Tag Archives: politics

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2019: GENDER AND ALIENS, Durham University, 7th–10th January 2019

In recent years discourse around ‘aliens’, as migrants living in modern nation-states, has been highly polarised, and the status of people who are technically termed legal or illegal aliens by the governments of those states has often been hotly contested. It is evident from studies of the past, however, that the movement of people is not a recent phenomenon: in the medieval west, one of the Latin terms applied to such people was alieni (‘foreigners’, or ‘strangers’), and it is clear from the surviving evidence that there were many people in the Middle Ages who could be, and indeed were, identified as aliens.

This conference aims to stimulate debate about the ways in which gender intersected with and related to the idea of such aliens – and, more broadly, alienation – in the medieval world. Social, political and religious attitudes to aliens and the alienated were not constant over the centuries from c. 400 to c. 1500, and nor were they uniform across the whole world. Some foreigners, as aliens, might end up integrated into the societies they entered; others might find themselves marginalised, lonely or alone; or oppressed, as outlaws, outcasts, or slaves. Gender might exacerbate or mitigate this, depending on time, place and context. Authors or artists depicting parts of the world far from and alien to their own often filled them with people or beings not like them, demonstrating the imaginative power of alterity, while the reactions of those who encountered people from distant places and observed or participated in their customs could include recognition of similarity as well as difference. Foreigners were also not the only people who might find themselves alienated from, or within, certain societies or cultures: the medieval world included many marginalised groups. The issues of aliens and alienation may be differently construed in the modern world, but they are certainly not new. The relationship of gender to these topics is complex, variable and significant.

The conference aims to enable discussion of these issues as they relate to the whole medieval world from c. 400 to c. 1500. The organisers welcome proposals for papers on any topic related to gender and aliens or alienation, broadly construed, and encourage submissions relating to the world beyond Europe. Papers might consider issues such as:

  • refugees, immigrants, emigrants
  • inclusion and exclusion
  • alterity and difference
  • outlaws, the law, legality
  • marginalised or disenfranchised groups
  • non-normative bodies, illness, disability
  • acculturation
  • imagined geographies
  • borders and frontiers
  • ethnicity and identity
  • slavery and slaves

In addition to sessions of papers, the conference will also include a poster session. Proposals for a 20-minute paper or for a poster can be submitted at https://tinyurl.com/gms2019submit by September 30th 2018. The conference organisers are also happy to consider proposals for other kinds of presentation: please contact the organisers at gmsconference2019@gmail.com to discuss these. Some travel bursaries will be available for students and unwaged delegates to attend this conference: please see http://medievalgender.co.uk/ for details.


Images: The Emperor and the Court Lady, from ‘Nüshi zhen’ (Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies), text composed by Zhang Hua (c.AD 232-300); 6th-8th century. (C) The Trustees of the British Museum

God casts out Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, in the ‘Old English Hexateuch,’ London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B.iv, f. 6v, 11th century. (C) British Library

 

 

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CFP: Reconsidering the Boundaries of Late-Medieval Political Literature (2 sessions), IMC, Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017.

edward_iii_of_england_order_of_the_garterCFP: Reconsidering the Boundaries of Late-Medieval Political Literature I and II, IMC, Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017.
Deadline: September 15, 2016

Organizers: Kristin Bourassa and Justin Sturgeon – Centre for Medieval Literature (University of Southern Denmark/University of York) & Canadian Society of Medievalists/Société canadienne des médiévistes

The increased engagement of late-medieval authors in very precise political conversations, and the way these writers justified their interventions in the political sphere by inserting themselves as characters in their own texts and creating authorial personas, have received increased scrutiny from scholars over the last several years. Some of the challenges of studying this literature include 1) the many recognizable genres involved, with individual texts often incorporating characteristics of multiple genres such as mirrors for princes, autobiography, allegory, travel narrative, and letters; and 2) the tendency to group such literature by language and/or modern national borders, making it difficult to consider medieval political literature in the context of the inter-regional conversations in which it often participated.

These three-paper sessions aim to take a broad and interdisciplinary view, using the term “political literature” to denote any form of writing that had the communication of political messages as one of its main goals. This includes visual elements such as images and marginalia, the physical layout of text and image, and the codicological structure of the manuscripts themselves. The sessions aim to open up the field of late medieval political literature and its manuscripts by thinking outside of modern definitions of genre, disciplinary conventions, and so-called “national” borders, with the broad goal of connecting scholars working in this area from different linguistic traditions and from the disciplinary perspectives of history, art history, and literature. Building on an upcoming workshop (March 2017) on late-medieval political literature in France, Burgundy, and England, our aim is to put literature from these regions into conversation with that produced in other areas. By holding two sessions, we hope to attract papers covering a larger variety of languages and geographical locations than could be accomplished with one session alone, and to build a longer-term network of scholars working on this material.

Questions the sessions might address include: How did authors view their own role as contributors to contemporary political conversations? What textual and/or visual tactics did they use to convey their messages? What audiences did they address? To what extent did writers attempt to criticize and/or support individual or institutional power? And how can considering political literature from interdisciplinary, as well as multiple geographical and linguistic traditions help us to better understand the political conversations taking place in a time of significant “international” problems such as the papal schism and the Hundred Years War? We will particularly welcome papers working from interdisciplinary perspectives and that can broaden our geographical scope.

Contact: Kristin Bourassa, kristin@sdu.dk