Tuesday, 26 June 2012

CFP: Cannibals: Cannibalism, Consumption and Culture

25-26 April 2013
Manchester, United Kingdom

From contemporary horror film to medieval Eucharistic devotions, from Freudian theory to science fiction, cannibals and cannibalism continue to repel and intrigue us in equal measure. This two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore humanity’s relationships with, and attitudes towards, cannibalism, whether fascination, horror or purely practical considerations.

Papers are sought from all disciplines, including but not limited to literature, film studies, history, anthropology, archaeology, psychology and medicine.

Call for Papers:

Proposals are sought for 20 minute papers. Possible topics may include:

• Cannibalism in popular culture
• Cannibalism as cultural metaphor
• Theorizations of cannibalism
• Taboos, socialization and psychoanalysis
• Survival and necessity
• Maternal infanticide
• Vampires, werewolves and zombies – a question of species?
• Eating the enemy
• Rites, rituals and sacrifice
• Serial killers (in life and in fiction)

Please send 300 word abstracts to the conference convenors by 31st December 2012.

For more information, please see the conference website.

Manchester Medieval Society Excursion 2012

Post written by Dr. Susan Thompson, Manchester Medieval Society Secretary

Sawley Abbey

Each year MedSoc organises an excursion to one or more places of interest and this year we managed to fit in four. Our first stop was at Sawley Abbey, founded in 1146 on land given by William, third Lord Percy, and the Percys, Northumberland’s greatest family, remained patrons of the abbey for much of its existence. In 1296 Stanlaw Abbey in Cheshire was refounded at Whalley, nine miles from Sawley, and the two Cistercian houses immediately quarrelled. Their lands adjoined and they squabbled over grain supplies and fishing rights in the River Ribble. The feuding officially ended in 1305, but the monks of Sawley, the senior foundation, continued to feel aggrieved. Sawley was considerably poorer than Whalley: it was impoverished by litigation, the ‘cruel and inhuman spoliation’ that accompanied Scottish raids about 1320, and the expense of providing board and lodging to travellers – unlike many Cistercian houses it lay on a busy main road. In spring 1536 Sawley surrendered during Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. However, that autumn, during the northern rising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, the abbey was restored under a new abbot, William Trafford. The rebellion failed and Trafford was hanged at Lancaster in March 1537 and the abbey immediately plundered of its valuables. During the following three centuries all the high-quality stone was taken and reused in neighbouring farms and cottages, and many of the abbey buildings disappeared. In 1848 the first archaeological investigation of the ruins was undertaken, and during the twentieth century the site was taken into the care of English Heritage, cleared of debris and conserved.

Whalley Abbey

Having walked round the site and identified as many of the buildings as possible we went on to the nearby abbey of Whalley where the main site of interest was expected to be the 14th century gatehouse to the Abbey; Laurence Nowell went to school here. Whalley Abbey, second richest of Lancashire’s monasteries, was founded in 1296, when the monks of Stanlaw moved there from their flood-prone site on the Cheshire shore of the River Mersey near Ellesmere Port. Most monasteries were demarcated by gatehouses that prevented access by any except authorised visitors, allowed the gatekeeper to keep a close watch on traffic and provided basic defence in times of military and political insecurity. At Whalley, as at other monasteries, there was a steady stream of beggars and poor travellers seeking food or help, which the monks could not readily deny. Thus, the gatehouse was also the place where alms were dispensed and food and drink given to the poor.

Rufford Old Hall

However, we had arranged to visit the parish church of St. Mary first and we were met here by an official guide to the church, Mr. Thorpe. He proved to be a mine of fascinating information on the building which dates from the early 13th century. The church contains excellent medieval and post-Reformation woodwork, but the treasure of Whalley is the set of clergy choir stalls rescued from the abbey. They were carved in about 1430 and, rare among medieval works, the name of the carver survives, a Mr. Eatough. There are also three Anglo-Saxon crosses in the churchyard. By now it was time for our next port of call, Rufford Old Hall, where we had lunch. This is Lancashire’s finest Tudor building with a timber-framed great hall built in the late 15th century to a late medieval pattern. The hall has a ‘movable’ screen, the only surviving example of its type, and it is said that a young Will Shakespeare performed here. The house contains furniture, paintings and armour and there are gardens and pasture to the rear and side of the hall and woodland at the front. The hall is reputedly haunted by a grey lady, Queen Elizabeth I and a man in Elizabethan clothing.

