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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  • Emotions in Conflict: The Second Biennial Conference of the Society for the History of Emotions (SHE), University of Ottawa

Emotions in Conflict: The Second Biennial Conference of the Society for the History of Emotions (SHE), University of Ottawa

8 Nov 2018 4:26 AM | Kristin Bourassa (Administrator)

Dates: 2‒4 October 2019

Venue: University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Committee: David Dean, Kathryn Prince, Piroska Nagy

Call for Papers Deadline: 1 December 2018

Enquiries/Submission of Proposals: conflict@vectorsofemotion.com

Conflict (whether interpersonal, intercultural, interspecies or individual) can lead to devastating consequences, but it is also an important catalyst for creativity and an indicator of social change. The emotions associated with conflict can be as pleasurable as the relish of dramatic tension or as devastating as a complete physical and mental collapse of the self. 

We invite participants to consider the emotions associated with conflict, to examine how various cultures have understood the nexus of emotions and conflict, and to explore conflicting emotions in any context. Approaches from all disciplines broadly related to the History of Emotions are welcome. Given uOttawa's bilingual mission, participation in French is welcome and encouraged. A version of the call for papers is also circulating en français. The deadline is 1 December 2018 to submit proposals (in English or French) for individual papers, panels, and creative presentations (200–300 words with a short biographical statement) to the conference organisers David Dean, Kathryn Prince and Piroska Nagy at the conference address: conflict@vectorsofemotion.com

The conference will take place at uOttawa, located downtown near Ottawa's many galleries and museums, the Rideau Canal, and other attractions, including a shuttle to see the autumn colours in Gatineau Park.

Key Dates
  • 1 December 2018: Deadline for proposals 
  • 15 January 2019: Decisions announced about proposals, along with information about hotel options and registration.
Conference Committee
  • David Dean, Director, Centre for Public History, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Kathryn Prince, Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa
  • Piroska Nagy, Professor of Medieval History, Université du Québec à Montréal
For more information, see the CFP at the Society for the History of Emotions website.

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