Current CFPs 

Submissions are currently being accepted for the following:
International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, 2020
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 7-10, 2020

Xenophobia and Border Walls: Monstrous Foreigners and Polities

Co-sponsors: MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch

Organizers: Asa Simon Mittman and Ana Grinberg

 

Who is that knight, threatening “our” town walls? Why are they roaming outside, besieging “our” castle? What shall we do with all these [Jewish], [Muslim], [Saracen], [Genoese], [pilgrim] people coming to this area, “robbing us of our jobs” and taking up our lands? As Jeffrey Cohen writes, “all the familiar stereotypes about foreigners, medieval and modern, find their place here: they make too much noise, they smell bad, they eat repulsive foods, their excess is disgusting” (emphasis added). Our current political environment makes these ideas more pressing, as xenophobia runs rampant and walls are (re)built.

 

Medieval and early modern representations of foreigners as a threat are not that different from our own. With this in mind, MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals invite papers delving into pre- and early modern representations of contacts between cultures, races, religions, and even species from diverse disciplines and methodological approaches. Of particular interest are constructions of monstrosity in chivalric epic and romances.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form to session organizers Ana Grinberg (grinberg@auburn.edu) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

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Taking Shape: Sculpting Monsters

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizers: Mary Leech and Asa Simon Mittman

 

For centuries, the actions of monsters were more important that what the monsters looked like. Some monsters were given more specific descriptions than others, yet monstrosity was often based on Otherness, such as deformity, threatening animals, gender, or foreigners. As time goes on, many monsters take on more precise shapes based on the exaggerated physical conceptions of difference. By exploring how monsters take on specific shapes, this panel will analyze the ways in which specific fears (and desires) can create specific physical features.

 

The panel will be most effective with a range of methodologies and fields. While literary descriptions are often the base of how monsters are perceived, folkloric traditions that predate writing influence literary traditions. Works of history contain aspects of monstrosity, either literally or in how certain groups are described. Artistic renderings of monsters can also highlight the variety of interpretations of monstrosity. How and why monsters are formed, both as a concept and as a physical threat, has relevance across fields and eras. The panel should appeal to many areas of scholarship, particularly those that explore how gender, sexuality, and physical disabilities are presented as fearsome and monstrous.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form to session organizers Mary Leech (leechme@uc.edu) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

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Adorable Monsters in Medieval Culture (Roundtable)

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizers: Mary Leech, Tina Boyer and Asa Simon Mittman

 

Medieval Monstrosity is usually conceived as something that is physically dangerous or repulsive, often both. What happens when the monster is not physically dangerous, or is attractive? For example, when the loathly lady becomes beautiful, is she no longer dangerous? Is the threat she represented gone? Manuscript marginalia has many images of rabbits, dogs, goats, and adorable hybrid monsters engaging in violent behavior. What do images of domestic animals and otherwise delightful creatures possibly have to say about monstrosity in humans? By exploring monstrosity with attractive exteriors, this discussion will seek to analyze the hidden nature of monstrosity.

 

The panel will be most effective with a range of methodologies and fields. While literary descriptions are often the base of how monsters are perceived, folkloric traditions that predate writing influence literary traditions. Works of history contain aspects of monstrosity, either literally or in how certain groups are described. Artistic renderings of monsters can also highlight the variety of interpretations of monstrosity. Ideally, this panel will have participants from several different fields. The wider the range of participants, the more interesting the discussion will be for potential audience members. 

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form to session organizers Tina Boyer (boyertm@wfu.edu), Mary Leech (leechme@uc.edu), or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

Announcement:

New Series from Medieval Institute Press/ARC Humanities Press:
"Monsters, Prodigies, and Demons: Medieval and Early Modern Constructions of Alterity"

From the publisher's site:

"This series is dedicated to the study of monstrosity and alterity in the medieval and early modern world, and to the investigation of cultural constructions of otherness, abnormality and difference from a wide range of perspectives. Submissions are welcome from scholars working within established disciplines, including—but not limited to—philosophy, critical theory, cultural history, history of science, history of art and architecture, literary studies, disability studies, and gender studies. Since much work in the field is necessarily pluridisciplinary in its methods and scope, the editors are particularly interested in proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries. The series publishes English-language, single-author volumes and collections of original essays. Topics might include hybridity and hermaphroditism; giants, dwarves, and wild-men; cannibalism and the New World; cultures of display and the carnivalesque; “monstrous” encounters in literature and travel; jurisprudence, law, and criminality; teratology and the “New Science”; the aesthetics of the grotesque; automata and self-moving machines; or witchcraft, demonology, and other occult themes."

Upcoming and Past Panels 

Please see our most recent sessions at Kalamazoo, Leeds, and MAP below! For even earlier CFPs, please check our blog archives.
International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, 2019
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 9-12, 2019

 
Pills, Poisons, Potions, and Lotions: Marvelous Substances in the Middle Ages and Early Modernity
Organizers: Stefanie Goyette (Durham Academy) and Asa Simon Mittman (California State University, Chico)

 

Whether toxic or salubrious, applied to the skin or ingested, wondrous substances abound in medieval literary, medical, and religious cultures. An unguent makes Chrétien de Troyes’ Yvain entirely “human” again after he wanders for many months as a wild man; a love potion causes Tristan and Iseut’s cursed infatuation. Medieval medicine does not disdain saintly substances: the powdered earth from a stylite’s roost or the oil excreted from hallowed relics. Diabolical poisons could emanate from the eye or mouth of old women, requiring apotropaic deflection. Marvel or corruption, substances can induce or eliminate monstrosity, return subjects to their “natural” forms or exclude them from the social, and even human, order. Cosmetics or elixirs can conceal the monstrous body from prying eyes or reveal it to naive ones.

 

MEARCSTAPA strives as part of our mission to bring together different fields and methodological approaches to the studies of the monstrous and the marvelous. This panel seeks papers on medicines, poisons, and cosmetics, as well as less prosaic forms of antidote and toxin, asking how they manifest broader ideas about the human and the natural by making discourses visible on the body. We hope to bring together presenters from different fields of study with the goal of highlighting the role of powerful substances in constituting the human body (and mind) and not simply curing or killing it.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form to session organizers Stefanie Goyette (stefaniegoyette@gmail.com), or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

Toxic Masculinities: Creating, Enforcing, and Distorting Ideas of Manliness in

the Middle Ages

Co-sponsors: MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch

Organizers: Ana Grinberg (Auburn University) and Asa Simon Mittman (California

State University, Chico)

CFPs 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 9-12, 2019 Toxic Masculinities: Creating, Enforcing, and Distorting Ideas of Manliness in the Middle Ages Co-sponsors: MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch Organizers: Ana Grinberg (Auburn University) and Asa Simon Mittman (California State University, Chico)

Medieval narratives create norms for “men” and “manly” behavior that often resemble but are not identical to modern ones: masculinity is not a permanent or transhistorical category. Likewise, medieval codes for behavior that often appear to be gendered masculine, such as chivalric ones, may not be as closed as they seem. This panel intends to focus closely on medieval constructions of gender rather than modern or medievalist ones, although the topic is of special urgency as contemporary discourses that reinforce “toxic masculinities” frequently claim the historicity of the gender binary and argue that there are the positive social effects of supposedly “medieval” structures, such as formal courtship, enforced monogamy, and chivalry.

