Tuesday, 12 November 2013

John Rylands Medieval Research Seminars, Semester 1, 2013-2014

All seminars start at 5.30pm and are held in the John Rylands Library, Deansgate

Thursday September 26: Stephen J. Milner (Serena Professor of Italian, Manchester), ‘The renaissance of medieval classicism in Italy: from manuscript to book’. *NB This seminar is in Samuel Alexander S 2.8

Thursday October 24: Cordelia Warr (Art History and Visual Studies, Manchester), 'The devil on my tail: Clothing and medieval visual culture in the Camposanto Last Judgement, Pisa'. Christie Seminar Room.

Thursday November 7: Katy Dutton (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, History), 'Aspects of political culture in twelfth-century Anjou'. Christie Seminar Room.

Thursday November 21: David Matthews (English, American Studies, and Creative Writing), 'Dark and unlearned times: literature, print, and periodization between medieval and renaissance'. Bible Room.

Thursday December 5: Helen Fulton (Professor of Medieval Literature, University of York), 'City and Power: The Middle English Seege or Batayle of Troy'. Christie Seminar Room.

Supported by the John Rylands Research Institute.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Guest Post: Rachel Yelding


We've been asked to take part in a blog tour for Impossible Spaces, a new anthology of short stories published by Manchester small press Hic Dragones. Given that the editor - Hannah Kate (aka Dr Hannah Priest) - is one of our committee members, and one of the contributors - Daisy Black - is a PhD student in Medieval English at the University of Manchester, we were happy to be involved in spreading the word about the book.

Today we welcome Rachel Yelding, one of twenty-one writers to be included in the book. Rachel has a BA in Music and Creative Writing from Roehampton University and an MA in Screenwriting from the National Film and Television School, and her story in Impossible Spaces ('I'd Lock it with a Zipper') is her first short story publication. Her fantasy screenplay, Paradise, recently reached the quarter finals of the Screenwriting Goldmine Awards. Rachel has a keen interest in folklore and myth, and so we asked her to talk about the traditions that have inspired her writing.

Hello Manchester Medieval Society. My name's Rachel Yelding, I’m a writer and filmmaker based in Kent. Kent is quite a varied county; we have everything from coasts to marshes to miles upon miles of rolling fields (hence the nickname 'The Garden of England') all the way up to bustling cities. Our most famous city being the medieval gem, Canterbury. Due to this variety we have our fair share of folklore and traditions both old and new. We beat the bounds and look for any excuse to break out the Morris dancers. Find yourself in Romney Marsh, and you can take part in the Day of Syn to celebrate the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, Dr Syn. The Whitstable Oyster Festival is a combination of both the ancient and the modern, reviving the Norman tradition of giving thanks to the sea and the blessing and landing of the oysters whilst the 2007-born Whitstable giants Captain Sam and his wife are paraded through town. Prefer canals to fishing boats? Every other year in Hythe is the Hythe Venetian Fete. The list goes on and on but one thing is for sure, living in Kent has instilled in me a love for mythology and folklore.

My folklore hunger knows no bounds (you could play bingo with the amount of times an ancient Greek pomegranate appears in the grasp of one of my otherworldly characters), with my favourites being British and Japanese. In fact, my very first short script took characters from Japanese folklore, anglicised them and combined them with traditional British folklore. Because of this I would like to share with you my top five favourite characters and aspects from British and Japanese folklore.

British Folklore
I find it a terrible shame that a British person can tell you exponentially more about Roman and Greek folklore than they can the folklore of the land they are standing on, so I hope my five choices will inspire people to delve a little deeper into the mythical history of the British Isles.

Rowan is a shrub with (usually) red berries found all across the UK. Everyone knows a rowan bush by sight even if they cannot name it, which is why I love that there is so much myth and folklore around this small tree. Some people even refuse to cut it down. I know I would be nervous too if I believed that the tree was where the Devil hung his mother from! A more positive folklore of the rowan is that if you carry a sprig with you or hang a branch from your door you will be protected from evil spirits and witches. Many aspects of British folklore are referenced in my work Paradise, including this aspect of the rowan. Should an evil spirit touch a mere leaf they will be turned mortal. A terrible fate indeed!

Jenny Greenteeth
Jenny is the English equivalent of a siren or Lorelei. She lurks in water, waiting to lure the young and elderly closer so that she can drown them in her long, winding hair and eat them with her sharp, pointy teeth. With her green skin, she is the embodiment of the treacherous pondweed that so often tangles itself around unsuspecting swimmers and was probably created to warn children away from lakes and rivers containing such weed. In my opinion nothing beats a seductive woman just waiting to drag you to your doom. As a female writer who uses it, I find it a classic and empowering trope.

Corn Dolly
If you’ve read my Impossible Spaces story, 'I’d Lock it with a Zipper', you may have guessed that at the bottom of my garden is a cornfield (though I’m pretty certain the farmer doesn’t hold to this tradition). Much like the Queen has Sandringham, a corn dolly is the corn spirit’s winter residence. In the autumn, after ploughing their field, the farmer takes some of the harvest and constructs the dolly (which can take many forms, not just that of a human) for the corn spirit to live in. The dolly is kept in the safety of the farmer’s house until spring when it is ploughed back into the field so that the corn spirit can give life to the new seeds.

Green Man
If you like your pubs then there’s a good chance you’ll have drunk in a pub called the Green Man. He also appears as leaf-covered faces carved into church lintels and on tombstones due to his association with nature and rebirth. He may sometimes also appear in more traditional Morris dancing tableaus completely covered in leaves, as Jack in the Green. I love that somehow today he is as much connected to alcohol as he is to being green, so maybe that is why in my world of Paradise he appears as the spirit hotel’s bartender, all tall and green and wearing nothing but an artfully positioned leaf.

Black Dog
There are many famous black dogs in English folklore, such as the Barghest and Black Shuck. You may know of black dogs thanks to The Hound of the Baskervilles or because Winston Churchill described his experiences with depression as a ‘black dog’ - and for good reason as the black dog is a spirit that literally hounds its chosen victim until their death. Much larger than normal dogs and with ink-black coats and glowing eyes, black dogs are wonderfully dramatic and (thanks to Churchill) also great visual metaphors. In Paradise Death takes the form of a giant black fox when hunting for spirits, combining the idea of the black dog with another of my favourite folkloric characters, which I will mention later.

Japanese Folklore

Japanese folklore is much more popular and well known in Japan that British folklore is in Britain, probably due to the fact that the majority if the characters are rooted in Shinto, a religion followed by around 80 per cent of the population. There is a shrine on nearly every street corner and most towns have special festivals. Characters from folklore appear in traditional Japanese writing as well as in modern film, computer games, anime and manga, and thanks to such international powerhouses as Studio Ghibli you may have seen references to Japanese folklore without even realising it.

Izanagi and Izanami
I love the tale of the gods Izanagi and Izanami, as it is a lesson that no matter how many bombs we drop on each other we are all related by being members of the same human race. Why? Because the tale is almost exactly the same as that of Persephone, despite the ancient Japanese having (as far as we know) absolutely no contact with the ancient Greeks. When Izanagi’s wife (and sister) Izanami dies after giving birth to the fire god Kagu-tsuchi, Izanagi goes to the underworld to bring her back with him; however, a terrible thing has happened, she has eaten the food of the dead and is trapped in the underworld forever.

The Japanese have a spirit for everything, and the amefurikozo is the spirit that makes it rain. He is usually a little boy carrying an umbrella either in one hand or as a hat and carrying a lantern in the other. I find it very apt that the rain spirit should be a little boy, as little boys love messing about in the rain. I can imagine him in galoshes or welly boots jumping in the puddles he has just made.

Hyakki Yagyo
Hyakki Yagyo means 'Night Parade of One Hundred Demons' and is most recognisable to westerners as the cat parade in Studio Ghibli’s The Cat Returns and Operation Poltergeist in Pom Poko. It occurs in summer nights where yokai (the general name for Japanese spirits and demons) parade through the Japanese streets by lantern light. Anyone who has attended a midnight parade will know just how strong an image this is, especially a Japanese parade such as the Takayama matsuris where percussion are beaten, dragon dancers bless the streets and elaborate, beautiful floats are carried about town.

