailed call, including information on proposal requirements, timelines and the editorial process, can be downloaded below.

Parergon publishes articles on all aspects of medieval and early modern studies, from early medieval through to the eighteenth century, and including the reception and influence of medieval and early modern culture in the modern world. We are particularly interested in research which takes new approaches and crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Parergon asks its authors to achieve international standards of excellence. Articles should be substantially original, advance research in the field, and have the potential to make a significant contribution to the critical debate.

Parergon has an Open Access policy. Authors retain their own copyright, rather than transferring it to Parergon/ANZAMEMS; and can make the “accepted version” of their article freely available on the Web.

Highlights from the Parergon archives: Medical diagnosis of demonic possession

We asked members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that really stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Brendan Walsh talks about Judith Bonzol’s important 2009 article, “The Medical Diagnosis of Demonic Possession in an Early Modern English Community,” which appeared in Parergon 26.1 (https://doi.org/10.1353/pgn.0.0132)

Judith Bonzol’s article highlights the application of medical diagnosis in the 1604 demonic possession case of Anne Gunther. Demonic possession in the early modern period was often attributed to three main causes: genuine possession, natural illnesses, or fraud. Yet, it is with the possession of Anne Gunther that the notion of genuine possession was placed under considerable scrutiny in England. The Gunther case was at the forefront of a marked shift in early modern Reformed Protestant demonology, a shift that placed emphasis on establishing natural causation for seemingly demonic illnesses. Bonzol illustrates how Gunther’s possession was scrutinized by the ecclesiastical elite and dismissed as natural in origin through the use of medical diagnosis. Furthermore, this article delves into the complex social factors at play in the Gunther case, outlining how the influence of familial and community relationships, particularly between physicians and patients, shaped how spirit possession manifested.

The Anne Gunther possession emerged in the aftermath of the John Darrell Controversy. In 1598/99, the Puritan exorcist John Darrell (1562-?) was convicted on multiple charges of fraud by the High Commission. Fronted by Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift; the Bishop of London, Richard Bancroft; along with his chaplain, Samuel Harsnett, the High Commission ruled that Darrell had engaged in fraudulent exorcisms and stripped him of his ministry. These churchmen would usher in a period of demonological scepticism within the Church of England, leading to the introduction of ecclesiastical reform concerning witchcraft and demonic possession. The possession of Anne Gunther was one such example in which these reforms would be enacted, while also highlighting the role that physicians played in these instances.

The significance of the Gunther case was that it set the precedent for how medical diagnosis could be used to dismiss seemingly demonic illnesses. During her possession, Gunther experienced a series of strange convulsions, attacks of blindness, deafness, and fearful visions. She foamed at the mouth, abstained from taking food for long periods of time, and could describe actions performed in other rooms or how much money an individual held in their purse. As was the case with suspected demonic illnesses, medical experts were called in to examine the patient. This was at the behest of Anne’s father Brian Gunther, a man of high social-standing in the local community. Initially, physicians agreed with the Gunther patriarch that his daughter was possessed. However, this diagnosis may have simply been due to the family’s social standing. As Bonzol states, “physicians at this time were desperate to establish themselves as superior to their numerous medical rivals, and while their number included some of the best-educated secular men in England, their social status was not particularly high. In their struggle for respectability, acceptance, and social status, the physicians in the Gunter case may have thought it expedient simply to tell their client what he wanted to hear” (133). However, once the Church of England became aware of the situation, medical diagnosis would be used to challenge (and eventually dismiss) Gunther’s previously accepted possession.

I first became aware of Judith Bonzol’s work through my own research into the John Darrell Controversy. Within the scholarship on early modern demonology, this article makes effective use of the Gunther case in examining the cultural factors surrounding medical diagnosis and spirit possession in early modern England. Bonzol has written extensively on the nature of supernatural illnesses in the early modern English context. I had the pleasure of meeting Judith as an PhD student at ANZAMEMS 2017 in Wellington, and then presenting alongside her as a recent doctoral graduate at ANZAMEMS 2019 in Sydney. For any reader interested in early modern medicine, demonology, or ecclesiastical politics, this article serves as an insightful and engaging piece of scholarship.

Dr Brendan Walsh is a researcher in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

Parergon 36.1 preview: Acculturation and Anglo-Moroccon encounters, 1625-84.

We asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Rickie Lette, who recently completed his PhD in history at the University of Tasmania, talks about his piece, “John Harrison: A Case Study of the Acculturation of an Early Modern Briton” (doi:10.1353/pgn.2019.0005).

My current research interests are principally focussed on the personal and wider cultural and social effects of encounter and exchange between Europeans and non-Europeans from the late medieval to early modern periods, with a particular emphasis on Christian-Muslim relations. My doctoral thesis reappraises the engagement of Britons with Moroccans between 1625 and 1684, examining not only the influence that their personal experiences had on their attitudes and sense of self-identity, but also on Anglo-Moroccan relations more generally during this formative period of English imperial development. It was a subject that combined my interest in inter-cultural relations and a country which had fascinated me from my first visit. And, it also provided scope for a challenging project through which I could, hopefully, make a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field.

North Africa, and the wider Mediterranean region, played important roles in England’s development as an imperial power, contributions which have largely been overlooked. While increasing attention has been given to the consequences of cultural interaction of Europe’s imperial expansion, like a number of other scholars working in this area, I believe that to properly historicise the resulting interactions and understand their impact it is necessary to move beyond generalisations and simplistic binary perspectives, and examine these encounters more closely at the level of the individuals who were directly involved. Doing so helps reveal a much more complex reality in which traditional prejudices were frequently challenged and new ideas and perspectives emerged. The case study of John Harrison, with which the article is concerned, embodies the approach I adopted in the wider study and some of its key general findings.

One distinctive aspect of my recent work has been my use of theories, methodologies and studies from other disciplines including literary criticism and anthropology. In particular, I have found the phenomenon of personal acculturation as expounded in cultural psychology a useful concept which can help provide novel insights into the nature and consequences of historical encounters between European and non-European peoples. Such analysis reveals that the socio-political conditions which existed in Morocco in the early seventeenth century not only affected diplomatic and commercial relations with England — which has already been studied by others — but they also had the potential to deeply impact the perceptions and responses of Britons who sojourned there. These insights assist our understanding of the broader dynamics and cultural impacts of encounter.

The article is the first published output arising from my doctoral thesis. Over the next eighteen months, I hope to publish one or two other essays as well as a monograph based on this work.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/