Medieval heroic narratives serve as cultural vessels of destructive male expression. Bisclavret mauls his wife’s face because she leaves him out of reasonable fear. Roland’s pride and his decision not to sound the Oliphant until the last moment only leads to the slaughter of his soldiers. King Arthur seeks to rectify his incestuous mistake via Herod(ian) style massacre. These characters engage in toxic behaviors, responding to social expectations of manliness.

As part of our mission to bring together different fields and methodological approaches, MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch seek to examine constructions of masculinity in the medieval world that destroys its subject, where it glorifies rape or violence as a means of restoration, or where, in other ways, it proves harmful to those caught in its restrictive ideologies.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form to session organizers Ana Grinberg (ana.grinberg.phd@gmail.com) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

MEARCSTAPA SPONSORED SESSIONS CALLS FOR PAPERS -  Leeds International Medieval Congress 2019
1-4 July, Leeds, UK
 

Monsters and Mental Health

Organisers: Kayla Kemhadjian and Renée Ward; Chair: Wendy Turner

In modern times, mental health issues, like monsters, are used in fictive discourses to create a binary of the ‘normal’. In some instances, mental health is exploited as a marker of the monstrous, if not the monster itself. Similar instances abound in the Middle Ages, when the border between mental health and the supernatural ran thin. This panel seeks to examine the interconnectedness of mental health and the monstrous. In doing so, this panel may uncover and examine medieval stigmas around mental health which still permeate western society.

 

We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions which examine all aspects and avenues this connection evokes. Topics may include:

  • The impact of mental health on the creation or understanding of the monstrous

  • Conditions that were perceived as monstrous

  • Conditions with monstrous origins or cures

  • The monster as a manifestation of mental illness

  • Monsters who create or illicit mental illnesses

  • Monsters as a stigma of mental health

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a brief bio to session organizers Kayla Kemhadjian (kaylakemhadjian@gmail.com) or Renée Ward (rward@lincoln.ac.uk) by the 31 August 2018. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts will be vetted by the MEARCSTAPA board and the full session will be submitted to the Congress mid-September 2018. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student/independent/unwaged submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the IMC.

 

Diversity Statement

As an organization dedicated to the study of marginalized communities and entities in the Middle Ages and beyond, MEARCSTAPA affirms its position on diversity, inclusion, and inquiry within all academic discourses. We support and embrace those who have been marginalized, excluded, and othered in medieval studies. We disavow hatred and intolerance. We walk the borders, but do not police them; we welcome your company.

 

Monsters and Materialities

Organizers: Asa Simon Mittman and Renée Ward

 

We seek papers to compose a session on the subject of “Monsters and Materialities” for the 2019 International Medieval Congress at Leeds. The Congress theme is “Materialities.”


 

Monsters abound in medieval culture, from giants to serpentine women and dog-headed saints. Often, monsters threaten communities through evocative ways; the most terrifying or even edifying monsters are those whose physical form is a mystery. Grendel terrorizes Heorot, but exact details of his physical appearance are unclear despite gestures towards his size, ferocity, and monstrosity. Yet monsters also frequently leave traces that suggest the magnitude of their physical presence. Early archaeological sites such as Maen Ceti (the 14 ft rock Arthur purportedly pulled from his shoe and threw away) speak to the gigantism often associated with Arthur’s figure, while the footprint embedded on the window sill and the trembling of the tower upon which Melusine perches emphasize the sheer weight of her winged and tailed body. In other cases, they leave behind more direct relics, such as the “griffon’s claw” associated with St. Cuthbert, or the many “unicorn horns” owned by European royalty as talismans against poison. Monstrous bodies were thought to exist in time and space; their presence is felt in real and palpable ways. No matter their size, these monsters leave their physical imprint upon the material structures of the world around them. However fantastic, however elusive, monsters exist in material and tangible ways—woven into tapestries, painted into frescoes, and melded into glass.

 

This panel seeks to examine the material aspect of monstrous beings in medieval culture, to uncover the impact of their presence in the world that imagines them in various forms. We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions that examine every aspect and avenue this connection evokes. Topics may include: literary representations that emphasize the material nature of monsters; material depictions of monsters in other media such as sculpture, architecture, tapestry, glassworks, frescoes, and paintings; and physical remains or archaeological artefacts associated with monstrous beings and myths and legends.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a brief bio to session organizers Asa Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) or Renée Ward (rward@lincoln.ac.uk) by the 31 August 2018. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts will be vetted by the MEARCSTAPA board and the full session will be submitted to the Congress mid-September 2018. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student/independent/unwaged submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the IMC.

 

Diversity Statement

As an organization dedicated to the study of marginalized communities and entities in the Middle Ages and beyond, MEARCSTAPA affirms its position on diversity, inclusion, and inquiry within all academic discourses. We support and embrace those who have been marginalized, excluded, and othered in medieval studies. We disavow hatred and intolerance. We walk the borders, but do not police them; we welcome your company.

  
MEARCSTAPA Sessions at Kalamazoo 2018

Monsters I: Immigration and Migration 

Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman

 

What happens when the monster—the outsider, the “othered” figure from not-here—arrives, settles, or is already here? When the supposed monsters appear on the shore and move into the house next door? Medieval groups grappled with this concern on a regular basis, as demonized groups were often on the move from one region to another. Sometimes, the groups in question were seen as arriving from distant locales: Jews in England, Muslims in Italy, and both in Spain; Mongols in Eastern Europe. Recent arrivals were often demonized by locals who themselves were rarely indigenous peoples: invaders pushed native populations out beyond their borders and were in turn pushed back by waves of new invaders. Each successive wave of immigrants, once settled, found ways to dehumanize the previous inhabitants – often depicted as autochthonous giants – and the next wave, making monsters out of migrants. Immigrants were viewed with suspicion and derision from populations fraught with their own anxieties of identity. The medieval world marginalized migrants and immigrants – foreign populations and native – because of what they feared in themselves. Rulers prop up their authority and consolidate their power by building walls of rhetoric to protect their own cultural identity from perceived threats and incursions, but what are the costs to those on each side? What can we learn from medieval moments of immigration and migration? Can we identify both errors to be avoided and exemplars of inclusivity to be emulated?

