Friday, 5 July 2013

CFP: Kalamazoo 2014 Sessions

The 49th International Congress of Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
May 8-11, 2014

Three sessions at next year's International Congress of Medieval Studies - please note that different sessions are organized by different people, so please use the correct contact details if submitting abstracts.

Shock! Horror! Didacticism and Diversion in Medieval Biblical Narratives

This session will address the functions and effects of the amplification of “shock” and “horror” in medieval vernacular and visual adaptations of Old and New Testament narratives. They will ask where the opening up of the Word of God for the spiritual edification of the “lewd [common] man” meets up with the exploiting of the dramatic potential in biblical stories for diversion and entertainment – or even titillation. It has been appreciated that Latin works such as Peter Comestor's Historia scholastica (c. 1173) in a sense legitimized the Bible as an “entertaining narrative” (James Morey, 1993); however, assumptions concerning and/or emphases on the moralizing quality of biblical re-imaginings have arguably prevented scholars from considering in detail where vernacular and visual works may be located along what might be termed a “didacticism-diversion spectrum.” This somewhat neglected area of research calls for a multi-disciplinary engagement and dialogue. Papers are sought from across literary studies, art and visual studies, and drama and performance studies. The sessions will appeal to scholars interested in: textual and cultural transmission of biblical stories; the burgeoning study of emotion; the interrelationships of text, image and drama; and the development of popular theology. Papers addressing poetry, prose or drama in the English vernaculars – both Old and Middle English – are especially encouraged, though other vernacular languages will also be considered, particularly if the paper has a comparative approach. Papers addressing visual studies should focus on biblical narrative artwork from England (e.g. The Illustrated Old English Hexateuch; the Holkham Bible), though insular and European continental works may also be considered if they are addressed comparatively with English works. “Shock” and “horror” may be interpreted fairly broadly, but emphasis on the deployment of violence and/or sex will especially be appreciated.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participation Form (available here) to session organizer Chris Monk by September 15, 2013. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract. Abstracts not accepted for this session will be forwarded to the Congress committee for consideration of inclusion in general sessions, as stipulated in Congress policy.

Monsters I: Monstrous Gender
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)

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) to session organizers Melissa Ridley Elmes or Asa Simon Mittman 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
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)

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) to session organizers Stefanie Goyette or Asa Simon Mittman 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.

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