File:The Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Upholland - geograph.org.uk - 2056849.jpg
Church of St. Thomas the Martyr, Up Holland

Our final stop for the day was at The Church of St. Thomas the Martyr in Up Holland. The oldest part of the church is the nave, dating from the 14th century. The tower was built in the late 1400s and the present chancel was added in 1882-86. Up Holland Parish Church was originally a Priory, founded in 1307 as a college for a Dean and twelve secular priests, by Sir Robert de Holland (b.1270, Up Holland, d.1328, Borehamwood, Herts), secretary to Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster. Sir Robert was married to Maud, daughter and heiress of Alan, Lord Zouche of Ashby. It was dedicated to St. Thomas the Martyr. Charges of misbehaviour led Walter de Langton, Bishop of Lichfield, to convert it to a Priory with twelve monks in 1319 - the last foundation of its kind in pre-Reformation England. In 1323, King Edward II stayed at the Priory for a fortnight during his Royal Progess in the north country.

By the Dissolution in 1536 there were only five monks and twenty-six servants with an income of around £78, so the Priory was closed, even before Henry VIII began to close the smaller monasteries. Little can be said of the remains of the monastic buildings - they were to the south of the church but did not join it except in the western range of claustral buildings. Part of the western wall is standing; it was of two storeys with a row of windows on the west. In 1546 a chamber was mentioned at the west end of the chancel, which may be that on the south face of the tower, the roof corbels of which still remain.

Monday, 18 June 2012

CFP: The Middle Ages in the Modern World

University of St Andrews, UK
25-28 June, 2013

Preliminary Call for Papers

A multidisciplinary conference on the uses and abuses of the Middle Ages from the Renaissance to the 21st century

Provisional Keynotes

Carolyn Dinshaw (New York University): The Green Man and the Modern World
Patrick Geary (Princeton): European ethnicity: Does Europe have too much past?
Seamus Heaney (Nobel Prize-winning Poet): Translating medieval poetry
Bruce Holsinger (University of Virginia): The politics of medievalism
Felicitas Hoppe (Author and Translator): Adapting medieval romance
Terry Jones (Author and Broadcaster): Columbus, America and the flat earth

Medievalism – the reception and adaptation of the politics, history, art and literature of the Middle Ages – has burgeoned over the past decade, and is now coming of age as a subject of serious academic enquiry. This conference aims to take stock and develop directions for the future. We hope to address questions such as:

- Why and how do the Middle Ages continue to shape the world we inhabit?
- Did the Middle Ages ever end?
- Did the Middle Ages ever happen?
- Is there a difference between medievalism and medieval studies?
- Does the medieval past hold the key to understanding modern nations?
- What does “medieval” mean to non-medievalists?
- How has medievalism developed over the past 600 years?
Medievalists and modernists in all areas of the sciences and humanities, librarians, artists, curators are invited to submit proposals for papers, panels, public talks, exhibits, posters, concerts etc. The conference will be held during the climactic period of the University of St Andrews’s 600th anniversary celebrations.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

- the reception of the Middle Ages in literature, art, architecture, music, film, politics, economics, theology, popular culture, universities, sciences;
- periodization and the invention of the Middle Ages;
- modern misconceptions of the Middle Ages;
- the politicization of the Middle Ages and neo-medievalism;
- twenty-first century medievalisms;
- revivalism and re-enactment;
- medievalism, science fiction, fantasy and cyberspace;
- translating medieval texts;
- the legacy and influence of the University of St Andrews and other medieval institutions
- a special celebratory 600th anniversary session on the reception and representation of St Andrew himself.

Early bird proposals are welcome now to the conference convenors to assist planning, anytime before 31 August 2012.

Organisers: Dr Chris Jones, School of English and Dr Bettina Bildhauer, School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2013

Gender in Material Culture

Corsham Court, Bath Spa University
4th-6th January 2013

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Catherine Karkov, University of Leeds
Dr Simon Yarrow, University of Birmingham

Call for Papers

From saintly relics to grave goods, and from domestic furnishings to the built environment, medieval people inhabited a material world saturated with symbolism. Gender had a profound influence on production and consumption in this material culture. Birth charms and objects of Marian devotion were crafted most often with women in mind, whilst gender shaped the internal spaces of male and female religious houses. The material environment could evoke intense emotions from onlookers, whether fostering reverence in religious rituals, or inspiring awe during royal processions. How did gender influence encounters with these objects and the built environment? Seldom purely functional, these items could incorporate complex meanings, enabling acts of display at every level of society, in fashionable circles at European courts or amongst civic guilds sponsoring lavish pageants. Did gender influence aesthetic choices, and how did status shape the way that people engaged with their physical surroundings? In literary texts and in art, the depiction of clothing and objects can be used to negotiate symbolic space as well as class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity. Texts and images also circulated as material objects themselves, with patterns of transmission across the British Isles, the Anglo-Norman world, and between East and West. The exchange of such objects both accompanied and enacted cross-fertilisation in linguistic, political and cultural spheres.