 

We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the ICMS.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to session organizer Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

 

Monsters II: “Ten Years of Teratology: A MEARCSTAPA Retrospective”

Organizers: Melissa Ridley Elmes and Asa Simon Mittman

 

Ten years ago, MEARCSTAPA was formed at a convivial gathering at the ICMS, in response to what the founders perceived to be a need for more study of monsters and monstrosity in medieval culture. Since then, we have witnessed an explosion of such scholarship; panels on monster-related subjects at almost every major conference; a journal (Preternature); and an imprint (MIP/ARC’s Monsters, Prodigies, and Demons: Medieval and Early Modern Constructions of Alterity); and the Research Companion to Monster Studies, co-edited by MEARCSTAPA president Asa Mittman, enjoys robust sales. Having sponsored two or three well-attended sessions per year for the past ten years at Kalamazoo—sessions on monstrosity and gender, and materiality, tricksters, reproduction, monstrous children, ethnic passing, hauntings, flaying, monstrous disability, and the standing-room only roundtable on “Monster Culture: Seven Theses”—MEARCSTAPA proposes a tenth anniversary retrospective roundtable featuring former contributors to our sessions to return and discuss their past research in light of the ways in which monster studies have developed since and new voices in the field to point the way forward. We will map where we have been, where we are, and where we might go in the future.

 

We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the ICMS.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to session organizers Melissa Ridley Elmes (madamemedievalist@gmail.com) and Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

 

Monsters III: Monstrous Medievalism: Toxic Appropriations of the Middle Ages in Modern Popular Culture and Thought

Organizers: Ilan Mitchell-Smith and Asa Simon Mittman

 

The medieval period continues to be misidentified both as a primitive ‘dark age’ and as an idealized utopian golden age of racial and religious homogeny. In both cases, aspects of medieval culture are appropriated and reimagined in ways that celebrate and promote the othering of certain racial and ethnic groups or cultures. Medievalists should be uncomfortable that we share some interests with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other groups dedicated to the oppression, segregation, and even elimination of racial and ethnic groups or cultures. Medievalists should feel even more uncomfortable when this othering—intentional or otherwise—becomes common popular culture medievalisms that use the Middle Ages—our Middle Ages—to advance their racist agendas, resulting in malicious acts against individuals and groups. In short, the Middle Ages are often put to monstrous work in modern popular thought and culture. These monstrous medievalisms use the period to foster some of the most pernicious ideologies of the present day and distort our understanding of the past. We ask, whose Middle Ages are they? And in so doing, we seek to confront these monstrous medievalisms, to unravel and make sense of them in order to dismantle the negative work they do. Papers for this panel might address topics such as: Appropriations of the medieval image and narrative in Nazi propaganda; Contemporary White Pride/White Nationalist appropriations of the medieval symbols and signs (tattoos, banners, album covers, banners); Racist responses to inclusion in “Medieval” film; The medieval fantasies of white identity in the Anglo-Saxon enthusiasm of the founding fathers; Racialized Monsters in the contemporary medieval fantasy; Race War as trope in Ancient and Medieval period films, video games, and/or books; and "Unintentional" rehearsals of racist ideologies in popular media.

 

We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the ICMS.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to sessions organizer Ilan Mitchell-Smith (Ilan.MitchellSmith@csulb.edu) and Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

Diversity Statement

As an organization dedicated to the study of marginalized communities and entities in the Middle Ages and beyond, MEARCSTAPA affirms its position on diversity, inclusion, and inquiry within all academic discourses. We support and embrace those who have been marginalized, excluded, and othered in medieval studies. We disavow hatred and intolerance. We walk the borders, but do not police them; we welcome your company.

Sponsored Sessions at Leeds International Medieval Congress 2018
2-5 July, Leeds, UK
Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA
Monstrous Medievalism: Toxic Appropriations of the Middle Ages in Modern Popular Culture and Thought

 

MEARCSTAPA seeks papers to compose a session of 3 or 4 papers to the 2018 International Medieval Congress at Leeds. The Congress theme is “Memory.” Our hope is that this session will run as a twin-session to our proposed panel for Kalamazoo 2018 on Monstrous Medievalisms.

 

The medieval period continues to be misidentified both as a primitive and savage ‘dark ages’ and as an idealized utopian golden age of racial and religious homogeny. In both cases, aspects of medieval culture—stories, motifs, and themes—are appropriated and reimagined (that is, remembered and reconstructed) in ways that celebrate and promote the othering of certain racial and ethnic groups or cultures. Medievalists should be made uncomfortable by the realization that we share some interests with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other groups dedicated to the oppression, segregation, and even elimination of racial and ethnic groups or cultures.  Medievalists should feel even more uncomfortable when this othering—intentional or otherwise—becomes common in the presentation of the Middle Ages in various popular cultural media.

 

These medievalisms use the Middle Ages—our Middle Ages—to advance their racist agendas, which have frequently resulted in malicious acts against individuals and groups. In short, the Middle Ages are often put to monstrous work in modern popular thought and culture, frequently used by one community to attack another. The Middle Ages thus become othered and estranged from the scholars who study and teach from positions of acceptance and inclusion.  These monstrous medievalisms use the period to foster some of the most pernicious ideologies of the present day and distort our understanding of the past. We ask, whose Middle Ages are they? And in so doing, we seek to confront these monstrous medievalisms, to unravel and make sense of them in order to dismantle the negative work they do.

 

  • Papers for this panel might address topics such as:
    Appropriations of the medieval image and narrative in Nazi propaganda

  • Contemporary White Pride/White Nationalist appropriations of the medieval symbols and signs (tattoos, banners, album covers, banners)

  • Racist responses to inclusion in “Medieval” film

  • The medieval fantasies of white identity in the Anglo-Saxon enthusiasm of the founding fathers

  • Racialized Monsters in the contemporary medieval fantasy

  • Race War as trope in Ancient and Medieval period films, video games, and/or books

  • "Unintentional" rehearsals of racist ideologies in popular media

 

We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the IMC.

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a brief bio to session organizer Renée Ward (rward@lincoln.ac.uk) by 31 August 2017. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts will be vetted by the MEARCSTAPA board and the full session will be submitted to the Congress mid-September 2017.