Did you know that after 100 years even inanimate objects develop spirits? That is what tsukumogami are. I find that an absolutely magical idea. People would be so much more respectful of their objects if they thought they had lives of their own. Strangely though, the idea that objects such as shoes and lamps have spirits is harder for some westerners to understand than the idea that abstract concepts such as Death, Love and Jazz have spirits... weird. This difficulty is something to be aware when writing, but don’t be put off. The lead male in Paradise is the spirit of a whole hotel, but I haven’t met a single person who after a few pages has let that get in the way of enjoying him as a character.

Kitsune and foxes in general are my favourite folklore images of all time and appear in hundreds of tales across the world. I can understand why. I think they are absolutely beautiful and magical with their glowing eyes and silent scampering through the night. Kitsune are fox spirits with multiple tails (three for young kitsune and up to twelve for century old spirits), usually either silver or gold in colour, who have amazing magical abilities. Much like foxes in other countries’ mythologies, the kitsune range from tricksters to seductive murderesses. I think it is easy to understand why people would think a fox is a woman in disguise if you have ever heard their otherworldly shriek that sounds like a female screaming. Foxes and kitsune appear in all my writing which have night scenes in, from a cameo in The Automated Heart to three separate characters in Paradise. I don’t think I will ever get bored of the allure and mystery of the fox. When I visited Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari-taisha temple (famous for its thousand gates, as seen in Memoirs of a Geisha) I even brought back a stuffed fox (the temple’s guardian spirit) so that I would always have a kitsune with me.

For more information about Rachel and her writing, please visit her website.

For more information about Impossible Spaces, please visit the publishers' website.

CFP: Hrotsvit 2014: Pageants and Pioneers Conference

To be held on Saturday 31 May 2014 at University of Hull, England

In January 1914 in London, England, the Pioneer Players theatre society produced a remarkable and disturbing play about prostitution. This play was written by Hrotsvit, the tenth century nun from Gandersheim. Known also as ‘strong voice’, Hrotsvit has been claimed as the first female dramatist. Edith Craig’s production of the play for the Pioneer Players theatre society and Christopher St John’s translation was part of a programme of encouraging women’s writing for the stage in the period of the campaign for women’s suffrage. The play featured the punishment of the prostitute, Thais, by imprisonment, providing a topical allusion in 1914 to the brutal treatment of suffragettes in London.

This interdisciplinary international conference will mark the centenary of this remarkable production and provide an opportunity for a reassessment of Hrotsvit’s drama, bringing together researchers interested in the modern production of the play as well as the Medieval text and context.

Dr Anna Birch will lead a workshop reading of Paphnutius and a discussion, which will be filmed as part of the ongoing project on Pageants and Pioneers begun in May 2011 with Fragments + Monuments performance and film of A Pageant of Great Women. We look forward also to Pageants and Pioneers 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Confirmed Speakers: Professor Katharine Cockin, Professor Lesley Ferris, Dr Anna Birch, Dr Helene Scheck

Send abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers by 6 January 2014 to Katharine Cockin.

CFP: Reading Animals: An International English Studies Conference

School of English, University of Sheffield, UK
17-20 July 2014

Abstract Deadline: 19 December 2013
Keynote Speakers: Erica Fudge, Tom Tyler, Cary Wolfe, others TBC

Reporting in the journal PMLA on the emergence and consolidation of animal studies, Cary Wolfe drew attention to the role of the Millennial Animals conference, held in the School of English at the University of Sheffield in 2000, as a formative event in this interdisciplinary field. Seeking now to focus the diverse critical practice in animal studies, a second conference at Sheffield seeks to uncover the extent to which the discipline of English Studies now can and should be reimagined as the practice of reading animals.

This conference seeks to reflect and to extend the full range of critical methodologies, forms, canons and geographies current in English Studies; contributions are also most welcome from interested scholars in cognate disciplines. Reading Animals will be programmed to encourage comparative reflection on representations of animals and interspecies encounters in terms of both literary-historical period and overarching interpretive themes. As such, seven keynote presentations are planned; each will focus on how reading animals is crucial in the interpretation of the textual culture of a key period from the Middle Ages to the present. The conference will also feature a plenary panel of key scholars who will reflect on the importance when reading animals of thinking across periods and in thematic, conceptual and formal terms.

Papers should focus on the interpretation of textual animals at any date from the Middle Ages to the present. We seek submissions that read animals in relation to any writers/periods or in terms of the following indicative list of themes:

animals in genre (adventure; tragedy; classic realism; satire; comedy; epic; lyric; elegy; nature writing; non-fiction, criticism and polemic; detective/mystery; gothic; sf; children's literature; graphic novel)
animal genres (bestiary; fictionalised [auto-]biography; fairy tale; fable; allegory; didactic story; pet memoir)

*Arts, Aesthetics, Philosophies*
reading animals in theatre and performance, music, visual culture, film, dance, theory

*Ethics, Politics, Society*
intersections of species - race - ethnicity - disability - sex - gender - sexuality - class

animals as subjects and objects of historical interpretation; animal materialisms; post-anthropocentric literary and cultural history

*Science and Technology*
bio-engineering; technologies of animal use; narratives of meat/vivisection; ethology; biosemiotics and zoosemiotics

*Environments and Geographies*
empire and colonialism; politics and poetics of space; globalisation; zoo-heterotopias; extinctions

Abstracts for 20 minute papers (300 words) or pre-formed 3-paper panels (1000 words) are welcome by 19 December, 2013 from researchers at any stage of their career, including early career scholars and postgraduates. Please send by email to the conference convenors.

Monday, 23 September 2013

MANCASS News and Programme 2013-14

New publications from the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies:

- Nicholas J. Higham and Martin Ryan, The Anglo-Saxon World, London, Yale University Press, 2013.
- Nicholas J. Higham ed., Wilfrid: Abbot, Bishop, Saint, Donington, Shaun Tyas, 2013.
- Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Brian W. Schneider, ed., Royal Authority in Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford, Archaeopress, BAR British Series 584, 2013.
- Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Brian W. Schneider, ed., Kingship, Legislation and Power in Anglo-Saxon England, Publications of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies Volume 13, Woodbridge, Boydell, 2013.

Talks and conferences 2013-14
After ordinary meetings members are welcome to join the Director and the speaker for dinner at their own expense.

Monday 30 September 2013
5pm, Samuel Alexander Building Room S. 1.7
Dr Rory Naismith, of the University of Cambridge, will speak on ‘The Forum Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Coins’

Monday 11 November 2013
5pm, room to be announced
Dr Susan Youngs, formerly of the British Museum, will speak on ‘The Prince and the Hanging-bowl: the British presence at Prittlewell’

Monday 10 Feb 2014
5pm, room to be announced
Dr David Woodman, of the University of Cambridge, will speak on ‘The writing of history in twelfth-century Worcester’

Monday 3 March 2014: The Toller Lecture
Professor John Hines, University of Cardiff, will speak on ‘A new chronology and new agenda: the problematic sixth century’ exploring the issues raised by the recent high-precision radio-carbon dating project; 6pm, in the Historic Reading Room, John Rylands Library Deansgate, followed by a free wine reception, followed by dinner at Pesto, Deansgate (about £25 per person). If you wish to attend the post-lecture dinner please book by Monday 24 Feb 2013 with Gale Owen-Crocker.

Thursday 3 April 2014: Joint meeting of MANCASS and the Manchester Medieval Society
Dr Kevin Leahy, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, will speak on ‘The Staffordshire Hoard’; 6pm in the Historic Reading Room, John Rylands Library Deansgate. If you wish to attend the post-lecture dinner please book by Thursday 27 March 2014 with Susan Thompson.

15-17 April 2014
The MANCASS Easter Conference on ‘Womanhood in Anglo-Saxon England’ will take place at Hulme Hall, The University of Manchester. The Conference will be directed by Professor Gale R. Owen-Crocker, The University of Manchester, in association with Dr Charles Insley, The University of Manchester, and Dr Christine Rauer, University of St Andrews. Offers of 20 minute papers should be submitted, with a short abstract, to Gale Owen-Crocker by 30 November 2013. Registration enquiries should be directed to Brian Schneider.

CFP: The Medieval Chronicle - Die Mittelalterliche Chronik - La Chronique au Moyen Age

Seventh International Conference

7th-10th July 2014
University of Liverpool
Liverpool, UK

The Liverpool Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at The University of Liverpool is delighted to announce that the Seventh International Conference on the Medieval Chronicle will take place at the University of Liverpool, 7th–10th July 2014.

Keynote speakers include: Professor Pauline Stafford (University of Liverpool), Professor Anne D. Hedeman (University of Kansas), Professor Marcus G. Bull (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), and Professor Christopher Young and Dr Mark Chinca (University of Cambridge).