The Conference will consider the gendered nature of social, religious and economic uses of ‘things’, exploring the way that objects and material culture were produced, consumed and displayed. Papers will address questions of gender from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, embracing literature, history, art history, and archaeology.

Themes will include:
• adornment, clothing and self-fashioning
• the material culture of devotion
• objects and materialism
• the material culture of children and adolescents
• the material culture of life cycle
• emotion, intimacy and love-gifts
• entertainment and games
• memory and commemoration
• pleasure, pain, and bodily discipline
• production and consumption
• monastic material culture
• material culture in literary texts

Please e-mail proposals of approximately 300 words for 20 minute papers to the GMS committee by 14 September 2012. Please also include your name, research area, institution and level of study in your abstract.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Dress and Textiles Discussion Group

An update from Alexandra Makin (University of Manchester)

The next meeting of the Dress and Textiles Discussion Group will be held on Thursday 14th June, at 5pm, in Samuel Alexander Building A18 (University of Manchester, Oxford Road):
Early Medieval Techniques for Dyeing Fibres, Threads and Materials
Ian and Hazel Uzzell

 A hands on session where the tactile among us will be able to 'dive in' and get our hands on threads and materials.

Call for Papers 2012-13

This will be our last meeting for this academic year. I am now starting to put together the programme for next year. If you would like to speak about a research idea you have bubbling away in the back of your mind or something you are already investigating then please contact me.

It is a very informal and welcoming group with a wide range of interests. If you are unsure whether your research fits into the group's brief or if you are worried about speaking in front of people then please contact me and we can discuss any worries.

The group's focus is dress and textiles during the medieval period (c. AD 450-1600); however, I would be more than willing to discuss ideas outside of this date range. Technological advances, design development, working practices to suggest but a few areas, place the period in context.

For more information about the Dress and Textiles Discussion Group, please contact Alexandra Makin.

Monday, 4 June 2012

CFP: Putting England in Its Place: Cultural Production and Cultural Relations in the High Middle Ages

33rd Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, Manhattan
March 9-10 2013

Keynote Speakers

Oliver Creighton
Elizabeth Tyler
Julia Crick
Carol Symes
Robert W. Hanning
Paul R. Hyams
Sarah Rees Jones
Kathryn A. Smith

Call for Papers

The rich culture of England’s mid-eleventh to thirteenth centuries is central to some disciplinary narratives for the High Middle Ages (for example, the political history of its ruling dynasties, analyses of visual and material
culture and of Latin historiography), but omitted from others (the period is often assumed, for instance, to have little to do with the history of English literature). This interdisciplinary conference aims to look in a fresh and integrated way at cultural production and cultural relations within England between England and other locales in order to explore what kind of place England as a region, a changing political entity, and a culture or set of cultures might occupy in our accounts of the High Middle Ages. We welcome papers dealing with England's cultures (local, regional, general) in themselves and in their many connections (diplomatic, economic, artistic, etc…) with further areas of the British Isles and other medieval regions.

The Deadline for Submissions is September 5, 2012

Please send an abstract and cover letter with contact information to Center for Medieval Studies, FMH 405,
Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458, or by email, or by fax to (718) 817-3987.

OUT NOW: Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, c. 450-1450

 The eagerly-awaited Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, c. 450-1450, edited by Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth and Maria Hayward and published by Brill, is now available to buy.

From the publisher's website:

The single volume Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450 is a unique work that intends to bring together in 582 signed articles the latest research from across the range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of medieval dress and textiles.

There has been a long-standing interest in the subject, which has recently manifested itself in a flowering of research and publications, including activities by the editors of the Encyclopaedia: the foundation of DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics and Fashion) as an umbrella organization for the presentation of papers at the major medieval congresses in Kalamazoo and Leeds (Netherton and Owen-Crocker); the establishment of the annual journal Medieval Clothing and Textiles (Netherton and Owen-Crocker); the Manchester Medieval Textiles Project (Coatsworth and Owen-Crocker); and the AHRC Lexis of Cloth and Clothing Project (Owen-Crocker and Sylvester). 

There is a clear need for an interdisciplinary reference work which will introduce readers to various sources of evidence, and give clear information about the most recent discoveries and interpretations and bibliographical guidance to readers. The Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450 contains also over 100 plates and diagrams to illustrate the text.

This work will be an invaluable resource for those studying or researching medieval culture, literature and history.

For more information, please click here. A free sample fascicle is available from the publisher's website.