Sponsored Sessions at Medieval Association of the Pacific (MAP) Conference 2018
13-15 April, Las Vegas, Nevada
Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA 
Collecting the Monstrous

Medieval and early modern history, art, and literature often depict collections of strange, uncanny, or monstrous things. Bestiaries sometimes depict exotic animals or monstrous, composite creatures; those in the relic trade (such as Chaucer’s Pardoner) boasted collections of relics and other “miraculous” items, some of which were gruesome. Monastic houses and churches guarded proudly their (supposedly authentic) relics and other collections of ephemera, and developed sensational and shocking stories about these objects. Witch hunters and Inquisitors of the early modern period sometimes kept macabre souvenirs of those they interrogated, such as purported pacts with the devil, witch bottles, and other types of physical “evidence” of hexes or spells. Such collections both contributed to and inhibited the development of early modern antiquarianism in the period 1500-1700.

 

What is the belief system or thought process behind the accumulation of objects that are “othered” by an association with the uncanny or monstrous? What spiritual or psychological effects were they meant to have on their collectors and their beholders? The issue of authenticity is problematic, as strange beasts in bestiaries, relics for sale, confiscated satanic accoutrements and objects at the center of a church’s strange story were usually not genuine. What relationship did medieval and early modern collectors of objects have with the concept of authenticity when it came to the collection of objects considered to be uncanny or macabre? How do their attitudes about authenticity affect those of the 21st century scholar of medieval and early modern studies? What are the challenges of communicating the accumulation of uncanny or monstrous collections of objects to students? Moreover, what are modern scholars to do with such objects when they turn up in museums, churches, or universities? The precursors to our modern museums were early modern cabinets of curiosity, filled with strange and wondrous curios from throughout the world. How do these origins linger in present institutions?  MEARCSTAPA seeks papers that examine the collecting of items that are considered uncanny, preternatural, or monstrous in medieval or early modern history, art, or literature in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, or Asia.

 

Please send proposals of 300 words by October 25, 2017 to Thea Tomaini at tmtomaini@gmail.com and Asa Simon Mittman at asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu.

MEARCSTAPA SPONSORED SESSIONS at Kalamazoo 2017
Monsters I: Material Monsters
Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA
Organizers: Melissa Ridley Elmes, Ana Grinberg, and Asa Simon Mittman

 


The recent scholarly turn towards greater consideration of the material culture of the premodern world demands an equivalent attention to the place of the monstrous within that scholarship. This session invites twenty-minute papers from any discipline that locate, interpret, and analyze the materiality of monsters and monstrosity in medieval and early modern cultures. We invite consideration of the materiality of monsters, as well as of the media used to create representations thereof. Papers might examine monstrous figures represented on or shown wearing textiles, as made of or wielding wood or metal, or as fundamentally tied to their manuscript or architectural contexts. Medieval authors and modern scholars often see an essential connection between monsters and their physical embodiment. Most discussions have centered, following Augustine and Isidore, on vision. We invite consideration all material properties of monsters, and of all the senses in our reception of the monstrous. 

 Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: http://www.wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2016/medieval-pif-2017.pdf) to session organizers Melissa Ridley Elmes (madamemedievalist@gmail.com), Ana Grinberg (ana.grinberg.phd@gmail.com), or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 Monsters II: Immaterial Monsters
Co-sponsors: MEARCSTAPA, Societas Daemonetica
Session Organizers: Richard Ford Burley, Nicole Ford Burley, and Asa Simon Mittman


The recent scholarly turn towards greater consideration of the material culture of the Middle Ages paradoxically also draws attention back to the places where materiality is strikingly absent. Monsters are often seen by medieval and modern commentators as inextricably linked with their embodiment, and yet are frequently insubstantial. Whether referring to invisible and intangible ghostly visitors from purgatory and other members of the ethereal undead, the borrowed tangibility of the demonically possessed, nigh-visiting succubi and incubi, or the displacement of the monstrous to the geographical margins in maps and stories, the disturbing presence of monstrosity’s physical absence leaves its traces throughout the Middle Ages and demands our present attention. This session seeks answers to the question this raises: how can something so absent and immaterial nevertheless possess agency, influencing individuals and cultures? To this end, this session invites fifteen- to twenty-minute papers from any discipline that analyze and interpret immaterialmonsters and monstrosity in medieval texts and contexts. Papers may examine any aspect of the topic (broadly conceived), including but not limited to the immaterial, absent, or displaced monster in literature, art, history, theology or any combination thereof.
 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: http://www.wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2016/medieval-pif-2017.pdf) to session organizers Richard Ford Burley (richard.ford.burley@gmail.com), Nicole Ford Burley (nicole.ford.burley@gmail.com), or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

Monsters III: Monstrous Acts of Heroism (A Roundtable)
Cosponsors: MEARCSTAPA, The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe
Session Organizers: Deanna Forsman and Asa Simon Mittman

 

Are there times when heroic acts might, from another perspective, be seen as monstrous? How are Crusader tales narrated in Muslim sources, expulsion tales in Jewish sources, battles from the losing side, slaying tales told by dragons? If we listen for the subaltern to speak, what will we hear? Can we hear the legitimate laments of Grendel's mother, or understand the actions of Lanval's fairy lover? How did retinues of “Saracen” princes perceive the oft-valorized scenes of conversion? Should we praise St. Patrick for cursing inlets and killing the local “wizards” upon his arrival in Ireland? Other saints are valorized for acts of mortification, self-mutilation, and willful starvation. What do we learn if we shift our perspectives, if we re-view these images and narratives from other angles? We invite panelists for a roundtable on “Monstrous Acts of Heroism,” and welcome analysis of surviving texts and images, as well as creative and speculative retellings of medieval tales.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: http://www.wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2016/medieval-pif-2017.pdf) to session organizers Deanna Forsman (dforsman@nhcc.edu) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

CFP of Interest - Call for Contributions
Memoria Europae

Special Issue on "Protagonistas no-humanos de la vida medieval: animales, monstruos y sus significados en la Edad Media" ["Non-human protagonists of the medieval life: animals, monsters and their meanings in the Middle Ages"]

 

The researches developed in the last years have shown that the animals and the monsters had a very important role in different medieval societies, a role that was much more transcendent then than in the societies of today's world. Indeed, the non-human inhabitants of the medieval world occupied a very relevant place in the thought of the men of those times, because they considered that these beings had several meanings whose discovering, and interpretation, could contribute to the comprehension of the divine face of the tangible world. However, this is only one of the functions that they had–from giving prestige to the nobility families, through its exhibition in the heraldry -such as the case of the lion-, to mark the boundaries of the known world -such as sea snakes-, it's impossible for us certainly obviate, as an object of scientific study, the medieval animals and monsters. For this reason, in the journal Memorial Europae we have arranged that the main section of the next number is dedicated to them, and we invite researchers who want to contribute with the Dossier to submit their contributions.

