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Calls for Papers

Vulnerability in the Middle Ages

The Program in Medieval Studies, Princeton University

The doctoral students in The Program in Medieval Studies at Princeton University invite abstracts for the 24th Graduate Conference on “Vulnerability in the Middle Ages,” which will take place on Friday, April 28, 2017. Sharon Farmer (UC Santa Barbara) will deliver the keynote lecture this year. She will be joined by Eleanor Johnson (Columbia) for a conversation on vulnerabilities in medieval scholarship.

Vulnerability in the Middle Ages

At a moment that has brought economic, political, and physical vulnerabilities (new and old) abruptly to the surface, we invite papers on the topic of vulnerability and insecurity in the Middle Ages. Recent scholarship in medieval poverty, gender, disability, and racial difference has greatly enhanced our sense of the variety of vulnerable experiences, and we seek to connect these conversations through their shared perspective on power. We welcome proposals from a variety of disciplines on vulnerability and the concepts that surround it, including weakness, insecurity, injury, disability, and difference.

Papers might consider both the portrayal and the experience of the vulnerable life, as well as the systems that lead to vulnerability. We are interested both in the conditions that made individuals vulnerable within communities, and in those that threatened communities within larger polities. In a period where vulnerability typically precluded creating and maintaining records, unfamiliar readings of familiar sources are especially necessary, as are approaches that access vulnerable experiences in imaginative ways.

Such approaches might challenge more conventional relationships between scholars and their objects of study, and ask how scholarship itself can perpetuate, create, or mitigate vulnerabilities in the past and present.

Themes might include, but are not limited to:

- Contradictory perspectives on vulnerability (sympathy/revulsion, admiration/contempt)

- How difference (racial, gender, physical, economic, geographic) contributes to vulnerability

- Vulnerabilities specific to catastrophes, including war, famine, disease, and panic

- The relationship of systems of power to vulnerability

- The experience and portrayal of physical vulnerability

- The treatment (medical or otherwise) of vulnerable conditions

- Religious practices and perspectives on weakness

- “Vulnerability” in other words, such as vernacular translations and terminologies

- Documenting vulnerability and (materially, philologically, hermeneutically) vulnerable documents

- Populations vulnerable to scholarship, via origin or identity myths, institutions, and ideologies.

**To support participation by speakers from outside the northeastern United States, we are offering limited subsidies to help offset the cost of travel to Princeton. Financial assistance may not be available for every participaan, with funding priority going to those who have the farthest to travel. Every speaker will also have the option of staying with a resident graduate student.**

Please submit your abstract (250 words) for a fifteen-minute presentation to the conference organizers ( by February 15th, 2017.

All abstracts should be in English, and include your name, contact information, and academic affiliation.

Approaching the Unknown

University of California, Los Angeles Conference

April 13 and 14, 2017

Approaching the Unknown: “They Saw It with Their Own Eyes”

 The starting point for this conference is the statement “they saw it with their own eyes”: this phrase appears frequently on Fra Mauro’s fifteenth-century map of the world, a landmark in cartography because of Mauro’s decision to use the most recent eyewitness testimony rather than exclusively patristic and ancient sources. In his inscriptions on the map which describe in vivid detail his reasoning for certain depictions, Mauro often repeats the phrase in support of his daring claims about the distant lands of which he had no personal, first-hand knowledge. Relying on those who “saw it with their own eyes” is one way of approaching the unknown.

This conference will explore the diverse range of ways in which writers and thinkers from the medieval and early modern periods sought to face the challenge of the unknown: the scholarly, intellectual and literary processes by which they evaluated, diagrammatised and represented what lay beyond their own line of sight. The epistemological challenge of describing and understanding places and ideas beyond the horizon of first-hand knowledge is tackled in a wide variety of texts and contexts. Travel narratives aim to represent the far-flung corners of the earth. Astronomical texts seek to  schematise the movements and relationships between distant heavenly bodies. Eschatological religious texts explore the furthest reaches of time. Literary texts offer another range of strategies for making the unfamiliar familiar. Furthermore, like Mauro’s map, the sixteenth-century Carta Marina produced by Olaus Magnus is a landmark in cartographical accuracy, and yet nevertheless its seas are populated by monsters (as in the image above). The mythical imagination thus offers another cultural approach to representing the unseen. These various texts offer a variety of strategies which may support or contest the epistemological claims behind Mauro’s statement: “they saw it with their own eyes”.

