CFP: “Representations of the Ordinary in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods.” North Carolina Colloquium in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (February 19 & 20, 2016)

 Extended deadline for abstract submission: abstracts are now due on Thursday, January 14

Web Site:

Bruegel danceThe 16th Annual North Carolina Colloquium in Medieval and Early Modern Studies invites graduate students to submit proposals for twenty-minute paper presentations that investigate representations of everyday life––mimetic, descriptive, or prescriptive––from late antiquity through early modernity. How are the particularities of ordinary experience shown, shaped, distorted, or elided in poetry, prose, visual art, architecture, music, drama, and other forms of creative endeavor? For that matter, what constitutes the concept of the ordinary, and how does the history of this concept interweave with the development of realism, alongside other modes of representation?

In short, we shall explore what is at stake in representing the ordinary. For whether the representation works toward a form of distinction or a claim to community, it cannot be neutral.

We encourage participants to explore an array of topics within this region of inquiry. (See list below. Note that it does not purport to be comprehensive. All pertinent concerns are welcome.) The North Carolina Colloquium in Medieval and Early Modern Studies is a cooperative venture between UNC-Chapel Hill’s and Duke University’s programs in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. We seek contributions from a broad range of humanistic and social-scientific disciplines––including, but not limited to History, Philosophy, Theology, Literary Studies, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Political Theory, Sociology, Anthropology, Art History, Musicology, Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, and Food Studies.

Interested graduate students should submit 250-word abstracts to no later than Thursday, January 14, 2016. The body of the email should include the presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information, but the abstract itself should be attached as a PDF or MS Word Document. Decisions will be announced by Monday, January 18, 2016.

Possible Subjects:

temporalities of the everyday, the diurnal

the ordinary in its tragic/comic aspects

mystery plays, guilds

liturgical practice, parochial variety

agency, habit, praxis

commerce, the quotidian, homo economicus

play, the aleatory, homo ludens

jokes and insults

song and dance

visions of language––ordinary and ideal, private and universal

materialities of communication––the body, gesture, physiognomy

pedagogy and learning

rise of the vernacular, semantic shift, lexicography

reading practices, history of reading, marginalia

gender, sexuality, and desire

manuals and guides for agrarian, domestic, or courtly life

households, lords and servants

the oikos and the polis

the ordinary and modernity; everyday life, pre/postmodern

the place of death and grief in life

representations of reality in writing

realism in painting and sculpture

realism and nominalism; the generic and the particular

common spaces, urban and rural

the built environment, orientation

imposed structures, functional objects

mechanization and machinery

print, mass production and dissemination


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