 

http://www.memoriaeuropae.unsj.edu.ar/ 

MEARCSTAPA SPONSORED SESSION at Medieval Association of the Pacific 50th Anniversary Conference 2016: "Locating Identities"

 

March 31-April 2, 2016
Hosted by the University of California, Davis

 

SESSION DETAILS:

Saturday April 2

Session VI: 11:45 – 1:00 pm
Ballroom C
Presider: Marijane Osborne (emerita, University of California, Davis)
 

"It tells us that the casket was made from the bone of a beached whale"
Asa Mittman and Susan Kim (California State University, Chico and Illinois State University)

"Her, Hic, H•r: Where in the World is the Franks Casket?"
Susan Kim and Asa Mittman (Illinois State University and California State University, Chico)

"Intersex vs. Hermaphrodite: Taking Another Look"
Kim Zarins  (California State University, Sacramento)
 

MEARCSTAPA SPONSORED SESSION at Kalamazoo 2016: "The Beast with Two Backs: Monstrous Sex in the Middle Ages"

 

SESSION DETAILS:

Session 510

Sunday May 15, 8:30am

Schneider 1160

 

Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico; Jacqueline Stuhmiller, Univ. of California–Berkeley

Presider: Jacqueline Stuhmiller

 

"Beastly Desires: Heteronormative Correctives in Marie de France’s Guigemar, Bisclavret, and Yonec" - L. Kip Wheeler, Carson-Newman Univ.

 

"Bestiality, Bodies, and Boundaries in Medieval Scandinavia" - Christine Ekholst, Univ. of Guelph

 

"Show Us Your Naughty Bits: Signs of Erasure in Monstrously Erotic Mélusine Images" - Lydia Zeldenrust, Queen Mary, Univ. of London

 

CFP:

According to medieval religious mores and doctrines, married heterosexual couples were only allowed to have sex in certain positions, under certain circumstances, and for certain reasons. Any sexual practices that did not conform to these strict rules were sinful and beastly – in a word, monstrous.  MEARCSTAPA invites papers that are occupied with monstrous medieval sex, broadly interpreted.  Possible topics could range from illicit unions, non-normative sexual positions, and sexual violence all the way to what we would today consider to be “paraphilias,” including teratophilia (a sexual attraction to monsters or the monstrous) itself.  Sources of monstrous sex might include records of homosexual relationships, legal records regarding marriage with intersex individuals, prostitution, sexual acts associated with witchcraft, possible cases of child abuse, and punishments meted out in penitential manuals, the sexual play within fabliaux, charivaris, Carnival, and the representation of all manners of couplings in the images of Gothic marginalia, carved misericords, and other sites of visual play.

 

MEARCSTAPA AND ASIMS Co-SPONSORED SESSION CFP at Kalamazoo 2016: "Female Tricksters"

 

SESSION DETAILS

Session 319

Friday May 13, 3:30pm

Bernhard 158

 

American Society of Irish Medieval Studies (ASIMS); Monsters: The Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory and Practical Application (MEARCSTAPA)

Organizer: Larissa Tracy, Longwood Univ.; Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico

Presider: Sarah L. Higley, Univ. of Rochester

 

"The Vexing Problem of Corporeality and the Badb in Irish Bardic Poetry" -  Elizabeth Kempton, St. Louis Univ.

 

"A “Tretis” for Tricksters: Figuring the Female in Middle Scots Verse" - Lucy R. Hinnie, Univ. of Edinburgh

 

"Tricky Nicolette and Her Unstable Identity" - Ana Grinberg, East Tennessee State Univ.

 

CFP:

The trickster, who conquers by cunning and not force, inhabits a complex moral/ethical world and seems to provoke a culture already steeped in cruelty and punishment in order to enact his/her own cruelty and punishment. The trickster in the “Beast Epic” gratifies his brute desires at the expense of others for fun and sadism, and is often punished for doing so in order to restore order to a damaged cultural body, but also to expose its injustices and hypocrisies. It has been suggested by Joan Acocella in the New Yorker that that the only kind of creature that can’t be a trickster is a woman, and yet medieval literature is rife with female tricksters of all kinds—particularly in fabliaux and Celtic fairy lore where the hero is defeated by a woman’s underhanded magic or rewarded by his ability to deal with her.

This session engages the challenge set forth by Acocella to locate and examine female tricksters in medieval culture. What role does the female trickster/monster play in it? The Morrígan of The Táin takes multiple animal shapes, as does Cerridwen of Welsh tradition. Acocella mentions Alison of The Miller’s Tale, but not the Wife of Bath or her model, La Vieille of Roman de la Rose; nor Dame Sirith; nor the monstrous loathly ladies in Irish and Middle English literature; nor the ugly, otherworldly woman in The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel who brings down the hapless Conaire. Hags and widows are relentlessly portrayed as “cunning women.” Women of the Old French fabliaux beguile and trick their witless spouses and lovers through a variety of means. In short, female tricksters abound in the medieval literary traditions all over the world.

 

Session of Interest:

Gender and Emotion

Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2016
The University of Hull

6th – 8th January 2016

Call for Papers

 

The grief-stricken faces at Edward’s deathbed in the Bayeux Tapestry; the ambiguous ‘ofermod’ in The Battle of Maldon; the body-crumpling anguish of the Virgin witnessing the Man of Sorrows; the mirth of the Green Knight; the apoplectic anger of the mystery plays’ Herod and the visceral visionary experiences of Margery of Kempe all testify to the ways in which the medieval world sought to express, perform, idealise and understand emotion.

Yet while such expressions of emotion are frequently encountered by medievalists working across the disciplines, defining, quantifying and analysing the purposes of emotion and its relationship to gender often proves difficult.  Are personal items placed in early Anglo Saxon graves a means for the living to let go of, or perpetuate emotion, and how are these influenced by the body in the grave?  Do different literary and historical forms lend themselves to diverse ways of expressing men’s and women’s emotion?  How does a character expressing emotion on stage or in artwork use body, gender and articulation to communicate emotion to their viewer?  Moreover, is emotion viewed differently depending on the gendered identity of the body expressing it?  Is emotion and its reception used to construct, deconstruct, challenge or confirm gender identities?

This conference seeks to explore the manifestations, performances and functions of emotion in the early to late Middle Ages, and to examine the ways in which emotion is gendered and used to construct gender identities. 