The aim of the seventh conference is to follow the broad outline of the previous six conferences, allowing scholars who work on different aspects of the medieval chronicle (historical, literary, art-historical) to meet, announce new findings and projects, present new methodologies, and discuss the prospects for collaborative research.

The main themes of the conference are:

1. Chronicle: history or literature?
The chronicle as a historiographical and/or literary genre; genre identification; genre confusion and genre influence; typologies of chronicle; classification; conventions (historiographical, literary or otherwise) and topoi.

2. The function of the chronicle
The function of chronicles in society; contexts historical, literary and social; patronage; reception of the text(s); literacy; orality; performance.

3. The form of the chronicle
The language(s) of the chronicle; inter-relationships of chronicles in multiple languages; prose and/or verse chronicles; manuscript traditions and dissemination; the arrangement of the text.

4. The chronicle and the representation of the past
How chronicles record the past; the relationship with ‘time’; how the reality of the past is encapsulated in the literary form of the chronicle; how chronicles explain the past; motivations given to historical actors; the role of the Divine.

5. Art and Text in the chronicle
How art functions in manuscripts of chronicles; do manuscript illuminations illustrate the texts or do they provide a different discourse that amplifies, re-enforces or contradicts the verbal text; origin and production of illuminations; relationships between author(s), scribe(s) and illuminator(s).

Call for Papers

Papers in English, French or German are invited on any aspect of Medieval Chronicle. Papers will be allocated to sections to give coherence and contrast; authors should identify the main theme to which their paper relates. Papers read at the conference will be strictly limited to twenty (20) minutes in length. The deadline for abstracts is Monday 21 October 2013 (maximum length one (1) side A4 paper, including bibliography). Please email your abstract to the conference organisers

The conference will take place on the south campus of the University of Liverpool, near the centre of Liverpool, Merseyside, UK. Liverpool has its own airport – Liverpool John Lennon Airport – with connections to many European cities. Travel through Manchester Airport (which has direct train connections to Liverpool) is also possible. Accommodation will be in Vine Court, newly built en-suite accommodation on the South Campus, fifteenth minutes walk from the centre of Liverpool and Lime Street Station. A variety of guest houses and hotels (at a range of prices) are similarly available near the university.

Additional information about costs, accommodation, travel and registration will be provided shortly on a dedicated conference website.

For further information please contact the organisers.

Dr Godfried Croenen
School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies
University of Liverpool
Liverpool, Merseyside,
L69 7ZR, UK

Dr Sarah Peverley
School of English
University of Liverpool
Liverpool, Merseyside,
L69 7ZR, UK

Dr Damien Kempf
Department of History
University of Liverpool
Liverpool, Merseyside,
L69 7WZ, UK

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

CFP: Fighting Dragons and Monsters: Heroic Mythology

The International Association for Comparative Mythology 8th Annual Conference

May 24-26, 2014
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography
National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

Conference Website

Call for Papers

We are happy to announce that the 8th Annual Conference of the International Association for Comparative Mythology is to be held at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (Yerevan, Armenia) from May 24 to May 26, 2014. All members are warmly invited to give a paper and to participate in the discussions.

Our topic (as well as the conference title) this year will be: Fighting Dragons and Monsters: Heroic Mythology.

The main focus this time will be on the Indo–European, Ancient Near Eastern, and the Caucasus mythology; however, papers about mythology of other regions of the world that conform to the conference topic are also welcome.

A list of prospective talks will be published on our website. Please take note of the following:


Please send us the title of your paper as soon as possible. That will substantially facilitate planning.


By January 15, 2014, please send, if you intend to participate, a short (300 words or less) abstract of your talk to this address. The abstracts will be reviewed by a selection committee; the selected abstracts will be published on our website.

Paper Length

The expected paper length is 20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion.

The language of the conference is English.

Conference fee for the participants from North America, Australia, the EU, and Northeast Asia is $50, which will cover the conference dinner and reception. Students from the aforementioned countries and participants from other regions can participate for a reduced fee – $10. For the payment options please see below.

Also, those of you who are not yet official members of IACM, please consider joining the association! The yearly fee is $35 (it is $10 for students and members from countries outside North America, Australia, the EU, and Northeast Asia).

Sunday, 15 September 2013

CFP: Late Medieval Court Records

IMC Leeds 7-10 Jul 2014

From the twelfth century on, public courts and the institutionalized legal process obtained a prominent profile in many parts of Europe. Legal authorities and litigants increasingly strove to record and thus shape the legal process through documenting their activities. The sources they produced, grouped together under the term ‘court records’, form a true goldmine for historians. They throw light on historical events and processes that are otherwise difficult if not impossible to access, from legal procedures to daily life and language, to cosmology. Small wonder that some of the most important works on premodern history, like Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou and Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms, have drawn extensively on this type of source.

Yet these sources are not without difficulties for the historian using them. Not only are they often relatively hard to access, requiring extensive palaeographical and linguistic skills, but the information contained in them is seldom straightforward. Court records often purport to contain more than they do, and usually contain more than they seem to do. They are not only very rich but also very challenging sources.

That is why we think it valuable to make this historical source, the court record, the focus of a strand of sessions at the twentieth International Medieval Congress in Leeds from 7-10 July 2014. We hope to gather scholars from different regions to compare and discuss the great variety of records produced by law courts in the later medieval period, as well as the practical and methodological issues connected to their study. The idea of this IMC strand is to form a basis for further discussion and cooperation between early career researchers working with late medieval court records in the future.

We therefore invite proposals from current postgraduate, postdoctoral and other early career researchers in History and any other relevant subject area, for papers of 20 minutes on the topic of late medieval court records. Abstracts must be 200 words maximum. The proposals must include name, institution, contact information, paper title and abstract.

Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:
• Methodology of court records
• Gendering court records
• Court records and the legal process
• Court records and urban society
• The voice of the ‘common man’ in court records
• Court records and social/religious deviancy
• The comparative approach of court records
• Court records and legal/social/political conflict

Proposals are to be sent to Frans Camphuijsen by September 22nd 2013.

Panel convenors: Sarah Crawford (University of Sydney), James Page (University of St. Andrews) and Frans Camphuijsen (University of Amsterdam)

CFP: The Geographic Imagination: Conceptualizing Places and Spaces in the Middle Ages

2nd Annual Indiana Medieval Graduate Student Consortium Conference

Call for Papers

Keynote Speaker: Professor Geraldine Heng
Perceval Fellow and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, with a joint appointment in Middle Eastern studies and Women’s studies at the University of Texas at Austin

The students of the Indiana Medieval Graduate Student Consortium (IMGC) are pleased to announce that we are accepting submissions for the second annual IMGC conference, 'The Geographic Imagination: Conceptualizing Places and Spaces in the Middle Ages', to take place on 28 Feb-1 Mar 2014 at the University of Notre Dame.

The transnational turn in the humanities over the last two decades has put increasing pressure on our ideas of nationhood and has provided us with a liberating awareness of the constructedness of the spaces we study. New methodologies have developed in response to this pressure as scholars turn to comparative approaches, borderland studies, histoire croisée, studies of empire, and oceanic models in order to accommodate the ambiguities of nationhood and of conceptions of space. Suggested by seminal transnational studies, such as Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, many critics now study “the flows of people, capital, profits and information.” Recently, David Wallace’s ambitious literary history of Europe has adopted a similarly fluid approach to culture, avoiding a study of “national blocks” of literature, organizing itself instead along transnational itineraries that stretch beyond the European sphere. The Middle Ages offer a particularly broad and rich era in which to encounter fluid notions of space, as any glance at a medieval map such as the famous Hereford mappa mundi invitingly suggests. We invite presentations from all fields to explore any aspect of the medieval “geographic imagination,” of conceptions of space, place, and nation: ideas of geography, cartography, transnational identities and networks, intercultural encounters, mercantile routes, travelogues, rural and urban spaces, religious places, and concepts of locality and local identities.

The IMGC is delighted to announce that our keynote speaker this year will be Dr Geraldine Heng, well known to many of us for her exhaustive and provocative study of medieval romance, Empire of Magic, and her subsequent work on race in the Middle Ages.

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by 15 Dec, 2013 on the conference website. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests.

This conference is generously sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. The Nanovic Institute is committed to enriching the intellectual culture of Notre Dame by creating an integrated, interdisciplinary home for students and faculty to explore the evolving ideas, cultures, beliefs, and institutions that shape Europe today.

