CFPs for ICMS 2019 at Kalamazoo

Like I mentioned in my last post, the Early Middle English Society has two accepted panels  for ICMS 2019 held at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Please read below for the CFPs and contact information for submitting abstracts to me. The deadline is September 15.

1) Thirteenth-Century Vernaculars

Much discussion of vernacularity, vernaculars, and multilingualism in Medieval English scholarship tends to center on the late Middle English cultural milieu of Chaucer and Gower. This panel seeks to provide an alternative view of this narrative by inviting presenters to think not only about the various vernaculars used in England in the thirteenth century—English, French, Welsh, Danish, Hebrew, and more—but also the vernaculars interacting with those in England from without and to reconsider the definition of vernacularity itself. How can we open the discourse on vernacularity in and around England so that it moves beyond the current isolated debates and bring them in conversation with one another?

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:
• Multilingualism
• Translation theory and practice
• Defining vernacularity
• Dialects as vernaculars
• Diachronic and synchronic approaches
• Language contacts, exchanges, influences
• Manuscript contexts/readings


2) Conceptions of Death and Dying in Early Medieval Literature

Early Middle English poetry, c. 1100-1350, is filled with debates between bodies and souls, descriptions of ghastly bodily decay, and moralizations that come from beyond the grave in order to encourage medieval readers to meditate on and contemplate death and dying. The theme of the macabre is prominent, too, in the homiletic material of the period. For much of this literature, in homilies and poetry alike, the meditations are meant to steer the reader to (or back onto) the Christian path, stressing such motifs as fear of the Last Judgment, ubi sunt laments, and the importance of confession. Other texts like the late twelfth-century poem “The Grave,” however, are simply short meditations on death and the confines of the grave without moralization. Why was this theme so popular in didactic and secular literature? This panel invites papers that provide insight on these various writings from scholars working on new research.

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:
• Representations in lyric poetry
• Representations in homiletic material
• Investigations of manuscript context
• Multilingual literary production
• Secular and religious readership and reception
• Engagement with new theological ideas
• Textual influences, sources, or analogues
• Preoccupation with purgatory and the afterlife

Please send abstracts of 250 words and a completed Participant Information Form ( to by September 15, 2018. Please include your name, affiliation (if applicable), and email address on the abstract. Also email me if you have any questions!

About carlamthomas

I'm an Assistant Professor of English at Florida Atlantic University, and I earned my PhD from New York University and my BA and MA from Florida State University. It's good to be a Floridian again. My concentration is Early Middle English literature, language, and manuscript culture although this stretches from Old English influences to later Middle English iterations of developments in my period. I'm also an intersectional feminist, trying to inject such theory into some of my newer work as well as my activist work with the Medievalist of Color.
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