Proposals are now being accepted for 20 minute papers.  Topics to consider may include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender and emotional expression: representing and performing emotion

  • The emotional body

  • Philosophies of emotion: theory and morality

  • Emotional objects and vessels of emotion

  • Language and emotion and the languages of emotion

  • Preserving or perpetuating emotion

  • Emotions to be dealt with: repressing, curtailing, channelling, transforming

  • Forbidden emotion

  • Living through (someone else’s) emotion

  • The emotions of war and peace

  • The emotive ‘other’

  • Place and emotion

  • Queer emotion

We welcome scholars from a range of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, archaeology and drama.  A travel fund is available for postgraduate students who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Please email proposals of no more than 300 words to organiser Daisy Black at d.black@hull.ac.uk by the 7th September 2015.  All queries should also be directed to this address.  Please also include biographical information detailing your name, research area, institution and level of study (if applicable).

Further details will be available on the conference website:

www.medievalgender.co.uk

 

Volume of interest:

Monsters of Film, Fiction, and Fable -- Edited Collection

full name / name of organization:

Lisa Wenger Bro / Middle Georgia State University

contact email:

lisa.bro@mga.edu

Monsters of Film, Fiction, and Fable: The Cultural Links between the Human and Inhuman

 

This proposed collection will explore the cultural implications of and the societal fears and desires associated with the literal monsters of fiction, television, and movies. Long tied to ideas of the Other, the inhuman have represented societal fears for centuries. While this depiction of inhuman as Other still persists today, postmodern times also saw a radical shift in the portrayals and long-held associations. The postmodern monster is by no means soft and cuddly; nevertheless, its depiction has evolved. Veering from the traditional, “us vs. them” dynamic, many contemporary works illustrate what posthuman theorists refer to as the “them” in “us” correlation. These new monsters, often found in urban fantasy, eradicate the stark separation between human and inhuman as audiences search for the similarities between themselves and their much beloved monster characters. The shifted portrayal also means that these select, postmodern monsters no longer highlight cultural fears, but rather cultural hopes, dreams, desires, and even humanity’s own inhumanity. This does not mean that the pure monsters of horror are eradicated in contemporary renderings. Instead, they too have evolved over the course of the 20th and 21st century, highlighting everything from socioeconomic anxieties to issues related to humanity and human nature.

 

Given the many and varied implications of the inhuman in media and their long and diverse history, this volume will examine the cultural connotations of the monstrous, focusing specifically on the monsters of modernism and postmodernism.

 

In particular, we are looking to fill in certain gaps, and welcome articles related to the following monsters:

 

  • Ghosts

  • Leviathons/behemoths—anything from Mothra to Dragons

  • Science Fiction related monsters such as artificial intelligence and cyborgs

 

The proposal for this collection is in progress, and will be submitted once selections are made.

 

Please email the following to Lisa Wenger Bro (lisa.bro@mga.edu) by Thursday, April 30:

  • a 300-350 word abstract

  • a brief biography

  • the estimated length of the full article

  • the number of illustrations, if any, you will use (note, it will be up to individual authors to secure rights to images)

 

Full articles will be due by June 30. All accepted articles will be peer-reviewed.

 

Call for Papers: Medieval Association of the Pacific (MAP) 2015

 

Session: The Treachery of (Monstrous) Images: This is Not a Monster

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizers: Asa Mittman, California State University Chico, and Thea Cervone, University of Southern California

 Presider: Thea Cervone

 

Rene Magritte’s famous 1928/9 painting “The Treachery of Images” challenges its experiencer. It depicts a pipe, yet it declares, “This is Not a Pipe.” Monstrous images can be similarly tricky and challenging, especially when the subjectivities of a community or culture are concerned. The experience of an encounter with the monstrous is often met with a series of questions about the validity of that experience; these questions stem from both the individual and his/her community. Such questions often challenge the authenticity of human perception, experience, and authority. A person might decide that something considered to be monstrous by others is not monstrous in his or her own sight. A community might decide that it sees one thing while others outside their community see something else. MEARCSTAPA seeks papers that examine this difficult issue as it appears in literature, drama, art, history, and folklore. Specifically, when is the reader/audience/viewer/experiencer presented with monstrosity in a manner that seems straightforward, only to be told by others that there is no monstrosity there? When or how does a poet, artist, polemicist, folklorist, or dramatist depict monstrosity and then deny its presence? When or how does a society develop a denial of monstrosity that is clearly in its midst? When or how does an individual determine that, although others see monstrosity, he or she does not? How do such determinations, denials, and depictions reflect the larger relationship between human experience, bodies of authority, and occult belief systems? Send abstracts of 250 words or less to Thea Cervone at tmcervone@gmail.com and Asa Mittman at asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu.

 

 

Call for Papers: International Medieval Congress Leeds, England, 6-9 July 2015

Reforming Monsters

From St. Christopher, the cynocephalus martyr, to the Wonders of the East and their cultural lessons, encountering the monstrous is frequently part of medieval rhetorics of reform as such monsters provide alternatives, comparisons, and threats to individual and social behaviors. In line with the IMC Leeds theme "Reform and Renewal" for 2015, this session seeks proposals treating with monstrous encounters that have or experience a reforming effect.

Submissions should explore aspects of medieval and early modern literary and visual culture in respect to concepts of reform/renewal and monstrosity, widely understood.

To submit send a 300 word abstract and short CV to Tina Boyer, boyertm@wfu.edu and Christopher Maslanka, christopher.maslanka@marquette.edu by September 20th, 2014. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself and note if you will need any AV or other necessary equipment.

This special session is organized by MEARCSTAPA: an organization committed to the scholarly examination of monstrosity as an area of social and cultural interest to past and present societies. Our inter/trans/post/pre-disciplinary approach allows us to explore the significance of monstrosity across cultural, temporal, and geographic boundaries. We are interested in a multivalent approach using materials on monsters and monstrosity from literary, artistic, philosophical, and historical sources.

 

 

Call For Papers—TEMA (Texas Medieval Association) 2015

 

Session: Monstrous Women in the Middle Ages

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizers: Pamela Patton (Southern Methodist University) and Andrea Nichols (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) Presiders: Pamela Patton and Andrea Nichols

 

In Nomadic Subjects (1994), Rosi Braidotti wrote: “Woman, as sign of difference, is monstrous.” In the medieval world, a similar notion was explored in multiple medieval cultures by works—visual, verbal, and performative—that assert the exceptionality of female bodies, communities, and practices against a male norm. In line with this year’s Texas Medieval Association (TEMA) theme “Interdisciplinarity in the Age of Relevance," MEARCSTAPA invites papers that focus upon the instances in which women are presented as either literal or figurative monsters, as found in images or texts from medieval Europe and contiguous cultures in Africa and Asia. We seek to explore, in particular, how the conjunction of gender and monstrosity introduced issues of sexualization, exoticism, or vilification revealing of larger societal anxieties. By bringing together cases from multiple disciplines, time frames, and geographies, this panel aims to provide a more global view of monstrous women and the issues that surround them. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, with a brief bio, to andrea.nichols@huskers.unl.edu by September 1, 2014. For more information on TEMA, see http://www.texasmedieval.org/ For more information on MEARCSTAPA, see http://www.mearcstapa.org/wp/