Dress and Textile Discussion Group (University of Manchester)

Programme for 2013-14

Where: TBC – please see reminders

Time: 5pm

Thursday 10th October 2013
Dr Brenda King: Stitch and Stone. The Leek Embroidery Society and its collaboration with Gothic Revival Architects

Thursday 21st November 2013
Alexandra Lester-Makin: The Kempston Embroidery Revisited

Thursday 13th February 2013
Dr John Peter Wild: Cotton - the New Wool. A Developing Tale from Roman Egypt

Thursday 20th March 2014
Dr Chris Monk: Divine Clothing: Adorning God and the Patriarchs in the Rylands Bible Historiée

Thursday 1st May 2014
Dr Elizabeth Coatsworth: Mrs Christie and English Medieval Embroidery

For more information, please contact Alexandra Lester-Makin.

Friday, 30 August 2013

CFP: The Health of the Realm: The Historical Context of Medicine in the Early Middle Ages

IMC Leeds 7-10 July 2014

While interest in medicine and medical texts has been growing in recent years, its historical context has largely been neglected. Illness and treatment do not exist in a vacuum: just as chronic stomach pain finds a place alongside Byzantine diplomacy and the Lombard threat in the letters of Gregory the Great, so the Anglo-Saxon Bald's Leechbook transcribes a remedy sent to a sick King Alfred, and Bede records the plague that brought the monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow to its knees. Medical texts were the product of the circumstances, anxieties, and philosophies of their times, just as the times were shaped by the health of those who lived them.

This session hopes to explore the historical framework of illness, care, and the transmission of medical knowledge. We are looking for papers on any aspect of early medieval medicine that draws on broader themes, on topics including but not limited to:

- Cultural relations and the transmission of texts
- Trade and the market for materia medica
- The economy of medical care
- Transmission
- Vernacular and Latin sources
- Linguistic development and medical texts
- Leadership and Illness
- Death and illness, 'the Great Levellers'
- Soul, body, and the Church

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to Christine Voth by September 10, 2013

CFP: Sessions at Kalamazoo 2014

The 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 8-11, 2014

Please note: these CFPs are for different sessions at Congress. If you are intending to submit to an abstract, please pay attention to the contact details for that session and direct your emails to the correct person.

CFP: New Readings on Women in Old English Literature Revisited (A Roundtable)

It has been over twenty years since the publication of New Readings on Women in Old English Literature, edited by Helen Damico and Alexandra Hennessey Olsen (Indiana University Press 1990). That text was a landmark, the first to collect scholarship examining Old English texts, both canonical and those less frequently considered, from a feminist perspective. Many of the essays included are still valuable, but it is time for an updating of this important text. Much valuable work has been accomplished in the years since its publication, and more remains to be done. This session is a roundtable in which participants will discuss the state of scholarship that considers Anglo-Saxon texts from a feminist perspective, whatever that might mean today, and what direction an updating of the original volume might take. Helen Damico has agreed to serve as a respondent. This special session is a preliminary part of a project that looks towards producing a new volume of essays updating the original.

Please contact Yvette Kisor by September 15, 2013. Along with your proposal, please include a completed Participant Information Form, which is available on the ICMS website.

CFP: Give and Take: Exchange in Early Medieval English, Norse, and Celtic Literature

Gift-theory and theories of exchange continue to grant interesting insights into medieval literature, and medievalists have important perspectives to contribute to the body of theoretical scholarship on exchange. This session seeks papers exploring concepts of exchange in early medieval Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic literatures and is especially interested in papers that apply gift-theory beyond the simple exchange of gift-items. This means, for instance, considering exchange more broadly (exchanged violence, exchange between generations, exchange between the spiritual and temporal realms, symbolic exchange, etc.), or thinking through conceptual problems within gift-theory addressed by medieval sources: for example, how is meaning negotiated and guaranteed through exchange? Where are the lines are between gift, loan, and purchase? How does the gift reveal or hide intention? How is the extent of selflessness or self-interest determined or judged? How does the gift function as a test or revelation of character? What is the relationship between a thing given and its meaning?

250-300-word abstracts should be sent to Stephanie Clark by September 15. Along with your proposal, please include a completed Participant Information Form, which is available on the ICMS website. Unless requested otherwise, proposals not used in this session will be forwarded on to the Congress committee for consideration for general sessions.

CFP: Single-Manuscript Texts: the Challenges and Opportunities of Uniqueness

For many theories of textual criticism, single-manuscript texts are a problem and anomaly, yet many of the most important works of medieval literature are known from single manuscripts. Within English literature alone, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, many of the lyrics in Harley 2253, and scores of other texts are unique. Moreover, medieval readers had to cope with lone texts at least as often as do modern scholars. The behavior of scribes, annotators, and translators working from damaged or otherwise problematic exemplars makes clear that in the Middle Ages, people often encountered texts that they could never expect to compare with others. The experience of uniqueness, then, was in fact a normal aspect of medieval book culture. But once we have stopped seeing single-manuscript texts as anomalies, how shall we proceed? Does uniqueness demand its own editorial practice? How should we read books that have no parallels?

With such questions in mind, we hope to bring together scholars working on a range of national languages and time periods to discuss the principles and methods guiding our study of single-manuscript texts, with the goal of understanding how unique manuscripts can be understood within medieval book culture and modern critical practice.

Abstracts and Participant Information Forms should be sent to Arthur W. Bahr.

Queries may also be directed to Emily Thornbury.

CFP: Strange Letters: Alphabets in Medieval Manuscripts

The letter, as most medieval grammatical texts will tell you, is the fundamental unit of language; if you want to know a language, you must know its letters. Throughout much of the western middle ages, knowledge of languages was primarily restricted to Latin and various European vernaculars, all of which were written with the Roman alphabet. Nevertheless, medieval scholars were well aware of other alphabets, and even knew the rudimentary connections among say the Roman, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets. Despite the general inability to interact with these and other languages in a sustained way, medieval scribes exhibit a fascination with a variety of non-Roman alphabets: Greek, and Hebrew, of course, but also Runes, Coptic, Arabic, and invented alphabets like that attributed to Aethicus Ister.

This session looks to bring together scholars working on these alphabets and those with interest in the topic to share each others' insights. Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- Alphabet Collections
- Ciphers and Codes
- Alphabetic/acrostic poetry
- The use of foreign - and pseudo - scripts in medieval art
- The use of letters in charms and magic
- Foreign marginalia
- Manuscript runes

Please send any queries as well as abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participation Form to session organizer Damian Fleming by September 15, 2013. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract. Abstracts not accepted for this session will be forwarded to the Congress committee which will consider the paper for inclusion in a general session.

Friday, 2 August 2013

CFP: Un/making Mistakes in Medieval Media (Kalamazoo, 2014)

Organizers: Barbara M. Eggert (Humboldt University, Berlin) and Christine Schott (Erskine College, South Carolina)

Errare humanum est – and just as today, errors and mistakes occurred in every field of medieval culture, concerning the sacred and the secular sphere alike.

During the Holy Mass, priests lost focus, words were omitted from liturgical texts, wine got spilled on sacred garments - and there were texts, of course, telling you how to deal with these failings, how to unmake these mistakes. In the legal context, mistakes of law or fact could have a vital influence on the sentence – therefore, following the Roman Law, errors and mistakes were categorized, classed, and addressed in legal texts. While scholars of medieval arts usually focus on the craftsmanship of the artifacts, errors and mistakes of a different nature are to be found in any genre; some of them, like flaws in pottery, obviously happened accidentally; others, like portraits of figures with two left hands, belong to the category of deliberate mistakes.

As a follow-up of the questions raised in the session Un/making Mistakes in Medieval Manuscripts (Kalamazoo 2013), the purpose of this session is to examine errors and mistakes and the "corrections" thereof from different angles: On the one hand, the sessio_nFocuses on theory by analyzing how medieval scholars of different fields defined error and mistake and the consequences these phenomena could have. What mistakes mattered, and in what context – and (how) could they be corrected? On the other hand, the session is dedicated to the material aspects of error, that is the exploration of mistakes in medieval artifacts. It invites paper proposals from both scholars of text as well as scholars of images of any genre (manuscripts, textiles, stained glass windows, etc.) that explore the nature of errors, mistakes, and obscurities in medieval media as well as the “corrections” thereof to gain insight into the contemporary assumptions about what a particular medium should look like.

The session welcomes papers from all disciplines.

