Thursday, August 17, 2017

Join Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP) at Kalamazoo2018! Proposals are due September 15.

The Language of Race in Medieval English Literature

Organizers: Robert J. Meyer-Lee and Renée R. Trilling, for the Journal of English and Germanic Philology
As much recent work has shown (e.g., Geraldine Heng in Literature Compass 2011), the category of race has a long continuous history that reaches back through the Middle Ages and beyond. Nonetheless, like all such fuzzy social concepts of long duration, precisely how that category functioned in social practice (that is, what it meant) has shifted along the vectors of time and place, making the relation between the category as we understand it now and how it was understood in the texts that we study an important area of research. The very volatility of the category in the present, and especially the abusive misappropriation of medieval ideas about race in some quarters, make this area of research especially urgent.

As the principal evidence we have for medieval ideas of race is of course linguistic, this session is interested in new work on the words and phrases in specific medieval literary texts that establish the category of race: among other things, the session is interested in the network of relations to other categories (e.g., social, ethical, religious, biological, political) that those words and phrases convey; the particular literary function of the words and phrases in their local textual contexts; and in synchronic and diachronic considerations of the relation of the words and phrases to their historical and linguistic contexts. We hope to receive submissions that individually or as a group span the Old English / Middle English divide, so that as a whole the session may examine the continuities and changes in the language of race in English across the medieval period.

The Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP), from the University of Illinois Press, has been publishing studies of medieval English, Germanic, and Scandinavian languages and literatures for over a hundred years. Since 2004 the medieval period has been the journal’s primary focus. Its published mission statement is the following:

JEGP focuses on Northern European cultures of the Middle Ages, covering Medieval English, Germanic, and Celtic Studies. The word "medieval" potentially encompasses the earliest documentary and archeological evidence for Germanic and Celtic languages and cultures; the literatures and cultures of the early and high Middle Ages in Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia; and any continuities and transitions linking the medieval and post-medieval eras, including modern "medievalisms" and the history of Medieval Studies.

JEGP’s current editors are: Robert J. Meyer-Lee (Agnes Scott College), Renée R. Trilling (University of Illinois), and Kirsten Wolf (University of Wisconsin).

Renée R. Trilling
Associate Professor of English, Medieval Studies, and Critical Theory
Associate Editor, JEGP
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801

Call for Papers for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May, 2018

Alfredian Texts and Contexts

Alfred and his circle continue to generate both academic and popular interest, and this session brings together papers covering a variety of facets of the king, his times, and his later influence. This session welcomes proposals from all disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches. Papers at past "Alfredian Texts and Contexts" sessions have treated manuscript studies, prose and poetic texts, military strategy, political and cultural history, religious studies, science and medicine, and Continental connections.

I am still seeking abstracts for this session; I do not set up sessions in advance but choose from the submissions I've received through September 15. I will forward any that I do not accept to the Congress for consideration for General Sessions, so please send abstract AND Participant Information Form: to>.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CFP: The Medieval Horse

by Anastasija Ropa
Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.
Call for Papers
September 1, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Archaeology, Environmental History / Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Military History, Sport History & Studies

Palfreys and rounceys, hackneys and packhorses, warhorses and coursers, not to mention the mysterious ‘dung mare’ – they were all part of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Every cleric and monk, no matter how immersed in his devotional routine and books he would be, every nun, no matter how reclusive her life, every peasant, no matter how poor his household, would have some experience of horses. To the medieval people, horses were as habitual as cars in the modern times. Besides, there was the daily co-existence with horses to which many representatives of the gentry and nobility – both male and female – were exposed, which far exceeds the experience of most amateur riders today. We cannot reconstruct or re-experience the familiar and casual communication between humans and equids of the Middle Ages – or can we? At our sessions on the Medieval Horse, we will try to deduce, describe and debate the place of the horse in medieval society.
We welcome submissions on any aspect of medieval equestrianism and engagement with horses and similar beasts of burdens, whether in military, civilian, industrial or agricultural context, from a variety of disciplines as well as papers that approach the subject using experimental and reconstruction methodologies.
In particular, we would be interested in contributions on the following themes:
  • Archaeological approaches to horse equipment and harness
  • Osteological research into remains of equids from medieval contexts
  • Equids and other ridden animals in medieval society and thought (including donkeys and mules, as well as camels, elephants and other exotic ridden animals, and even fantastic creatures – the unicorn, the centaur, the hybrids and grotesques in the marginalia, etc.)
  • Horses in the oriental culture
  • Medieval veterinary and hippiatric care and farriery
  • Employment of the horses for hunting, parade, travelling and agricultural activity
  • Military horses and their typology
  • Horses in literature and art
  • Post-medieval representation of the medieval horse
We have already hosted a number of sessions on medieval equestrianism and the horse at IMC 2016 and 2017, which generated considerable response both from researchers and from the audience attending the sessions.
At IMC 2018, we intend to open the scope of the discussion by organising a Round Table on the theme “Reconstructing the Medieval Horse”, in line with the Congress theme for the next year – Memory. We invite contributions to the Round Table, commenting on the reconstruction of the medieval horse from any perspective: whether as practitioners, consultants, participants in medieval themed equestrian events. More generally, we would like to discuss the extent to which the medieval horse can be reconstructed – if at all – and ways in which aspects of medieval equestrian culture and lore (chivalric, veterinary, breeding, training, horse care, etc.) can be applied in the modern world.
If you are interested in contributing to either the sessions or the Round Table (or both), please send the following to the organisers, Dr. Timothy Dawson ( and Dr. Anastasija Ropa (
  1. For the thematic sessions: Short bio (70-100 words, including name, surname, affiliation, research interests and any other relevant information), proposed paper title and abstract (250-300 words). The duration of the paper is 15-20 minutes, followed by questions.
  2. For the Round TableShort bio (70-100 words, including name, surname, affiliation, research interests and any other relevant information), proposed theme and description (150-200 words)
The deadline for submitting a proposal is 1 September 2017.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by 20 September 2017.
NB: An individual can present only one paper at the IMC and act as a speaker at the Round Table.
If you have any enquiries or want to discuss your proposed contribution, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Contact Info: 
Anastasija Ropa
Contact Email: 
Please circulate widely these two calls for participants in Kalamazoo 2018 roundtables, sponsored by CARA.
1. CFP, Kalamazoo 2018, roundtable: “The 21st-century Medievalist: Digital Methods, Career Diversity, and Beyond.” What does it mean to be, or to train our students to be, medievalists in the 21st century? With the competing demands of learning new digital methods, training for a job market that reaches far beyond the academy, and worrying about widespread attacks on the humanities, it can sometimes feel like a difficult time to be or to train students to become scholars of the premodern world. And yet, other perspectives might suggest that this is the best time of all to be a medievalist – with new technologies opening up new questions and approaches to sources, a focus on global history that broadens our medieval horizons, new media outlets that increase audiences for our work, and the growing openness about the various career paths medievalists can follow, this panel will discuss ways to productively approach these new norms with optimism. This panel will feature four or five panelists discussing how we can work, teach, and train students within this new world while studying and teaching a very old world.
Contact: Sarah Davis-Secord (