 

 

Calls for Papers - Kalamazoo 2015

 

Session: Monsters I: De/Coupling Monstrosity and Disability 

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizers: Asa Simon Mittman, California State University, Chico; Rick Godden, Tulane University

Presider: Rick Godden

 

It has been famously argued that there was no conception in the Middle Ages of the disabled as it would accord with modern notions of embodied difference. In looking for figures of the disabled and the deformed, scholars in medieval disability studies have often looked to monstrosity as an overlapping, if not entirely identical category. We are looking for papers that address the intersection of monstrosity and disability in provocative and searching ways. We especially encourage papers that do not simply collapse these two categories but rather look to interrogate the convergence and divergence of the monstrous and the impaired. What is the effect of reading monsters as disabled and the disabled as monstrous? How does the coupling of these two Othered figures obscure important features? How does reading them together illuminate the social and cultural processes by which difference is constructed? We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here:http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/)
to session organizer Richard Godden (rick.godden@gmail.com) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

 

Session: Monsters II: Passing as the Monster

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizers: Asa Simon Mittman, California State University, Chico; Thea Cervone, University of Southern California

Presider: Thea Cervone, University of Southern California

 

There are many aspects of the phenomenon of “passing,” but one aspect that is often overlooked is that of a human being “passing” as a supernatural creature or monster. MEARCSTAPA seeks papers that explore situations in which a person (or group of people) dons a disguise, tells a lie, makes a pretense, puts on a performance, or engages in trickery in order to convince others that he or she is a representative of the occult world. In what situations, or for what reasons does a person pretend to be a ghost or revenant? Why might a person pose as a faerie or member of the invisible world? Why does a person pretend to be possessed; or more so, pretend to be a demon or devil? Why might a person perpetrate a monster hoax? And why would anyone pretend to be a witch or sorcerer? These situations can be found throughout the literature, drama, art, history, polemic, and folklore of the medieval and early modern periods. What meaning is communicated by such frauds? What does the discovery of such a disguise, lie, or performance tell us about the subjectivities and presuppositions of monster belief? What does it tell us about the relationship between monster belief and the community that harbors it? How do such disguisings affect other aspects of monstrosity in these genres? How do these situations fit into the larger field of monster studies? Papers should be focused on humans engaged in disguise or deceit as occult figures, supernatural creatures, or otherwise preternatural beings. Contact Asa Mittman asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu or Thea Cervone cervone@usc.edu.

 

 

Affiliate Session: Teaching the Fabliau Tradition to Undergraduates (Session CANCELLED)

Sponsor: Société Fabléors

Organizers: Mary Leech (University of Cincinnati), Stefanie Goyette (MIT)

Presider: Thea Cervone (USC)

 

The fabliaux are an essential part of the medieval literary landscape, and Nathanial Dubin’s 2013 English translation of Old French fabliaux has made a significant number of the stories accessible to teachers and students. These tales present an aspect of medieval literature often unexpected by undergraduates: images of peasants, ribaldry, obscene jokes, scatological humor, and parody of courtly themes. Yet the very elements that provide counterpoints to the epic and romance often render the fabliaux tricky to teach, as they require navigation of their obscenity, misogyny (and occasional misandry), and what may be perceived as “juvenile” or worthless subjects. The stories called “fabliaux” are also thematically diverse, including pious and moralizing tales (“La Housse partie”), tales of sexual exploit and initiation (“Boivin de Provins,” “L’esquiriel”), tales of extreme misogyny and violence towards women (“La Dame escoillée”), and tales of the joys and perils of scatology and coprophagy (“Jouglet,” “De la crote”).

How, then, to speak of a genre of fabliaux and to guide students through the stunning diversity of these stories, as well as their shared characteristics? With the wealth of translations and editions in French and English, how to choose texts for a course and according to which guidelines for language? What differences arise in teaching the fabliaux in the French (and German, Spanish, Latin, or Italian) classroom and in the English classroom? How to modify approaches to the fabliaux in an introductory or survey course and in an advanced-level course on medieval literature?

This panel invites papers considering the challenges of teaching the fabliaux and similar genres – the German Schwanke and Mæren, the Latin ridicula, the Italian/Latin fazetiae, and the later nouvelle tradition (as in the Cent nouvelles nouvelles) – as well as the fabliaux’ continuing influence on European literary traditions.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here:http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/)
to session organizer Mary Leech (leechme@uc.edu) or Stefanie Goyette (sgoyette@mit.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

 

Call for Papers: Medieval Association of the Pacific (MAP) 2015

 

Session: The Treachery of (Monstrous) Images: This is Not a Monster

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizer and Presider: Thea Cervone, University of Southern California

 

Rene Magritte’s famous 1928/9 painting “The Treachery of Images” challenges its experiencer. It depicts a pipe, yet it declares, “This is Not a Pipe.” Monstrous images can be similarly tricky and challenging, especially when the subjectivities of a community or culture are concerned. The experience of an encounter with the monstrous is often met with a series of questions about the validity of that experience; these questions stem from both the individual and his/her community. Such questions often challenge the authenticity of human perception, experience, and authority. A person might decide that something considered to be monstrous by others is not monstrous in his or her own sight. A community might decide that it sees one thing while others outside their community see something else. MEARCSTAPA seeks papers that examine this difficult issue as it appears in literature, drama, art, history, and folklore. Specifically, when is the reader/audience/viewer/experiencer presented with monstrosity in a manner that seems straightforward, only to be told by others that there is no monstrosity there? When or how does a poet, artist, polemicist, folklorist, or dramatist depict monstrosity and then deny its presence? When or how does a society develop a denial of monstrosity that is clearly in its midst? When or how does an individual determine that, although others see monstrosity, he or she does not? How do such determinations, denials, and depictions reflect the larger relationship between human experience, bodies of authority, and occult belief systems?

Send abstracts to: Asa Mittman asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu or Thea Cervone cervone@usc.edu.

 

 

Call For Papers—SEMA 2014

Clayton State University, Atlanta, GA

Oct. 16-18, 2014

 

Session: Medieval Transportation and its Monstrous Manifestations

Sponsor: MEARCSTAPA

Organizer: Bernard Lewis

 

Travel in the Middle Ages was not for the faint of heart. Because of the unsavory characters who made their living robbing travelers, even the wealthy limited their time on the road to daylight hours. Clearly, the “felaweshipe” of Chaucer’s pilgrims was every bit as practical as it was pleasant. Beyond these practicalities, the forests and byways were alive with otherworldly things – sometimes visible, most times not. Rape and fairy abductions were also a constant threat. Cartographers carefully mapped the sea monsters as well as the land masses to warn unsuspecting sailors.