Please send your abstract, along with a short CV and the paper proposal form (which you can download here) to Barbara M. Eggert and Christine Schott by September 1, 2013.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

CFP: Revisiting the Legacy of Boethius in the Middle Ages

Harvard University, March 13-15, 2014

For the conference website, please click here

The legacy of Boethius in the Middle Ages has been enjoying a resurgence of interest in recent years, with new editions, translations, and studies that place his profound influence in a new light. The Alfredian Boethius project of Oxford University, to pick just one example, has produced a critical edition of the Old English Boethius (2009), and the spinoff database of the commentary tradition will almost certainly change our understanding of the broader reception of The Consolation of Philosophy across medieval Europe. Other recent work has revisited the legacy of Boethius in the fields of music, philosophy, poetry, and theology, and the Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages (2012) will stimulate future scholarship and teaching.

This conference invites proposals on the early reception of Boethius and his influence on readers and writers in medieval England and continental Europe. Possible topics include vernacular translations and transformations; Neoplatonism and the philosophical tradition; adaptations of Boethian prosimetrum; Boethian afterlives in poetry, music, and the visual arts; and new findings from the Latin commentary tradition, among others.

The conference will be hosted by Harvard University’s English Department and the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies, with support from the Morton Bloomfield Fund and the International Boethius Society. We are pleased to announce that Ann Astell (University of Notre Dame), Susan Irvine (University College London), and Eleanor Johnson (Columbia University) will be giving the conference’s plenary addresses. Presentations should be no longer than twenty minutes. Potential presenters should s_ubmit an abstract of approximately 250 words to the conference convenors. Abstracts are due by October 1, 2013.

CFP: Religious Men in the Middle Ages: Networks and Communities

3-5 July 2014
University of Lincoln, UK

Call for Papers

This conference seeks to explore and re-evaluate the forms and functions of networks and communities for men in the middle ages. We invite papers which consider these in relation to professed religious men and/or laymen of any faith. Scholars are increasingly engaging with what religion, belief and devotion meant to men as men. Networks and communities both shape and express individual, relational, and collective identities, and therefore shed useful light on the experiences, perceptions or depiction of medieval men. This is the second conference under the auspices of The Bishop’s Eye Network – a research network between the Universities of Huddersfield and Lincoln. The first, ‘Religious Men in the Middle Ages’, was held at Huddersfield in 2012.

We invite abstracts from scholars at all career stages working on the interplay between men in networks and communities; how they are constituted and what they mean. Papers may focus on homosocial networks and communities or male involvement in female networks and communities.

Topics for discussion could include networks and communities defined by:

- Family and kinship
- Intellectual connections (e.g. textual communities, scholasticism)
- Profession and Occupation
- Orders, universities, monastic, mendicant, and secular houses
- Patronage and affinity
- Geography and location
- Guilds and confraternities
- Military experience (e.g. comitati, warbands, orders of chivalry)
- Friendship and emotional bonds (e.g. amicitia, love)
- Ethnicity and inter-cultural encounters

Papers could consider individuals or groups from any faith, religious tradition, monotheistic, pagan, or heretical, or could focus on men who rejected religion and faith. We encourage proposals from scholars working in any relevant field: history, literature and language, art history, musicology, archaeology, etc., and from any medieval period (c. 300–early 1500s) or geographical setting.

The conference will be held at the Brayford Campus, which is a few minutes’ walk from the train station, and within easy reach of the cathedral and castle. The conference organisers are Dr Philippa Hoskin and Dr Joanna Huntington. For further information on Lincoln please click here (a conference website is under construction).

We hope to publish a volume of essays based on a selection of the papers delivered at the conference.

Proposals, of 200-300 words, for papers of 20 minutes, should be submitted to the conference convenors by 30 September 2013.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

CFP: 15th Global Conference: Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness

Saturday 22nd March – Monday 24th March 2014, Prague, Czech Republic

Call for Presentations

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to examine and explore issues surrounding evil and human wickedness. In wrestling with evil(s) we are confronted with a multi-layered phenomenon which invites people from all disciplines, professions and vocations to come together in dialogue and wrestle with questions that cross the boundaries of the intellectual, the emotional and the personal. Underlying these efforts there is the sense that in grappling with evil we are in fact grappling with questions and issues of our own humanity.

The complex nature of evil is reflected in this call for presentations: in recognising that no one approach or perspective can adequately do justice to what we mean by evil, so there is an equal recognition that no one form of presentation ought to take priority over others. We solicit contributions which may be

~ papers, panels, workshops, reports
~ case studies
~ performance pieces; dramatic readings; poetic renditions; short stories; creative writings
~ works of art; works of music
We will also consider other forms of contribution. Successful proposals will normally be given a 20 minute presentation space. Perspectives are sought from all academic disciplines along with, for example, those working in the caring professions, journalism, the media, the military, prison services, politics, psychiatry and other work-related, ngo and vocational areas.

Key themes for reflection may include, but are not limited to:

-what is evil?
-is there ‘new’ evil, or are evil acts/events pretty much the same across time with only our interpretive lenses changing as cultures shift?
-the nature and sources of evil and human wickedness
-evil animals? Wicked creatures?
-the places and spaces of evil
-crimes, criminals and justice
-psychopathic behaviour – mad or bad?
-villains, wicked characters and heroes
-vice and virtue
-choice, responsibility, and diminished responsibility
-social and cultural reactions to evil and human wickedness
-political evils; evil, power and the state
-evil and gender; evil and the feminine
-evil children
-hell, hells, damnation: evil and the afterlife
-the portrayal of evil and human wickedness in the media and popular culture
-suffering in literature and film
-individual acts of evil, group violence, holocaust and genocide; obligations of bystanders
-terrorism, war, ethnic cleansing
-fear, terror, horror
-the search for meaning and sense in evil and human wickedness
-the nature and tasks of theodicy
-religious understandings of evil and human wickedness
-postmodern approaches to evil and human wickedness
-ecocriticism, evil and suffering
-evil and the use/abuse of technology; evil in cyberspace

The Steering Group also welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals.

What to Send

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 10th October 2013. All submissions are at least double blind peer reviewed. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 17th January 2014. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract f) up to 10 key words

E-mails should be entitled: Evil15 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Stephen Morris

Rob Fisher

The conference is part of the At the Interface programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

For further details of the conference, please click here.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2014

9‐11 January
The University of Winchester

Gender and Status

Keynote speaker: Barbara Yorke, Professor Emerita of Early Medieval History, University of Winchester

In a social hierarchy, gender and status are closely interrelated. These beliefs create constraining bonds, which can limit but also encourage attempts to circumvent them. We can discern different methods of both manoeuvring within social status and also breaking free of it.

The extent to which gender determines and informs status has led to different medieval explanations of this system. The 2014 Gender and Medieval Studies Conference welcomes a range of multifaceted or interdisciplinary approaches to the topic of Gender and Status in the Middle Ages. The examination of both femininities and masculinities, individually or in conjunction to each other, with theoretical or interpretive approaches from literature, history, art history, archaeology, music history, philosophy, theology or any related discipline are especially desired. We would also like to offer early‐stage postgraduate students the opportunity to share their research in progress through poster presentations.

Areas that could be explored (but are not limited to) include:

- Economics
- Social status
- Mobility
- Employment
- Corpus Christi
- Spheres of influence
- Life cycles
- Access to power
- Authority
- The concept of ‘status’
- Servitude and slavery
- Marital status
- Sexuality
- Poverty

The GMS 2014 will include a round table on gender and pedagogy, and we are seeking academics with teaching experience from a wide range of disciplines to participate.

We invite proposals for 20‐minute papers or posters on any aspect of this topic. Please e‐mail proposals of approximately 250 words, including your contact details and affiliation (if applicable), to the conference convenors by 2 September 2013. For session proposals, please include all participants’ names, affiliations, paper titles and abstracts. If you would like to participate in the pedagogy round table, please express your interest to the committee at the same email address.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

CFP: Old and Middle English Studies: Texts and Sources

3-5 September 2014
Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London
A joint international conference with Keio University, Tokyo

Call for Papers

The study of Old and Middle English sources is critical for an understanding of medieval language and literature in the British Isles. This joint conference aims to open up and explore new ways for intellectual exchange and collaboration between scholars working in any aspect of medieval English, in London and Japan especially. The theme for the 2014 conference is ‘Texts and Sources’. Papers will be selected for their ability to link various branches of learning that touch upon Old and Middle English studies, including such topics as history, language, literature, philology, to name just a few. The conference will be accompanied by a special exhibit of manuscripts from medieval and early modern times curated with a view to illustrating the central theme of the proceedings.

