Category Archives: ANZAMEMS

Reminder: Western Civilisation in the Twenty-First Century Registration

Registration for the ANZAMEMS symposium ‘Western Civilisation in the Twenty-First Century’, held 20-21 February 2020 at the University of Adelaide, is free and open until 14 February. Registration can be completed via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/western-civilisation-in-the-twenty-first-century-tickets-79997658149

The full schedule can be viewed here: https://westernciv2020.wordpress.com/schedule/

Parergon 36.2 Preview: Myth, Reality and Revelation: The Performance of Divine Power on Dartmoor

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, David C. Harvey, Associate Professor in Critical Heritage Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, discusses the article he co-wrote with Joanne Parker, Associate Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Exeter, UK: ‘Myth, Reality and Revelation: The Performance of Divine Power on Dartmoor’. DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2019.0056

Just a few weeks after I first came to Exeter University as an undergraduate student in October 1988, I remember being taken by Vic Ambler, the Warden of the St Lukes Hall of Residence, for an evening walk to Dartmoor. We got dropped off near Challacombe, and walked via Grimspound, the Headland Warren and Bennett’s Cross to the Warren House Inn. Just before we reached the pub, we walked past the Devil’s Playing Cards; four mysteriously shaped fields laid out on the hillside, in the shape of the four suits of a deck of playing cards. I remember Vic telling a story about how these got their name: that during a Great Storm, the Devil crashed through the roof of the Church at nearby Widecombe-in-the-Moor and carried off a man called Jan Reynolds who was playing cards at the back of the Church. As he flew across the moor, Jan dropped the four aces that he had up his sleeve and they fell to earth as four enclosures. I squinted at the hillside – OK; I could pick out the Diamond quite clearly… perhaps the Heart; but one needed to have a bit more imagination to make out the Club and the Spade. It was a good story – though I would have thought that the Devil would have been happy with someone playing cards at the back of a Church Service?

The walk, across Hameldown, between Widecombe and Warren House is one of my favourites, and the legend about the Devil is a nice story to impress visitors. It might even place me as a ‘local’, or at least as someone who ‘knows’ the Dartmoor landscape. Over the following years, I became more and more familiar with Dartmoor and its legends; lots about the Devil, many about ‘hauntings’, and a good few about environmental hazards – deep bogs or terrible storms. Indeed, there’s a story about a ‘Great Storm’ of 1638, written up on a series of tablets in the Nave of Widecombe Church, in which several people were killed – victims of God’s Judgement. I vaguely realised that the Devilish Legend about the Playing Cards was referring to the same storm event as the tragedy of 1638 in Widecombe, but never really followed up on how and why the two stories were connected.

In the Autumn of 2013, I was to run a 3rd year day field trip to Dartmoor to talk about landscape history and archaeology. The Headland Warren, Bennett’s Cross and the Devil’s Playing Cards was an obvious destination to take a group of third years in the Autumn Term of 2013, and all my Landscape Knowledge or Lore comes into its own when running such a student field trip. The legend of the Devil will be memorable for the students – just as it was for myself in 1988 – and if that helps to instil the ‘factual’ elements of landscape history, then all the better. On Friday 18th October 2013, I led a group of 35 students up to Dartmoor, as part of the Undergraduate Level 3 ‘Geographies of Heritage and Memory’ module within the Geography Department at Exeter.

I wrote a blog about this field trip here – and was struck by the juxtaposition of the two stories about the ‘Great Storm’. Of course, the students also asked some tricky questions – surely, they ask me, the Devil should have been happy that people were playing cards in Church(!); and how come the figure of ‘God’ turned directly into the figure of the Devil. These loose ends needed tidying up….

I re-visited the Church at Widecombe and took some photos of the tablets on the wall of the Nave. This story was very clear – that it was God that brought on the Great Storm and God’s Judgement that carried off several parishioners.

I also began talking to my colleague in the English Department, Joanne Parker, who had previously written about Dartmoor stories and legends. We had been working together within the ‘Past-Place’ research team, at Exeter, and so the idea of producing a ‘life history’ of storytelling associated with an event such as the Great Storm took hold.

Together, we started to patch together the accounts of the Great Storm, of October 1638, from the first pamphlet publications only a couple of weeks after, through renditions in poetic and prose form during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and to their re-deployment in tourist legend in the 19th and 20th centuries. The first accounts of the event appeared in London in November 1638, and in this version, the storm is very much associated with God’s Judgement – though we also found the vestiges of some quasi-scientific reflection and interest. The Devil gets a mention in the 18th century, but only starts to dominate the accounts in the 19th century – which is the point at which the stone enclosures (the Devil’s Playing Cards) near the Warren House Inn enter the scene.

Just as my imagination was captivated in 1988 – and just as I have recounted it to many visitors in the last 30 years – the legend of the Devil has good currency through which to support ‘insider’ credentials. In some ways, its slightly comical and clearly mythical nature provides a gloss of specifically ‘local’ landscape knowledge. It is a story of ‘place making practice’, both over the last 380 years over which the legends have been circulated, and also the 30 years over which I have been telling the stories myself – as a ‘professional landscape historian’. And over the last 6 years, the blog on a WordPress site has now become a published journal article!

All images belong to the author.

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 Twenty-First Century: Registration and Programme

A reminder that registration for the ANZAMEMS symposium ‘Western Civilisation in the Twenty-First Century’, held 20-21 February 2020 at the University of Adelaide, is open until 14 February. A provisional programme is now available here.

