Monthly Archives: August 2019

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.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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 Masculinities in the Premodern World

Proposals are invited for the conference “Masculinities in the Premodern World: Continuities, Change, and Contradictions” to be held 13-15 November 2020 at the University of Toronto, Canada.

The past twenty-five years have witnessed a burgeoning of studies on sexuality and gender in the premodern world. In particular, men and masculinities have received considerable attention. Building on the theoretical perspectives provided by feminism, Foucault, and cultural studies, the study of men and masculinities is increasingly theoretically inflected and sophisticated. Studies have encompassed questions pertaining to men of various social statuses, secular and ecclesiastical, as portrayed in historical, literary, philosophical, theological, and art historical sources among others.

This conference aims to locate the study of premodern men and masculinities in its current richness and complexity. Our plenary speakers will be two of the most important scholars in the area of medieval/early modern masculinities: Patricia Simons (University of Michigan) and Patricia Cullum (University of Huddersfield, UK).

Papers are invited on all areas of study across the premodern world (500 to 1650 CE), crossing Europe’s religious and linguistic diversity, and encompassing its geographical breadth and beyond. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • concepts of virility,
  • patriarchy, marriage, fatherhood and procreative masculinities,
  • social and political perspectives,
  • medical and biological perceptions,
  • celibacy, chastity, continence,
  • monastic and clerical masculinity,
  • sexual function and dysfunction,
  • queer and non-binary masculinities,
  • typologies of premodern men,
  • masculinity and physical prowess; sports and athletics
  • depictions of masculinity in literature and the arts

Proposals are invited for individual papers, panels, roundtables, and alternatives to traditional academic presentation models.

To submit a proposal, please include: speaker’s name and academic affiliation (or “independent scholar” as applicable); the title of the presentation; a 150-word abstract; full contact information (mailing address, telephone, email); and a one-page CV. In the case of proposals for complete sessions, this information must be provided for each presenter and the chair (if proposed).

Proposals should be emailed in Word format to both conference organizers:
Prof. Jacqueline Murray jacqueline.murray@uoguelph.ca
Prof. Konrad Eisenbichler at konrad.eisenbichler@utoronto.ca

Deadline for submission: 15 November 2019

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.

Job opportunity: Professor of English, Australia National University

Australia National University is seeking to appoint a Professor of English in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. The ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics (SLLL) was established in 2014, uniting key areas of expertise in literary, language, and cultural studies. SLLL seeks to advance knowledge in these fields through conducting world-leading research, by providing an outstanding education experience for undergraduate, postgraduate and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students, and by engaging with secondary schools, public events such as literature and film festivals, embassies and with other cultural, government and non-government institutions.

In addition to programs in literary studies, gender and cultural studies, linguistics and modern European, Classical and Indigenous Australian languages, the School is home to the Centre for Classical Studies, the Australian National Dictionary Centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence in the Dynamics of Language, and the Institute for Communication in Healthcare.

As a multidisciplinary School we have vibrant and mixed seminar programs which host both national and international speakers. We run numerous events, often in collaboration with ANU’s Humanities Research Centre, which was established in 1972 as a centre for innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship and has hosted many of the world’s leading humanities scholars.

ANU is ranked as the top University in Australia for Humanities and Social Sciences. Literature, Languages and Linguistics were all ranked 4 or 5 (‘above world standard’, or ‘well-above world standard’) in the ERA research assessment exercise.

The Professor of English in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics is a crucial position in leading and delivering successful research and educational leadership and strategic direction, consistent with the strategic plans of CASS and the ANU. The Professor will be responsible for research and educational leadership, and for shaping the strategic direction of English, consistent with the strategic plans of SLLL, CASS and the ANU.

A full job description and application instructions can be downloaded below.

Applications close 6 October 2019.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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/