Possible paper topics can include but are not limited to:

• Travel narratives

• Astronomical and medical texts

• Literary and visual representations of the unknown

• Testimony in legal disputes

• The senses and knowledge

• Devotional texts and the unknown

• Theological texts concerning eschatology and the unknowability of God

• Medieval and Early Modern epistemologies

The workshop will be held at UCLA on April 13 and 14, 2017. The deadline for submission of abstracts (400-500 words) will be February 15. Decisions will be made no later than the end of February. We welcome graduate students (including post-baccalaureates) and junior scholars (Ph.D. within the last three years) to deliver 20-minute presentations on topics from the medieval and early modern periods. We invite submissions from all Humanities disciplines, including History, Literature, History of Art, Philosophy, and the Study of Religion. We particularly welcome paper topics which engage with original Latin sources.

Please send abstracts to Professor Robert Gurval, UCLA Department of Classics, Director of the Mellon Post- Baccalaureate Program in post-classical Latin at

You may reference the call for papers at



9th Annual Medievalists @ Penn Graduate Conference
University of Pennsylvania

Keynote Speaker:

Larry Scanlon
Professor of English, Rutgers University

Friday, March 17th 2017

In the Middle Ages, “auctoritas” was a currency that established the reputations of poets and kings, artists and historians, popes and politicians, lawyers and laymen. Medieval figures used a variety of strategies to construct and support their importance and influence. Kings and popes performed their authority through elaborate dress, rituals, and patronage, and extended power beyond their person through authorized dignitaries and royal seals. Vernacular writers silently incorporated or openly considered the influence of classical authors such as Ovid, Statius, and Virgil, or modeled their writing on more recent fathers (or more rarely mothers) of poetry. Theologians argued over the relative authority of Latin or vernacular Bibles and devout laymen and women were attacked for engaging in unauthorized modes of reading and worship. This conference seeks to explore the power exerted by “auctoritas,” variously signifying authority, authorship, influence, prestige, or legitimacy, on many levels of medieval culture and society.

We invite papers from a wide range of scholarly disciplines including, History, Art History, Musicology, Literary Studies, Religious Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Cultural History. Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:

 Authorship

 Classical reception

 Gendered models of self-authorization

 Patronage, whether political, literary, or artistic

 Political authority

 Ecclesiastical authority

 Latinity and vernacularity

 Heresy and orthodoxy

 Genealogies, chronicles, and histories

We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for 15-20 minute papers that engage with these and/or other questions concerning medieval “auctoritas”. Please submit abstracts as attachments to by January 15, 2017. Submissions should include your name, paper title, email, and institutional and departmental affiliation.

Body Language, Bawdy Talk: Sex and Form in Medieval and Early Modern Culture


The Early Modern Colloquium at the University of Michigan
invites abstracts for papers for their interdisciplinary graduate student conference,
Body Language, Bawdy Talk

Sex and Form in Medieval and
Early Modern Culture

at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, March 9-11, 2017.


With keynote lectures by:

Jeffrey Masten (Northwestern) and
Zrinka Stahuljak (UCLA)

And panel responses from the medieval
and early modern faculty at the University of Michigan.


