Call for Papers: ‘Moving Images: the Badge in Medieval Christendom’, ICMS 2019 (Deadline: 15 September 2018)

collection.54th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Kalamazoo, MI, May 9 – 12, 2019
Deadline: Sep 15, 2018

Organisers: Lloyd de Beer and Amy Jeffs

The phrase “moving images” invites applicants to apply ideas of motion and mobility to the medieval badge. These insignia helped define communities: they marked and traversed territorial boundaries; they were worn by religious devotees, military retainers and groups that shared the same jokes and stories. What do badges reveal about medieval visual culture? What is the impact of scale, variety and proliferation on our understanding of these emblems’ multifarious purposes?

The term “medieval badge” is ambiguous. Is it a pewter token worn on clothing, such as a livery badge or a pilgrim souvenir? Does it not also describe the prestigious Dunstable Swan Jewel at the British Museum or the image of the white hart worn by the figures of the Wilton Diptych? Likewise, it can mean an emblematic image, in any medium. These often appear in manuscripts, paintings, architecture, sculpture, and a host of more fragile objects, such as embroidered banners. Larger works of art could become miniature signs, such as the depiction of St Thomas Becket’s head reliquary reproduced on Canterbury pilgrim souvenirs. Inversely, emblematic metal badges appear as trompe-l’oeil in virtuosic paintings. Their geographical and material flexibility calls out for scholarly exploration.

This session invites proposals which will consider the medieval badge in its widest theoretical contexts, using ideas of motion and mobility as a starting point. Session participants will give a 20 minute paper discussing the “moving image” as it is manifest in the badges of medieval Christendom.

Please send a 250-word abstract and a completed Participant Information Form (available via the Congress Submissions website: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) by September 15 to Lloyd de Beer (ldebeer@britishmuseum.org) and Amy Jeffs (aj383@cam.ac.uk). More information about the Congress can be found here: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress.

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