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Call for Papers: International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo 2016

“‘Hit iseie aboc iwrite’: Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Vernacular Devotional Manuscripts,” sponsored by the Early Middle English Society

The Early Middle English Society invites paper proposals for our session, “‘Hit iseie aboc iwrite’: Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Vernacular Devotional Manuscripts.” Vernacular texts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in England often fall in the gap between the two major fields of literary study, Old English and Middle English. While these texts have begun to receive the scholarly attention they deserve, religious and devotional texts are too often marginalized as not “literary.”

We invite paper proposals that work to situate twelfth- and thirteenth-century devotional texts in their manuscript context, allowing us to assess these texts’ authorship, intended readership, use, and reuse. Manuscript studies often engage with questions of “use,” and Claire M. Waters’s presentation at Kalamazoo 2015 asked us to consider the way that medieval religious literature joins utilitarian and aesthetic aims. The question of “use” might prove to be a valuable organizing principle for this session, encompassing the didactic goals of devotional texts, the assemblage of newer and older devotional materials in miscellanies, and the way in which authors, scribes, and illuminators shape manuscript content to suit a particular audience. We are interested in a wide range of approaches to manuscript studies, including paleographical and codicological examinations of script, illumination, layout, and versification, as well as explorations of manuscripts’ orientation to space, place, and local identity.

According to our mission statement, the Early Middle English Society “seeks to promote the study and scholarly discussion of English literary and cultural production from the Norman Conquest to the mid-fourteenth century, especially in relation to the two areas that book-end ours: the Anglo-Saxon period and the Middle English period after the plague.” As a result, we invite proposals that explore how Early Middle English manuscripts relate to Anglo-Saxon and later Middle English literary and religious culture. In this session, we also strongly encourage papers that discuss non-English vernacular languages and their manuscripts, including Anglo-Norman and Celtic languages.

Please submit an abstract and Participant Information Form to Jenny C. Bledsoe (Emory University) at jcbleds@emory.edu by September 15, 2015.

Upcoming Events at the Medieval and Renaissance Center (follow on Twitter @nyumarc and like on Facebook) at New York University:

Lecture Series Spring 2015 PosterSpring 2015 Events Calendar

Great News!
Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, also known as the Beowulf Manuscript or the Nowell Codex, is now available to be viewed online for the first time! Check it out!

Call for Papers: The Ninth Annual Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium Graduate Conference
New York University
April 4-5, 2013
Keynote by Asa Mittman (California State University, Chico) on April 4
Conference on April 5

“Humans/Animals/Things”

Scholars inside and outside of Anglo-Saxon studies have begun to question anthropocentric views of the world. New paradigms suggest that the boundaries among humans, animals, and things are not a priori and absolute; Giorgio Agamben, for instance, writes in The Open: Man and Animal that the division between human and animal is a division within the human (which is also animal) that makes possible the very concept of the human; in the last two decades, work on cyborgs showed that humans and things could also share identities. Scholars have also begun to make room for the existence of animals and things outside of human signification and identification; those in animal studies have alerted us to the suffering of animals, while proponents of thing theory tell us that things have their own forms of being, their own capabilities, and even (perhaps) affects proper to them. Karl Steel, Susan Crane, and Bruce Holsinger are only a few scholars who have taken up these difficult and exciting subjects within Anglo-Saxon studies.

This year’s ASSC Graduate Conference, to be held at NYU, takes as its theme “Humans/Animals/Things,” with particular attention to how these categories are shaped and to objects and beings that challenge these categorizations. We intend to discover common ground and points of connection in a broad range of work. As such, we invite papers that use a range of theoretical and disciplinary approaches to one or all of the following: humans, animals, things. For instance, papers on “things” could approach medieval objects such as books, figurines, and bones through lenses ranging from object-oriented ontology and thing theory to archaeology and manuscript studies. They might also address the blurred boundaries among humans, animals, and things when non-sentient objects (such as books, figurines, and bones) are derived from or represent living beings.

Potential areas of investigation may include:

Anglo-Saxon things (books, figurines, bones, etc.)
Anglo-Saxon animals
Anglo-Saxon relationships with animals and things
Hybrids (monsters, bones as human and thing, etc.)
Textual images in manuscripts
The body, as human or other
Anglo-Saxon interaction with environment (landscape, seascape, etc.)

Please submit 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers by January 15, 2013. Please include academic affiliation, e-mail address, street address, phone number, and audio-visual requirements. Abstracts may be sent to nyuassc@gmail.com.

Organizational Committee: Mo Pareles (co-chair), Dan Remein, Carla Thomas (co-chair), Jo Livingstone, and Emile Young

Co-sponsored by: Medieval and Renaissance Center, New York University

For other ASSC events and for further updates on this conference, please visit the ASSC website at http://english.columbia.edu/assc. To join our email list please email ASSC@columbia.edu.

Call for Papers: Early Middle English Society

The 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, takes place May 9-12, 2013. Below is the Call for Papers for two sessions sponsored by the Early Middle English Society (webpage currently under construction, but visit them on Facebook here). Please submit abstracts to Dorothy Kim at dokim@vassar.edu by September 15.

1) Rereading the Ormulum (Bodleian Library MS Junius 1)

In recent years, the set of homilies in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Junius 1 have begun to receive more attention beyond an interest in its linguistic importance in the formation of Early Middle English. As one of the earliest pieces entirely in Early Middle English, the twelfth-century homilies in this manuscript  have been a treasure mine to historical linguistics because of Orm’s particular interest in spelling and the use of double letters to indicate vowel quality. However, it has only been recently that we have turned our attention to this work’s place in the context of late-twelfth century homiletic and literary culture especially as seen on the continent. This panel will consider papers that reread and reevaluate the Ormulum in terms of content rather than as data for linguistic analysis.

2) Multilingual Early Middle English

This panel is interested in papers that reimagine the boundaries of Early Middle English in a multilingual milieu. We are interested in papers that think about multilingualism on the page, multilingual texts in one manuscript, or how multilingualism can make Early Middle English an interesting experimental zone for code-switching and mixed language. We are also interested in how other media (music, visual, etc.) may also help reimagine multilingualism and the production of early Middle English.

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