Conference organizers, Keio University (Tokyo) and the Institute of English Studies (London), invite scholars to submit abstracts of up to 250 words directly to ieskeio.conference@gmail.com, not later than 1st December 2013.

Papers on the following topics with special emphasis on Japanese and/or British research will be encouraged, although papers with wider scope will not be excluded:

- Digital humanities and virtual libraries
- Interconnections between Old and Middle English scholarship
- Manuscript studies
- Medievalism
- Teaching Old and Middle English
- Translating Old and Middle English into modern languages

Other general topics might include:

- Multiculturalism/multilingualism in the Middle Ages
- Old and Middle English literature and literary culture
- Old and Middle English philology: texts and contexts
- Old and Middle English: synchronic and diachronic studies
- Old and Middle English translations and their sources
- Sources for Old and Middle English culture

The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; email

Friday, 5 July 2013

Giveaway: Two Books from MUP

The good people at Hic Dragones are giving away two titles from Manchester University Press. International entry welcome. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Fred Botting, Limits of Horror: Technology, Bodies, Gothic
Horror isn’t what it used to be. Nor are its Gothic avatars. The meaning of monsters, vampires and ghosts has changed significantly over the last two hundred years, as have the mechanisms (from fiction to fantasmagoria, film and video games) through which they are produced and consumed. Limits of horror, moving from gothic to cybergothic, through technological modernity and across a range of literary, cinematic and popular cultural texts, critically examines these changes and the questions they pose for understanding contemporary culture and subjectivity. Re-examining key concepts such as the uncanny, the sublime, terror, shock and abjection in terms of their bodily and technological implications, this book advances current critical and theoretical debates on Gothic horror to propose a new theory of cultural production based on an extensive discussion of Freud’s idea of the death drive. Limits of horror will appeal to students and academics in Literature, Film, Media and Cultural Studies and Cultural Theory.

Nicholas Royle, The Uncanny
This study is of the uncanny; an important concept for contemporary thinking and debate across a range of disciplines and discourses, including literature, film, architecture, cultural studies, philosophy, psychoanalysis and queer theory. Much of this importance can be traced back to Freud's essay of 1919, "The Uncanny" (Das Unheimliche). Where he was perhaps the first to foreground the distinctive nature of the uncanny as a feeling of something not simply weird or mysterious but, more specifically, as something strangely familiar. As a concept and a feeling, however, the uncanny has a complex history going back to at least the Enlightenment. Royle offers a detailed historical account of the emergence of the uncanny, together with a series of close readings of different aspects of the topic. Following a major introductory historical and critical overview, there are chapters on the death drive, deja-vu, "silence, solitude and darkness", the fear of being buried alive, doubles, ghosts, cannibalism, telepathy and madness, as well as more "applied" readings concerned, for example, with teaching, politics, film and religion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CFP: Kalamazoo 2014 Sessions

The 49th International Congress of Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
May 8-11, 2014

Three sessions at next year's International Congress of Medieval Studies - please note that different sessions are organized by different people, so please use the correct contact details if submitting abstracts.

Shock! Horror! Didacticism and Diversion in Medieval Biblical Narratives

This session will address the functions and effects of the amplification of “shock” and “horror” in medieval vernacular and visual adaptations of Old and New Testament narratives. They will ask where the opening up of the Word of God for the spiritual edification of the “lewd [common] man” meets up with the exploiting of the dramatic potential in biblical stories for diversion and entertainment – or even titillation. It has been appreciated that Latin works such as Peter Comestor's Historia scholastica (c. 1173) in a sense legitimized the Bible as an “entertaining narrative” (James Morey, 1993); however, assumptions concerning and/or emphases on the moralizing quality of biblical re-imaginings have arguably prevented scholars from considering in detail where vernacular and visual works may be located along what might be termed a “didacticism-diversion spectrum.” This somewhat neglected area of research calls for a multi-disciplinary engagement and dialogue. Papers are sought from across literary studies, art and visual studies, and drama and performance studies. The sessions will appeal to scholars interested in: textual and cultural transmission of biblical stories; the burgeoning study of emotion; the interrelationships of text, image and drama; and the development of popular theology. Papers addressing poetry, prose or drama in the English vernaculars – both Old and Middle English – are especially encouraged, though other vernacular languages will also be considered, particularly if the paper has a comparative approach. Papers addressing visual studies should focus on biblical narrative artwork from England (e.g. The Illustrated Old English Hexateuch; the Holkham Bible), though insular and European continental works may also be considered if they are addressed comparatively with English works. “Shock” and “horror” may be interpreted fairly broadly, but emphasis on the deployment of violence and/or sex will especially be appreciated.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participation Form (available here) to session organizer Chris Monk by September 15, 2013. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract. Abstracts not accepted for this session will be forwarded to the Congress committee for consideration of inclusion in general sessions, as stipulated in Congress policy.

Monsters I: Monstrous Gender
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)

Recent trends in monster scholarship are developing a strong focus on the imbrications of monstrosity and gender. We are looking for papers that address the intersection of gender and monstrosity in interesting, unusual, provocative and meaningful ways. We especially encourage papers that seek to move beyond the more traditional uses of monster and gender theories in medieval studies to consider how these categories of thinking can intersect, challenge, problematize, corroborate, support, and inform one another. Interdisciplinary approaches including but not limited to the consideration of monstrous gender in literature, language, history, art history, architecture, philosophy, religion, politics, and/or cultural studies are highly welcome.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here) to session organizers Melissa Ridley Elmes or Asa Simon Mittman by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. Abstracts will be posted to the MEARCSTAPA blog, and all abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

Monsters II: Parallel Worlds: Monstrous Voyages, Monstrous Visitors
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)

Refraction, reflection, intrusion, illusion, overlay, visitation, wandering, straying: parallel worlds double and haunt medieval landscapes, providing voyage destinations and otherworldly visitors. Medieval worlds are not unitary or univocal, as refugees seek Torelore and the Pays de Cocagne; as chroniclers record or imagine far-off Carthage and Jerusalem; as the secular world finds itself invaded by hellish demons or heavenly angels; as saints and mystics simultaneously inhabit this world and the next. What can other worlds, or other temporalities, tell us about how medieval cultures understood the quotidian or secular world? How does the ingress of or egress to various worlds beyond establish or erode the definition of the here-and-now? Are all such intrusions monstrous? Does monstrosity necessitate intrusion from beyond? We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions, on topics that might include the double presence of life and death, profane and sacred, self and other, animal and human, native and foreigner, male and female, straight and queer, past, future, and present.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here) to session organizers Stefanie Goyette or Asa Simon Mittman by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. Abstracts will be posted to the MEARCSTAPA blog, and all abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

CFP: DigiPal One-Day Symposium

Date: Monday 16th September 2013
Venue: King's College London, Strand
Co-sponsor: Centre for Late Antique & Medieval studies, KCL

It is with great delight that the DigiPal team at the Department of Digital Humanities (King's College London) announce their third Symposium.

We've built up a scholarly camaraderie over the last two years and much look forward to our annual opportunity to discuss and debate the computer-assisted study of medieval handwriting and manuscripts.

How to propose a paper

Papers of 20 minutes in length are invited on any aspect of digital approaches to the study of medieval handwriting and manuscripts.

The topics below might help guide potential submissions:

* terminology for describing handwriting
* visualisation of manuscript evidence and data
* meaning and mining in palaeography
* automatic letter-form identification
* methods for dating/localising script
* crowd-sourcing in palaeography
* the practical and theoretical consequences of the use of digital images
* examples of research that would benefit from a Digital Humanities (or DigiPal) approach

The above are only serving suggestions, so please don't feel limited to these topics.

To propose a paper, please email a brief abstract (250 words max.) to the symposium organizers.

The deadline for the receipt of submissions is 10.23pm on Wednesday 3rd July 2013

What is DigiPal?

For more information, please visit our website or dive in at the deep end.

Medieval and Early Modern Student Association Postgraduate Conference - The Mutilated Body

8-9 July 2013 at St John's College, Durham University

MEMSA is proud to announce its seventh annual postgraduate conference, an event designed to bring together postgraduate and early career researchers in interdisciplinary dialogue. This year's topic is the Mutilated Body, where delegates will explore aspects of destruction, disability, and personhood in the medieval and Early Modern periods, investigating medical humanities and hagiography, as well as interpretations of the conceptualisation of mutilated corporeality, as typified by books, the nation-state and kingship, or Christendom. Keynote speakers will be Professor Faith Wallis (McGill University) and Professor Charlotte Roberts (Durham University). Delegates will also have the option to tour the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition, following a talk by Professor Richard Gameson (Durham University).

