Miri Rubin (Queen Mary), Sarah Salih (King’s College) and Jan Miernowski, (University of Wisconsin). Chaired by Robert Mills (UCL)
Panel Discussion to Launch Romanic Review 111.1 (2020): Category Crossings: Bruno Latour and Medieval Modes of Existence.
Guest Editors: Marilynn Desmond (Binghamton University), Noah Guynn (UC Davis)
Contributors: Anke Bernau, Emma Campbell, Marilynn Desmond, Mary Franklin-Brown, Jane Gilbert, Miranda Griffin, Noah Guynn, Catherine Keen, Luke Sunderland. Afterword by Graham Harman.
From We Have Never Been Modern to An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, Bruno Latour’s philosophical project has long been conceived as a critique of ‘Modernity’, starting with Enlightenment dualisms (nature/culture, words/things, sacred/secular) and extending to the Cyber Age’s promise of unmediated access to knowledge (what Latour calls ‘Double Click’). The contributors to this volume consider the relevance of this critique for the study of the medieval premodern and ask how Latour’s call for a renewal of metaphysics – and for a diplomatic encounter between the various modes of existence – might be used to defamiliarize ‘Modern’ intellectual habits. The essays assembled here examine a range of medieval artifacts and genres, including travelogues, historiography, diplomacy, romances, manuscripts, encyclopedias, bestiaries, theology, and theatre.