Blog from CSM President:

In November I had the pleasure of attending a joint conference of the Atlantic Medieval Association and the Atlantic Medieval and Early Modern Group in Sackville, New Brunswick. It started out in an almost-can’t-see-to-drive downpour and ended in a glorious fall day aflame with autumn colours.

The conference is about as small as you can get, and I almost didn’t go this year because – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – I was swamped with teaching and admin. But small conferences like the AMA are so important. I attended some excellent papers, of course, and actually got the chance to make an astrolabe – Dr.  Samuel Gessner of the University of Lisbon was the keynote speaker, and the “Hands-on History of the Astrolabe” he presented was not a metaphor! (My arts-and-crafts skills are distinctly rusty, I might add.) The real value, though, was in making connections with other medievalists. Increasingly, many of us are the lone medievalists at our universities, and academic societies provide a welcome respite from the isolation and loneliness that can entail.

I was also “pricked” – to use a Middle English word – by a panel responding to the calls to action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Hitherto I had felt a bit helpless in the face of the calls: yes, we can do more as institutions to support Indigenous students; yes, we can support calls for Indigenous literatures and histories, and work on making them mainstream – but honestly, I thought, as a medievalist, there’s not much I can do in my field. Saying “Indigenous peoples were around in the Middle Ages too and so we should study Indigenous cultures from 1000-1500” seemed a bit facile, to my way of thinking (never mind that it is imposing colonizing Western European periodization on the world, and risks cultural appropriation as well).

But the panel got me thinking about the ways in which Canadian medievalists can seriously and genuinely respond to the TRC in our scholarship as well as our institutions. We talked about incorporating Indigenous knowledge practices both in our classrooms, rethinking the top-down lecture approach, and in our scholarship, applying Indigenous theories and approaches to canonical texts. We talked about ways to avoid falling into the trap of “empty words” and “rote repetition” in our acknowledgements of the Indigenous territories our universities are built upon. We talked about countering the alt-right appropriation of medieval images and medievalism. And after the conference Lauren Beck compiled and circulated a bibliography of Indigenous literary and historical theory and methods.

In the coming months I will be posting more about these kinds of topics – both ways to counter the alt-right in our classrooms, and ways of thinking about Indigenous theory in our scholarship. I’d also like to know how you are responding to the TRC, not only in your institution but in your scholarship and teaching. And any Indigenous resources you can send me would be great as well.

CFP/Appel: Canadian Society of Medievalists/Société canadienne des médiévistes

1 Dec 2018 1:01 PM | Marc Cels (Administrator)

Call for Papers: Canadian Society of Medievalists Annual Meeting: Congress 2019

Appel à communications: Rencontre annuelle de la Société canadienne des médiévistes: Congrès 2019

June 3-5 / 3-5 juin 2019

Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie-Britannique 

 

The special theme for this year’s Congress is “Circles of Conversation,” but papers for the CSM Annual Meeting can address any topic on medieval studies. Proposals for sessions of three papers are also invited. Presentations may be in either English or French. Bilingual sessions are particularly welcome.

Proposals should include a one-page abstract and a one-page curriculum vitae. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes' reading time. Proposals for complete sessions should include this information in addition to a title and a brief explanation of the session and its format. Please indicate if the proposed session would be suitable as a joint session with another learned society.

Please submit proposals for individual papers by December 15, 2018 and proposals for sessions by January 15, 2019 by email to Kathy Cawsey, either by regular email (kathy.cawsey@dal.ca) or via our website’s email system (www.canadianmedievalists.org). You must be a member of the CSM by the time of your presentation.

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Le thème du Congrès de cette année est « Cercles de conversation ».  Les communications à ce congrès annuel de la SCM peuvent toutefois traiter de tout sujet relatif aux études médiévales.  L'invitation est également lancée pour des propositions de sessions entières. Les communications peuvent être données en français ou en anglais.  Les sessions bilingues sont particulièrement bienvenues.

Les propositions de communications devront inclure un résumé et un curriculum vitae d'une page chacun. La durée de lecture maximale des communications devra être de 20 minutes. Les propositions de sessions entières devront inclure, outre les informations régulières, un titre et une courte explication du contenu de la session et de son format. Veuillez indiquer si la session proposée serait convenable pour une session commune avec une autre association savante. Prière de soumettre vos propositions au plus tard le 15 décembre 2018 pour des communications individuelles et le 15 janvier 2019 pour des sessions entières, par courriel à Kathy Cawsey (kathy.cawsey@dal.ca) ou par le courriel de notre site, www.canadianmedievalists.org. Vous devrez être un membre en règle de la SCM au moment de votre communication.

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