Please click here to register online.

Liturgy in History: International Study Day

Call for Participants

We are delighted to announce a call for participants for Liturgy in History, an international study day for graduate students and early career researchers at Queen Mary’s Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.

Liturgy in History: a full-day workshop exploring liturgy in practice in the medieval and early-modern periods.
When: Tuesday 19th November, 9:30 – 17:00 (lunch provided)
Where: Queen Mary, Mile End Campus, room tbc

One of the most exciting developments in medieval, renaissance and early modern studies over the past decade has been a renewed historical appreciation of liturgical sources. Liturgies, so crucial to understanding the lived experiences of religion, were seedbeds for cultural production across Europe, and were deeply contested in the changing confessional landscapes of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Liturgy in History will provide a unique opportunity to engage with liturgical sources and access the expertise of researchers in the field.

Three speakers – Professor Nils Holger Petersen (University of Copenhagen), Professor Emma Dillon (King’s College London) and Dr. Beth Williamson (University of Bristol) – will guide participants through the structure and formulae of liturgical sources. The musical, visual, architectural and performative aspects of the liturgy will all be carefully considered and approaches to liturgy re-interrogated. The day will culminate in a trip to a nearby renaissance church which will help situate them in their context. We would be delighted to welcome international participants and students from diverse disciplines, to reflect the multidisciplinary focus of the day itself.

Participants will not only have the opportunity to learn more about the current state of liturgical research but will also be given the chance to offer their own insights into this pivotal aspect of medieval and early modern studies.

Please see below for a provisional schedule of the day.

If you would like to join us please email Hetta Howes. Attendance will be free of charge, but places are limited to ensure discussion and participation, so it is essential that you book your place.

Liturgy in History International Study Day, 19 November 2013

9:30–10:00 – Registration, tea and coffee

10:00–11:15 Professor Nils Holger Petersen (University of Copenhagen): An introduction to the structure and formulae of liturgical sources in the Christian West

11:15–11:25 – Coffee break

11:25–12:30 Professor Emma Dillon (King’s College London): Sung components of liturgy – how was liturgy was presented and experienced in medieval and early modern Europe?

12:30–13:10 – Lunch

13:10–14:25 – Dr. Beth Williamson (University of Bristol): Space and Sight in the Liturgy

14:25–14:35 – Coffee break

14:35–15:25 – Prof. Miri Rubin: Round Table discussion

15:25–17.00 – Visit to an historic church to consider liturgy within a church, how religious changes affected ritual, and to experience liturgical music from across the period

Impossible Spaces Book Launch

Details of a book launch in Manchester - a new collection of short stories including pieces by two of the medievalists at the University of Manchester (Dr. Hannah Priest, writing as Hannah Kate, and PhD student Daisy Black).

Friday 19 July, 7.00-9.00pm
Free entry

International Anthony Burgess Foundation
3 Cambridge Street
Manchester M1 5BY
United Kingdom

Join us at the launch of Impossible Spaces, a new collection of short stories from Hic Dragones.

Sometimes the rules can change. Sometimes things aren't how they appear. Sometimes you can just slip through the cracks and end up... somewhere else. What else is there? Is there somewhere else, right beside you, if you could only reach out and touch it? Or is it waiting to reach out and touch you?

Don't trust what you see. Don't trust what you hear. Don't trust what you remember. It isn't what you think.

A new collection of twenty-one dark, unsettling and weird short stories that explore the spaces at the edge of possibility. Stories by: Ramsey Campbell, Simon Bestwick, Hannah Kate, Jeanette Greaves, Richard Freeman, Almira Holmes, Arpa Mukhopadhyay, Chris Galvin Nguyen, Christos Callow Jr., Daisy Black, Douglas Thompson, Jessica George, Keris McDonald, Laura Brown, Maree Kimberley, Margret Helgadottir, Nancy Schumann, Rachel Yelding, Steven K. Beattie, Tej Turner and Tracy Fahey.

Free event, with wine reception from 7pm. Readings from Douglas Thompson, Rachel Yelding, Tracy Fahey, Jeanette Greaves, Nancy Schumann, Jessica George and Hannah Kate. Launch party discount on book sales and competition/giveaways.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Recent Publications by Members

A round-up of recent publications by members of the Manchester Medieval Society.

Gale R. Owen-Crocker

The Bayeux Tapestry: Collected Papers, Variorum Collected Studies Series (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012)

(with Elizabeth Coatsworth) ‘Textiles’, in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Medieval Studies, ed. Paul Szarmach (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

(as editor with Elizabeth Coatsworth and Maria Hayward), Encyclopedia of Dress and Textiles­ in the British Isles c. 450-1450 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012)

‘Hunger for England: ambition and appetite in the Bayeux Tapestry’, in Holy and Unholy Appetites in Anglo-Saxon England: a Collection of Studies in Honour of Hugh Magennis, ed. Marilina Cesario and Kathrin Prietzel, English Studies, 93:5 (2012): 540-549

‘Image Making: Portraits of Anglo-Saxon Church Leaders’, in Leaders of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ed. Alexander R. Rumble, Publications of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2012), pp. 109-127

‘Anglo-Saxon Woman: Fame, Anonymity, Identity and Clothing’, in Dress and Identity in the Past, ed. Mary Harlow (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2012), pp. 85-96

Elizabeth Coatsworth

(with Gale R. Owen-Crocker), ‘Textiles’, in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Medieval Studies, ed. Paul Szarmach (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

(as editor with Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Maria Hayward), Encyclopedia of Dress and Textiles­ in the British Isles c. 450-1450 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012)

Alexander R. Rumble

(as editor) Leaders of the Anglo-Saxon Church, Publications of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2012)

Hannah Priest

‘Review of The Jacqueline Rose Reader, ed. Justin Clemens and Ben Naparstek (Durham, 2011)’, Feminism and Psychology, 22:4 (November 2012)

‘Unravelling Constance’, in Dark Chaucer: An Assortment, ed. Myra Seaman, Eileen Joy and Nicola Masciandaro (Brooklyn, NY: Punctum Books, 2012)

‘“Hell! Was I Becoming a Vampyre Slut?’: Sex, Sexuality and Morality in Young Adult Vampire Fiction’, in The Modern Vampire and Human Identity, ed. Deborah Mutch (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

CFP: Romance in Medieval Britain

14th Biennial Conference
12-14th April 2014
Clifton Hill House, Bristol

Papers are invited on all aspects of medieval romance. The conference marks the conclusion of an AHRC-sponsored research project on the Verse Forms of Middle English Romance, and papers that address questions of verse form are particularly welcome.

To propose a paper, please send a brief abstract to one of the two conference organizers, before 31 September 2013:
Dr Judith Jefferson, English Department
Prof. Ad Putter, English Department

Further information about the conference will be made available on the website.

Monday, 22 April 2013

CFP: Anchorites in their Communities

The 5th International Anchoritic Society conference, in association with the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
April 22-24, 2014
Greygnog Hall, Newtown, Powys, Wales

Keynote Speakers:

Diane Watt (Surrey)
Tom Licence (UEA)
Eddie Jones (Exeter)

Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Manuscript workshop:

Eddie Jones (Exeter)
Bella Millett (Southampton)

Much of the work undertaken in the field of medieval anchoritism, particularly within an English context, has concentrated on the vocation’s role within the history of Christian spirituality, its function as a locus of (gendered) sacred space and its extensive ideological cultural work. Indeed, in the hundred years since Rotha Mary Clay’s foundational 1914 study of English anchoritism, The Hermits and Anchorites of England (1914), only sporadic attention has been given to the English anchorite as part of a community – whether social, intellectual, spiritual or religious – and as part of a widespread ‘virtual’ community of other anchorites and religious or ‘semi-religious’ figures spread across England and beyond.

In its focus on anchorites within their multifarious communities, this conference seeks papers attempting to unpick the paradox of the ‘communal anchorite’ and the central role often played by her/him within local and (inter)national political contexts, and within the arenas of church ideology, critique and reform. It also seeks contributions for a Roundtable discussion on any aspect of Mary Rotha Clay’s work, its lasting legacies and the debt to her scholarship owed by new generations of scholars in the twenty-first century.

