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.

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  • CFP - Medievalism in Popular Culture Area - 2019 National Conference April 17th – 20th, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

CFP - Medievalism in Popular Culture Area - 2019 National Conference April 17th – 20th, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

4 Sep 2018 3:59 PM | Brandon Alakas

CFP: Medievalism in Popular Culture: PCA/ACA 2019 National Conference

April 17th – 20th, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

The Medievalism in Popular Culture Area (including Anglo-Saxon, Robin Hood, Arthurian, Norse, and other materials connected to medieval studies) accepts papers on all topics that explore either popular culture during the Middle Ages or transcribe some aspect of the Middle Ages into the popular culture of later periods. These representations can occur in any genre, including film, television, novels, graphic novels, gaming, advertising, art, etc. For this year’s conference, I would like to encourage submissions on some of the following topics:

• The Arthurian World
• Medievalism and Superheroes
• “Medieval” as a social and political signifier
• Medievalism in Game of Thrones
• Representations of medieval/Renaissance nobility and royalty in television (Reign, The White Princess, Wolf Hall, etc.)
• Robin Hood
• Medievalism and Teaching
• Medievalism in Various Forms of Gaming
• Anglo-Saxon or Viking Representations
• Medievalism in Novels/Short Stories/Poems

If your topic idea does not fit into any of these categories, please feel free to submit your proposal as well. I would like to encourage as much participation as possible, and depending on submissions, I may rearrange the topic groupings.

All papers will be included in sessions with four presenters each, so plan to present on your topic for no more than 15 minutes, inclusive of any audio or visual materials.

Panel submissions are also welcome on any topic of medievalism. If you would like to propose a panel, please submit your complete panel to me directly at cfrancis@bloomu.edu. Individual papers will then have to be submitted to the PCA online system (see below).

Submission requirements:

Please submit a title and a 250 word abstract to http://conference.pcaaca.org. All submissions must be directed to the online database. Be sure to indicate whatever audio/visual needs you may have. Traditionally, all rooms at the PCA/ACA conference provide a projection screen with sound capability. Presenters are required to bring their own laptops and any special connectors.
Deadline for submission: October 1st, 2018
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Christina Francis, Associate Professor of English, Bloomsburg University, at cfrancis@bloomu.edu.

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