  Our knowledge about premodern bodies is mediated by cultural production and historical distance. We see (and don’t see) sex in pornographic images, libertine literature, and court records; we encounter racialized bodies through anatomy tracts, maps, and travel narratives; we come into contact with historical bodies through reliquaries, medieval manuscripts, and performance. But although we can’t fully recover what lies beyond or beneath these intervening forms, we can find both pleasure and knowledge in the traces of the archive. Jeffrey Masten, for one, approaching this problem in early modern English print culture, argues that “comprehension of sex will require philology.” Similarly, Zrinka Stahuljak looks to language for knowledge about sex in her book Bloodless Genealogies, reading genealogical filiation in medieval French romance as primarily a linguistic phenomenon.
    Following the lead of these and other scholars, this conference is an opportunity to consider how thinking about embodiment through form, language, visual art, and material objects might open new avenues for understanding both cultural production and historical experience. Sex and sexuality, while inseparable from language and form, also cannot be understood without inquiry into the historical construction of race, gender, disability, and embodiment, all of which we hope to attend to. In addition, one panel, to be co-sponsored by the University of Michigan's Religion in the Premodern Atlantic Workshop, will focus specifically on the intersections of sex, bodies, and form with premodern religion.
    We invite fifteen-minute presentations on a medieval or early modern topic by graduate students in any discipline that think productively across two or more of these categories:


  • Gender, race, and sexuality

  • Language and form

  • Sex, desire, and eroticism

  • Art, literature, and representation

  • Performance and gesture

  • Production and reproduction

  • Visuality, materiality, and textuality

  • Disability and embodiment

  • Animals, nature, and ecologies

  • Violence, illness, and death

  • Religion, faith, and ecstasy

  • Travel, globalism and colonialism

  • Pain, pleasure, and affect

  • Aesthetics, historiography, and method

  • State formation and jurisprudence

Please submit 250-300 word abstracts to Margo Kolenda ( by December 1, 2016.


Special thanks to our cosponsors: Forum for Research in Medieval Studies, Drama Interest Group, European History Workshop, Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and the Religion in the Premodern Atlantic Workshop.


Medieval Form and Medieval Knowledge

Medieval Form and Medieval Knowledge, International Congress on Medieval Studies, 2017

Organized by the Graduate Medievalists at Berkeley (GMB)

How do formal elements of medieval texts—elements such as style, genre, and structure—determine how we locate these texts in medieval intellectual culture and understand their context? This question has surfaced in a number of different ways in scholarship, including in reactions of amusement, wonderment, or frustration, or even in a sense of being deceived. For instance, our notions of “fictional” and “nonfictional” genres may be stymied by medieval romances that claim to be historical or medieval histories that offer the stuff of romance or folklore; setting serious works of history, theology, or science in verse, as many medieval authors did, would be seen today as the height of eccentricity. 

This panel explores and questions borders of several kinds: between genres; between disciplines of knowledge or categories of truth and fiction; between source-texts and texts of translation; and between medieval and non-medieval genres or disciplines. As such, we hope to create a conversation across far-flung areas of medieval studies. Key questions include:

 -How does the form of medieval texts affect the way that those texts are classified, whether by genre or by discipline?

-What are the limits of medieval genres, and how are they constructed?

-What kinds of knowledge, truth-values, and discourses do medieval texts construct or presuppose?

-How does the translation of medieval texts negotiate between multiple genres or discourses?

-Finally, how has the study of medieval texts been shaped by either medieval or modern disciplines?

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words to by September 15, or sooner if possible.

Chaucer and the Law

Friday 30th June - Saturday 1st July 2017
Hosted by the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Keynote addresses by Professor Sebastian Sobecki (University of Groningen) and Professor Emily Steiner (University of Pennsylvania).

Call for Papers
Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers on topics related to fourteenth- and fifteenth-century literature, culture and law for the 2017 Biennial London Chaucer Conference. This two-day conference aims to consider ideas about the law in the age of Chaucer and in relation to the works of Chaucer and his contemporaries, probing questions about legal practices and culture, justice, regulation and instruction, and the consequences of making and breaking laws.

Interdisciplinary topics and approaches are most welcome. The conference hopes to bring together scholars and postgraduate students working in a range of disciplines and departments.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

• Canon Law
• Common Law
• crime and punishment
• legal bureaucracy and scribal culture
• laws of nature
• laws of love
• gender, sexuality and the law
• literary ‘laws’ (genre, decorum, metre)
• rules for living/religious rules
• the Old Law and the New Law
• divine justice
• Chaucer as Justice of the Peace
• the Man of Law and the Manciple
• cross-cultural encounters and the law
• breaking laws
• evidence, authority and proof
• eyewitness testimony
• languages of the law
• iconographies of the law

Please send proposals of 250 words to Alastair Bennett, Natalie Jones and Jaclyn Rajsic at by 30 September 2016.