Offers of 20-minute papers are sought on any aspect of medieval anchorites in their communities including (but not restricted to):

Spiritual circles
Communities of discourse
Anchoritic/lay interaction
Anchorites and church reform
Networks of patronage
Networks of anchorites
Anchorite case studies
Anchoritic friendship groups
Book ownership/ borrowing/ lending/ circulation
Communities of texts: ‘anchoritic’ miscellanies/ textual travelling companions
Textual translation, circulation and mouvance
Non-insular influence
Gendered communities

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to Dr Liz Herbert McAvoy by Friday, August 30th 2013

Evening Talks in May and June (run by Lancashire Archives)

Two upcoming evening talks run by Lancashire Archives. All welcome.

Tuesday 14 May, 6.30pm-7.30pm
Dr Sarah Peverley, Director of Graduate Studies, School of English, University of Liverpool
The Use and Abuse of Genealogy in the Middle Ages
We welcome Sarah back to look at some of our stunning medieval documents and uncover how and why the humble family tree was manipulated to 'prove' a descent from God.

Tuesday 18 June, 6.30pm-7.30pm
Margaret Lynch
Justice in Lancashire in the 13th Century evidenced from the Lancashire Plea Roll of 1292
In April 1292 and Eyre, or court, was sent to Lancashire to hear a backlog of cases, the fines from which would conveniently top up Edward I's coffers. This talk exposes the local disputes and official malpractice recorded in the resulting Plea Roll.

Lancashire Archives Lancashire Record Office Bow Lane Preston PR1 2RE

The First Biennial Blake Lecture (University of Sheffield)

Professor Simon Horobin, ‘Chaucer’s Language and the “well of English undefiled”’

5.15pm-6.45pm, Tuesday 21st May 2013

Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY

All welcome; to reserve your free ticket, please register on the event website.


Norman Blake, Professor of English Language at the University of Sheffield from 1973, was a prolific and influential scholar whose work ranged from Old Norse to modern Irish drama. The key strands of his research, however, focused on the history of the English language and on Chaucer, particularly the complicated manuscript history of The Canterbury Tales. Professor Blake died in 2012, and the School of English has established this biennial lecture series in his honour.

Simon Horobin is Professor of English Language and Literature and a Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is the author of a number of books, including Studying the History of Early English (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Chaucer’s Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). His most recent research, on the history and role of English spelling, is the subject of his forthcoming monograph, Does Spelling Matter? (Oxford University Press).

Monday, 18 March 2013

Medieval Day at Lancashire Archives

Bow Lane, Preston, PR1 2RE

This is a FREE event

Saturday 15 June 2013
11am to 3.30pm

Join us for a day full of activities, talks and exhibitions celebrating all things medieval!

Be transported back in time to the world of Mathew Nash a medieval scribe...

See demonstrations of medieval armoury and warfare, and learn about life in medieval times...

Have a go at writing with a quill pen, illuminating letters or designing your own coat of arms...

Listen to Medieval Stories for Children with Dr Sarah Peverley (University of Liverpool)...

Meet and learn about birds of prey with Barn Owl Bill's birds of prey sanctuary...

Come and meet our medieval bookbinders, who will demonstrate the art and skill of medieval bookbinding...

Visit our exhibition of medieval documents from the collections at Lancashire Archives, including an illuminated book of hours from the 15th century...

And with the following talks there is something for everyone:

12.45 Medieval Memory and Commemoration – Dr Kate Ash, University of Manchester

What did it mean to remember in the Middle Ages? How did medieval writers conceptualize memory? This talk will explore how memory was understood in the later medieval period, and what this meant for the production of literature.

14.00 Father Thomas West (1720-1779) and his medieval charters in the Hornby Presbytery collection – Dr H F Doherty, Jesus College Oxford

Bookings for these talks can be made before the event by telephoning (01772) 533033 or emailing the organizers.

Fancy dress is welcome and there will be a prize for the best children's medieval costume!

Refreshments will be available

Saturday, 2 March 2013

CFP: Shaping Authority

International Conference
Leuven 5-6 December 2013

Call For Papers

How did a person become an authority in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance?

The cultural and religious history from Antiquity through the Renaissance may be read through the lens of the rise and demise of auctoritates. Throughout this long period of about two millennia, many historical persons have been considered as exceptionally authoritative. Obviously, this authority derived from their personal achievements. But one does not become an authority on one’s own. In many cases, the way an authority’s achievements were received and disseminated by their contemporaries and later generations, was the determining factor in the construction of their authority. We will focus on the latter aspect: what are the mechanisms and strategies by which participants in intellectual life at large have shaped the authority of historical persons? On what basis, why and how were some persons singled out above their peers as exceptional auctoritates and by which processes did this continue (or discontinue) over time? What imposed geographical or other limits on the development and expansion of a person’s auctoritas? Which circumstances led to the disintegration of the authority of persons previously considered to be authoritative?

We invite interdisciplinary and innovative scholarly case studies that document these processes. They may focus on one (group of) source(s) to analyse its contribution to shaping the authority of a historical person or they may take a longue durée perspective on the rise (and demise) of a person’s auctoritas.

Thematic clusters one can think of may include (1) Biography, historiography and hagiography as grounds for authority; (2) The role played by manuscript transmission and production; (3) The contribution of non-textual sources; (4) Biblical characters as authorities. Papers are invited from fields as diverse as philosophy, classical studies, Oriental and Byzantine studies, history, theology and religion, art history, manuscript studies and hagiography.

The papers selected for presentation at the conference will preferably be case studies which contain the following elements in some combination: (1) Presentation and analysis of the sources and their context; (2) Analysis of the strategies for the “making of authority”; (3) Description of the long term success (or failure) of these enterprises.

Papers may be given in English, French of German and should be twenty minutes long. To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of your paper and a brief curriculum vitae (max one pag. each) by e-mail to the conference organizer before 20 April 2013.

The publication of selected papers is planned in a volume to be included in the peer-reviewed LECTIO Series (Brepols Publishers).

The keynote lecture will be delivered by Prof. John Van Engen (Notre Dame Indiana USA)

Detailed information about the conference can be found on the website. http://ghum.kuleuven.be/lectio

Scientific Committee: Pieter De Leemans, Sylvain Delcomminette, Russell Friedman, Peter Gemeinhardt, Michèle Goyens, Johan Leemans, Brigitte Meijns, Jan Papy, Gert Partoens, Stefan Schorn, Steven Vanderputten, Peter Van Deun, Gerd Van Riel

Organizing Committee: Johan Leemans, Brigitte Meijns, Gerd Van Riel, Shari Boodts, Marleen Reynders

Keynote Lecture: Prof. John Van Engen (Notre Dame Indiana USA)

Registration: Registration is required before 29 November 2013

Contact: Marleen Reynders

Friday, 1 March 2013

Registration Open: Cannibals: Cannibalism, Consumption and Culture

Kanaris Lecture Theatre and Conference Room
Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom

Thursday 25th April – Friday 26th April 2013

Registration is now open for the Hic Dragones Cannibals: Cannibalism, Consumption and Culture conference. For information about how to register, please visit the conference website.

Conference Programme

Thursday 25th April

9.15-9.45am: Registration

9.45-10.00am: Welcome and Opening Remarks (Kanaris Lecture Theatre)

10.00-11.30am: Session 1: Cultural/Cannibal Encounters (Kanaris Lecture Theatre)
Chair: TBC

(i) Sarah-Louise Flowers (University of Manchester): Consuming Local Tradition: How Outsiders Have Left the Amazon’s Dead Cold and Lonely
(ii) Ruth (Meg) Oldman (Indiana University of Pennsylvania): Preying Upon Blood: Depictions of Catholics in Early Modern Literature
(iii) Michelle Green (University of Nottingham): The Wendigo Cannibal and the ‘Myth’ of Diabetes in Native American Groups

11.30-12.00am: Coffee

12.00-1.30pm: Parallel Sessions

Session 2a: Theorizing Cannibal Culture (Kanaris Lecture Theatre)
Chair: TBC

(i) Sandra Bowdler (University of Western Australia): ‘Cannibalism is Bad’
(ii) Kamil Łacina and Dagna Skrzypinska (Jagiellonian University, Krokow): Bon Appetit! A Concise Defense of Cannibalism
(iii) Suzanne Stuart (University of South Wales, Australia): A Very Particular ‘Consumer Culture’: Theorising Cannibalism in Cultural Discourse