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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Position opening: Editor for Speculum

11 Jun 2018 1:01 PM | CSM Treasurer (Administrator)

THE MEDIEVAL ACADEMY OF AMERICA17 Dunster St., Suite 202, Cambridge, MA 02138 Tel: 617-491-1622 Fax: 617-492-3303

Seeking Editor of Speculum

The Medieval Academy of America seeks to appoint an Editor for Speculum. The position is configured as part-time, requiring around 25 hours per week. The Editor is appointed for an expected five-year term, subject to acceptable yearly performance reviews, with the possibility of a second five-year term by mutual agreement. The editor should be an established scholar with academic credentials in some field(s) of medieval studies, broadly defined, with good organizational and decision-making skills. Experience in journal or book editing will be helpful but not necessary. The new editor should plan on taking office in the late Spring of 2019, and at the latest by July 1, 2019. Terms and conditions are to be negotiated, as is the physical location of the Editor.

Applications should be sent to the MAA by July 30, 2018. There will be electronic interviews in Fall 2018 and interviews with finalists in early December, 2018. Cover letters may be addressed to David Wallace, Chair of the Search Committee. In addition to a curriculum vitae, the cover letter should include ideas about future directions for the journal, and discussion of how s/he envisions setting up the position, either in the MAA office, now in Cambridge, MA, or by moving the operation to a university campus. If the latter, s/he will describe possible institutional support. The search committee wants to identify the best pool of candidates, and the MAA is willing to be flexible in finding ways to accommodate the various modes of professional life encountered in the searching process. However, wherever the ultimate location of the Editor, there will need to be access to a major research library and to graduate students who can be hired for assistance. Candidates should also include the names and email addresses of three scholars who can speak to the candidate’s editorial experience and scholarship; these references will only be contacted for long-listed candidates. The MAA President would be happy to respond to immediate questions about the duties involved, but candidates should also consult the fuller description of duties posted on the Academy website. The MAA also encourages nominations for the position, and there is a place to submit these on the website as well; all nominees will be sent a letter encouraging application.

For additional information, contact: EditorSearch@TheMedievalAcademy.org

Visit our website for a full job description and to apply: https://medievalacademy.site-ym.com/general/custom.asp?page=EdJobDescription

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