The Premodern Book in a Global Context

Binghamton University (SUNY), October 21-22, 2016

Proposals for sessions are also invited.

All papers should be twenty minutes in length. Send abstracts with a brief cv to: (subject line "History of the Book." Deadline: April 15, 2016.For information contact Marilynn Desmond, Director, CEMERS,

Topics may include:

  • Production and circulation of books in the Mediterranean basic and across the Eurasian landmass
  • Codicology and the making of booksPaleography and textual transmission
  • Transitions from papyrus to parchment and the scroll to the codex
  • The current state of technological analysis
  • Visual culture and book illumination
  • The book as commodity
  • Network theory and the itineraries of textual artifacts
  • Geographical locations for the use of paper
  • The origins of moveable type and the itinerary of the printing press
  • The transition from script to print
  • The uses of paper in specific book cultures
  • The use of wax tablets
  • The history of libraries
  • The history of scriptoria
  • Transmission of non-textual information (music, maps, etc) in books.

Seafaring: An Early Medieval Conference on the Islands of the North Atlantic

University of Denver, November 3-5, 2016

Seafaring: An Early Medieval Conference on the Islands of the North Atlantic is a three-day national conference that brings together scholars of early medieval Ireland, Britain, and Scandinavia to imagine cooperative, interdisciplinary futures for the study of North Atlantic archipelagos during the early medieval period. Seafaring invites proposals for two kinds of sessions, seminars and workshops/forums, that will help imagine more collective and cooperative futures for scholars of the so-called “British” archipelago and/or reinvigorate the interdisciplinary mandate of early medieval studies.

Designed less as a traditional conference than a “workspace,” Seafaring invites proposals that will engage participants in mini-tutorials, master classes, writing workshops, and learning laboratories—all of which are designed to widen their linguistic competence, interdisciplinary methods, geographic familiarity, and temporal scope, within and beyond the early medieval period.

Interested in proposing a seminar? Want to design a workshop or forum?


Midwest Medieval History Conference

October 21 and 22
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN

Keynote speaker: Thomas Burman, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Midwest Medieval History Conference is seeking papers for its annual conference. We welcome papers addressing any aspect of the Middle Ages, particularly papers on this year’s topic, the Medieval Mediterranean. Graduate student papers are welcome for the Friday afternoon sessions, which are dedicated to graduate student research. We also invite papers on the scholarship of learning and on practical approaches to teaching.

Submission deadline: June 15.

Submit abstracts for paper proposals to Paula Rieder at

Confraternities, Prayer, Good Works, and Society

Deadline: Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

The Society for Confraternity Studies will sponsor a number of sessions at
the 2017 meetings of the Renaissance Society of America  (30 March-2 April
2017) in Chicago, USA.

It thus invites proposals for papers that examine late medieval and early
modern confraternities under one of the following three topics: the
devotional practices of confraternities, their involvement in charitable
activities, or their participation in society and social structures. We are
interested both in specific case studies of individual confraternities and
in more extensive overviews of confraternal devotion, activities, and
social engagement.

Proposals should include the presenter?s name, academic affiliation,
postal address, email, telephone, the paper title (no longer than 15
words), the abstract of the paper (no longer than 150 words), a brief
academic C.V. (not longer than 300 words), and a series of key-words that
suit the presentation. Please be sure all nine (9) categories of
information are clearly provided.

Please submit your proposal to Prof. Konrad Eisenbichler at:

PLEASE NOTE: the deadline is only days away!

Prof. Konrad Eisenbichler
Editor, "Confraternitas"

Victoria College, NF 308                tel: 416/585-4486 (direct)
University of Toronto                   fax: 416/585-4579 (direct)
93 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7