Registration is free via Eventbrite. All details can be found on the symposium website: westernciv2020.wordpress.com 

New issue preview: Parergon 36.2

ANZAMEMS is delighted to advise researchers that the latest issue of the Association’s journal Parergon is now out. Special Issue 36.2, Practice, Performance and Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Heritage, guest-edited by Alicia Marchant and Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow, features 6 original research articles, a scholarly introduction, a special roundtable contribution, and over 50 book reviews.

ANZAMEMS members will receive print copies of Parergon 36.2 shortly, while digital content can be accessed via Project MUSE.

Here is a preview of the content available in the issue:

Introduction: Practice, Performance, and Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Heritage
Alicia Marchant, Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow

Between Realism and Re-enactment: Navigating Dramatic and Musical ‘Problems’ in Voyage to the Moon
Joseph Browning and Jane W. Davidson

How do practitioners understand the relationship between performance, history and emotion in Western art music? Based on an ethnographic study of a contemporary pasticcio opera, we take the rehearsal room as an important, yet often overlooked, site in which creative artists imagine and perform different relationships with their musical and cultural heritage. Focusing on the interplay between two performative modes, which we call realism and re-enactment, we describe how the creative team navigated various dramatic and musical challenges associated with the opera, generating a final production that was ambiguous and multi-layered in its
emotional registers and attitudes towards the past.

After Lives: Considering Disembodied Costume via Medieval Copes and Nick Cave’s Soundsuits
Janet Lee and Jo Merrey

Costuming a body for performance both defines and erases boundaries between performer and audience. Historically distinct and creatively oppositional, medieval copes and the soundsuits of contemporary artist Nick Cave work to transcend the everyday and reimagine the self. As the garment subsumes the wearer, the performer’s ‘translated’ presence engages the audience/viewer. But what of costume divested of performer? What is embodied in performance shifts in a costume’s museum afterlives. Postperformance costumes signal vacancy; an uncanny absence. Displacing the performer allows for the renegotiation between object and viewer. Tracememories of performance linger, reconfigured via the costume’s framing and circumstances of viewing.

Hidden Heritage: Concealment, Reuse, and Affective Performance in Historic Buildings and Digital Heritage
Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow

This article considers material heritage of the Middle Ages and early modern period which was deliberately obscured from public view, exploring this concept in light of concealed objects’ emotional impact and cultural meaning, the status of such objects as part of a ‘performance
of concealment’, and the role that concealment played in the creation of heritage. A series of architectural and smaller-scale digital heritage case studies articulate the complex ways that concealment shaped meaningful heritage narratives, both in the past and today—particularly as concealed material culture was often remediated or reused from other heritage settings.

Myth, Reality and Revelation: The Performance of Divine Power on Dartmoor
David C. Harvey and Joanne Parker

This article explores the nexus between the folk heritage of an unusual archaeological site, an early modern account of ‘ball lightning’, and the literary construction of an affective atmosphere. It examines how a violent storm in October 1638 provided a symbolic reservoir for narrative accounts of both the performance of God’s power and the Devil’s trickery, thereby
providing lessons for civil conduct alongside explanations of some unusual archaeological features. Tracing a biographical life history of how the storm has been remembered at different periods since the event, we chart how various narratives of landscape can unfold over several centuries.

Hearing Early Modern Battles: Soundscape Audio as a Way of Recreating the Past
Dolly MacKinnon

This article provides a model of analysis for examining museum exhibitions that specifically incorporate soundscapes for early modern battle histories: one is a local museum at Radway, England, that commemorated the Civil War Battle of Edgehill (1642), and the other is the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition ʻBonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites’ that includes the 1745 rising that culminated in the Battle of Culloden (1746). Using film music diegesis, the article analyses the ways in which emotions are generated, performed and produced through soundscapes created for early modern battlefields in museums, demonstrating how gendered representations of the past can be overturned and democratized by soundscapes.

‘Three cheers to the old apple tree!’: Wassailing and the Affective Performance of Heritage
Alicia Marchant

The ancient practice of wassailing to apple trees has had global resurgence in recent years, including in Tasmania where it is performed at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest. First recorded at Fordwich (England) in 1585, wassailing is performed annually on Old Twelfth Night and involves a parading group moving noisily between orchards. Taking the Huon Valley wassail as a focus, I will examine the performative elements of the modern wassail, tracing a genealogy of practice, to ask: what happens when wassailing is transplanted to Tasmania? What sorts of ‘pasts’ are recalled, and what emotional work does the wassail performance do?

Parergon Roundtable
Future/s Medieval: Perspectives from the ANZAMEMS Community
Susan Broomhall, Andrew Lynch, Clare Monagle, Amanda Power, Helen Young, Louise D’Arcens, Lindsay Diggelmann, Chris Jones

This roundtable responds to the wide-ranging discussions within and beyond the ANZAMEMS community at present about the ways in which our field is currently being understood and used by those in the broader community, as well as how these developments may provoke new lines of enquiry within medieval and medievalism scholarship.

Members of our community, scholars of the medieval, were invited to contribute
short papers reflecting on new directions and pressure points for medieval studies.
These encompass considerations within the academy and as the medieval is
understood and employed beyond it, and indeed as these are in dialogue with each other.

Parergon welcomes article submissions on all aspects of medieval and early modern studies. We are especially interested in material that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and takes new approaches. For more information and submission guidelines, visit the Parergon website.

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.