 

Besides the monstrous things that might befall travelers, modes of transportation might be monstrous as well. Examples include Chiron beating the dead as he ferries them across the River Styx; Angels falling from Heaven in the medieval plays; corpses traveling in dung wagons; ships that propel themselves; the general traffic between this world and the other world; and, if we are to believe Geoffrey of Monmouth, Merlin’s transport of Stonehenge from Ireland to England.

 

This session will consider papers that explore transportation in all its monstrous medieval manifestations. Abstracts of 250 words should be sent to Bernard Lewis: blewis@murraystate.edu

 

Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself.

 

Deadline: June 1, 2014

 

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR AN EDITED VOLUME

Title: Murder Most Foul: Medieval and Early Modern Homicide

Editor: Larissa Tracy

 

Medieval society, not unlike its modern descendants, was plagued with a series of crimes both petty and capital. Murder, one of the worst crimes imaginable because it involves robbing another of life, has captivated audiences and communities since the earliest law codes were established, or at least since the first interaction between people. But in the medieval period, murder had very specific legal parameters depending on time, culture, geography, and legal structures. This volume explores the variety of circumstances associated with murder in the Middle Ages ranging from law, literature, art, punishments, justifications, and prohibitions, to iconography, and material culture. Papers on manslaughter, assassins, and crimes of passion as well as premeditated murder will be considered. Essays that delve into early modern accounts or depictions of murder, particularly on the stage, are also welcome. Abstracts covering any aspect of literal murder from the early medieval to the early modern period will be considered.

 

* Please submit abstracts of 250 words by May 1, 2014 to Larissa Tracy (kattracy@comcast.net or tracylc@longwood.edu) * Please include your affiliation and brief bio with your abstract. * Please include your last name in the file name.

 

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR AN EDITED VOLUME

Title: Dealing with the Dead: Community and Mortality in the Middle Ages, Editor: Thea Cervone

 

Call for abstracts for chapters to be included in an upcoming volume on Death in Medieval and Early Modern art, history, and culture.

 

For people of all classes in medieval and early modern England death was a constant, visible presence. It was part of everyday life and there were reminders everywhere of its inevitability: injury and accidents, illness and disease, public executions, and the tragedies of death in childbirth and infant mortality. Yet, the acknowledgement of the fact of death, despite its undeniable reality, did not necessarily amount to an acceptance of its finality. Whether they were commoners, clergy, aristocrats, or kings, the dead continued to function literally as integrated members of their communities long after they lay in their graves.

 

From stories of revenants bringing pleas from Purgatory to the living, to the practical uses of the charnel house; from the remains of the executed on public display, to the proclamation of an aristocratic dynasty’s authority over the living via its dead, we are looking for papers that discuss how communities dealt with their dead as continual, albeit non-living members. We are interested in interdisciplinary studies that illustrate unexpected situations and under-researched persons, periods, and events in art, literature, archaeology, and history. We are also interested in papers that argue against stereotypical or outdated presumptions about the relationships between the premodern dead and their fellow community members above ground. How do 21st century scholars deal with the medieval and early modern dead?

 

Papers are open to any discipline of the humanities and also to the disciplines of paleography and archaeology. Papers are also open medieval and early modern cultures outside Europe. Please send abstracts of 300 words to Thea Cervone, University of Southern California at theacervone@outlook.com by 1 March 2014

 

 

Calls For Papers:  International Congress of Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo
May 8-11, 2014
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)

MONSTERS I: Monstrous Gender

Recent trends in monster scholarship are developing a strong focus on the imbrications of monstrosity and gender. We are looking for papers that address the intersection of gender and monstrosity in interesting, unusual, provocative and meaningful ways. We especially encourage papers that seek to move beyond the more traditional uses of monster and gender theories in medieval studies to consider how these categories of thinking can intersect, challenge, problematize, corroborate, support, and inform one another. Interdisciplinary approaches including but not limited to the consideration of monstrous gender in literature, language, history, art history, architecture, philosophy, religion, politics, and/or cultural studies are highly welcome. 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here:  http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/) to session organizers Melissa Ridley Elmes (maelmes@uncg.edu) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself.  Abstracts will be posted to the MEARCSTAPA blog, and all abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.


MONSTERS II: Parallel Worlds: Monstrous Voyages, Monstrous Visitors

Refraction, reflection, intrusion, illusion, overlay, visitation, wandering, straying: parallel worlds double and haunt medieval landscapes, providing voyage destinations and otherworldly visitors. Medieval worlds are not unitary or univocal, as refugees seek Torelore and the Pays de Cocagne; as chroniclers record or imagine far-off Carthage and Jerusalem; as the secular world finds itself invaded by hellish demons or heavenly angels; as saints and mystics simultaneously inhabit this world and the next. What can other worlds, or other temporalities, tell us about how medieval cultures understood the quotidian or secular world? How does the ingress of or egress to various worlds beyond establish or erode the definition of the here-and-now? Are all such intrusions monstrous? Does monstrosity necessitate intrusion from beyond? We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions, on topics that might include the double presence of life and death, profane and sacred, self and other, animal and human, native and foreigner, male and female, straight and queer, past, future, and present.
 
Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here:  http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/) to session organizers Stefanie Goyette (stefaniegoyette@gmail.com) or Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@mail.csuchico.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself.  Abstracts will be posted to the MEARCSTAPA blog, and all abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

 

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR AN EDITED VOLUME 

Title: Images of Flaying in the Middle AgesEditor: Larissa Tracy

 

 

From images of Saint Bartholomew holding his skin in his arms, to scenes of grislyexecution in Havelok the Dane, to laws that prescribed it as a punishment for treason, thisvolume explores the gruesome practice of skin removal—flaying—in the Middle Ages.This volume examines the widely diverse examples of this grisly practice, and exploresthe layered responses to skin-removal in art, history, literature, manuscript studies andlaw. How common was this punishment in practice? How does art reflect spiritualresponse? How is flaying, in any form, used to further political or religious goals? Thepapers in this volume will literally get beneath the skin of medieval sensibilitiesregarding punishment and sacrifice in a nuanced discussion of medieval flaying.Abstracts covering any aspect of literal skin removal from late antiquity to the earlymodern period will be considered.

 

 

* Please submit abstracts of 250 words by Sept. 1, 2013 to Larissa Tracy (kattracy@comcast.net or tracylc@longwood.edu)* Please include your affiliation and brief bio with your abstract.* Please include your last name in the file name, and please include a brief bio.


 

 

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