2. CFP, Kalamazoo 2018, roundtable: “Teaching a Diverse and Inclusive Middle Ages.” Diversity and inclusivity are major topics of recent conversation both within and outside the community of medievalists, and medievalists have much to offer in combatting racist appropriations of the past. This roundtable will address the question of how we can best include topics of study related to diverse populations in the premodern world in order to teach students about the wide variety of cultures and peoples therein. We will also ask how to attract students from all backgrounds into courses on medieval topics, how we can best serve all of our students in the classroom, and how we can enhance inclusivity in the classroom. We will have between three and five panelists who have experience teaching to and about a diverse and inclusive classroom to provide brief remarks and to participate in the roundtable discussion.Contact: Sarah Davis-Secord (

Friday, August 11, 2017


“Social Justice” is generally understood as the quest for empowerment, equality, and equity in all matters of civics, law, and labor, and extending as well to nature and the environment. Many universities are focusing their curricula on 21st century themes of social justice due to the rising demand placed on academia to help make sense of the rapid pace of social change in the modern world. Following on recent Kalamazoo panels, of the last three years in particular, that have looked to medieval literature as a site to explore issues of contemporary urgency such as rape culture, misogyny, and ableism, this panel investigates how the great 14th-century poem Piers Plowman both treats issues of social justice in its own time and invites, in pedagogy, dynamic engagement with issues relevant to today' world. One particular site inviting such engagement between the medieval and the modern is labor.  Piers Plowman asks questions about sustainability, gainful employment, disability as it relates to labor and access, the role of government and charity as it pertains to work, the integrity of labor, and a host of other issues. The session also welcomes  broader constructions of Langland and social justice issues that mediate the medieval and the modern, such as: the rhetorics of patient poverty; the visibility of disability, reimagining class distinctions; the ethics of animal-human labor; and the ongoing relation between humankind and the natural world.

Michael Calabrese (
Department of English
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032

Elizaveta Strakhov
Assistant Professor of English
Marquette University
Marquette Hall 242
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Kalamazoo 2018​
Monsters I: Immigration and Migration
Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman
What happens when the monster—the outsider, the “othered” figure from not-here—arrives, settles, or is already here? When the supposed monsters appear on the shore and move into the house next door? Medieval groups grappled with this concern on a regular basis, as demonized groups were often on the move from one region to another. Sometimes, the groups in question were seen as arriving from distant locales: Jews in England, Muslims in Italy, and both in Spain; Mongols in Eastern Europe. Recent arrivals were often demonized by locals who themselves were rarely indigenous peoples: invaders pushed native populations out beyond their borders and were in turn pushed back by waves of new invaders. Each successive wave of immigrants, once settled, found ways to dehumanize the previous inhabitants – often depicted as autochthonous giants – and the next wave, making monsters out of migrants. Immigrants were viewed with suspicion and derision from populations fraught with their own anxieties of identity. The medieval world marginalized migrants and immigrants – foreign populations and native – because of what they feared in themselves. Rulers prop up their authority and consolidate their power by building walls of rhetoric to protect their own cultural identity from perceived threats and incursions, but what are the costs to those on each side? What can we learn from medieval moments of immigration and migration? Can we identify both errors to be avoided and exemplars of inclusivity to be emulated?
We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the ICMS.
Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: to session organizer Asa Simon Mittman ( by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.