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Calls for Papers

More K-Zoo 2020: What Ever Happened to Baby Cain? Ambiguous Childhood in Medieval Literature

The deadline for abstracts is Friday 20th September. 

Growing up is a perennial feature of human societies. While anxieties surrounding childhood are universal, the manifestations of these concerns vary between cultures. This series of sessions proposes to shed light upon the nexus of ambiguity surrounding the medieval child, as depicted in contemporaneous literature. We invite abstracts for papers that will explore the representation of childhood in texts of any language, genre, and period within the Middle Ages. Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Historical notions of education, child-rearing, and ‘good behaviour’.

• Non-human and/or monstrous children.

• Infantilised adults and inescapable childhood.

• Environments and spaces that are (un)suitable for children.

• Theological and medical approaches to conception, pregnancy, birth, and infancy.

• Pedagogy and didacticism in texts for and about children.

• The abject and uncanny child.

• Engagement with sensory experiences of growing up.

• Interactions between children and non-human animals.

• Depictions of the divine and demonic child.

• Children with adult roles: kings, saints, knights, etc.

• Crimes against and committed by children.

We welcome submissions from scholars of any level and particularly encourage applications from PGRs, ECRs, and independent scholars. Papers should be 15-20 minutes long.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words and a short biography of around 100 words to Please also include the following information in your submission:

• Full Name
• Institution/Affiliation (if any)
• Email address
• Postal address
• Any specific requirements for your presentation

The deadline for abstracts is Friday 20th September. We look forward to hearing from you.

K-Zoo 2020: Aristotle à rebours: Unconventional Aristotelianism in Medieval Italy and Beyond

Sponsored by Italians & Italianists at Kalamazoo
ICMS Kalamazoo 2020, May 7-10

Submission Deadline: 30 September 2019

Aristotle’s transformation from heretical source to intellectual authority testifies to the factthat his scholastic assimilation was uneven and often controversial, and it is the aim of thispanel to explore those figures whose Aristotelianism has been perceived, by either theircontemporaries or their scholars, as historically peculiar or unorthodox.

Engaging Aristotle's askance medieval reception, this panel invites papers that re-examinefundamental questions for the schoolmen and poets alike. To what extent did allegiance toAristotle and/or his commentators allow for novel, even undogmatic, ways of thinkingthrough foundational questions, such as the nature of the soul and body, the relationbetween the intellect and desire, or the meaning of virtue and nobility? It is this panel’swager that medieval Italy provides a testing ground for exploring how an “unconventional”Aristotle emerges in the overlaps between faith, philosophy, and poetry. At the same time,this panel welcomes papers that span medieval Europe, its borders, and beyond—especially those whose investigations illuminate the complexity of the linguistic, culturaland political factors tied to Aristotelian reception in the Middle Ages, and the Italian MiddleAges in particular.

Papers should be 15-20 minutes long.

Please send abstracts of c. 250 words and a brief bio to Joseph Romano( and Kristen Hook (

K-Zoo 2020: Prologues in Learned Text of Medieval Magic

Deadline for abstracts: 15 Sept 2019

Although the prologues of learned books of magic could take many forms, nearly all share at least one common characteristic: the claim to transmit a secret and pristine branch of knowledge. Such claims are frequently couched in the form of a narrative describing how this secret knowledge was originally revealed. Many employ the same actors (Hermes Trismegistus, King Solomon, Aristotle), the same objects (a tablet or disk made of precious material and inscribed with divine wisdom), and the same locations (a hidden cavern or lost pagan temple). These narratives helped to establish the authority of their texts, broadcast their affiliation with specific discourses, and signal how they should be read. Moreover, the prologues served to highlight the erudition of their authors through the use of classical and biblical references and often sophisticated word-play.

The aim of this session is to explore these still largely understudied prologues which testify to the variety of medieval approaches to “magic”. What do these prologues have to tell us about the institutional, cultural, and political milieux in which they were produced? How do certain recurring mythemes found in these prologues stand in relation to the various magical and divinatory arts, specifically those classified as natural or demonic? And to which philosophical, mystical, or religious beliefs do they appeal in order to justify the magical practices that they introduce?

Other potential topics relating to magical prologues include, but are not limited to

-- the rhetoric of authority and the relation between power and secret knowledge

-- the intersection of diverse intellectual traditions

-- the continuity and reception of the Classical Tradition

-- the appropriation of Jewish and Arabic traditions

-- the relation between the tropes and mythemes found in magical prologues and those in other literary genres, such as prophecies and romances

-- the assimilation of philosophical and medical texts

-- the use of the Bible and biblical traditions

-- philological and text-critical studies of magical prologues.

Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

Contact: Vajra Regan


Two calls for K-Zoo 2020: Fictionality and Belief in Middle English Writing; Encountering the Strange in Early Medieval England

The Harvard Medieval English Colloquium will sponsor two panels this coming May at the 55th Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. Each of the panels has a "featured speaker": Julie Orlemanski has agreed to give a paper on "Fictionality and Belief in Middle English Writing," and Martin Foys has agreed to give a paper on “Encountering the Strange in Early Medieval England.” 

Fictionality and Belief in Middle English Writing

With Julie Orlemansky

Coleridge's famous phrase "the willing suspension of disbelief" implies that disbelief (i.e., secularity) is a precondition of fictionality. That argument is made explicitly in Catherine Gallagher's well-known article "The Rise of Fictionality"—but it is also often assumed in medieval studies, as fictionality is localized in secular romance and rarely considered in devotional contexts. Where do fictional writing and sincere belief meet, and how do they interact? This panel welcomes papers that investigate the relationship between fictionality and belief from any angle, but which might respond to one or several of the following questions: How are fictionality and religious devotion concatenated together in Middle English writing (e.g., in passion meditations, mystery and miracle plays, Piers Plowman)? How can we distinguish between invention and revelation, artful creation and receptive witness, in dream-visions and visionary writings? How do medieval audiences play with belief and take admittedly fictive claims seriously? And how do the different epistemic demands of fiction and devotion generate friction within particular texts and contexts? This is intended primarily as a Middle English panel, but if you work on similar issues in other times and places of the Middle Ages, we are happy to consider your submission.

Please submit a one-page abstract and PIF (available at to Kathryn Mogk ( by September 15.

Encountering the Strange in Early Medieval England

 With Martin Foyes

From Bede’s accounts of Britain’s originary myths to current scholarly and popular engagements with the Anglo-Saxon past, to encounter early medieval England is to depict or enact strangeness.

Taking Sarah Ahmed’s work on embodied strangeness, queer phenomenology, race, and related approaches as a source of inspiration, this panel welcomes papers that consider the strange in early medieval England.  Ahmed’s work on embodied others, for example, leverages feminist theory and postcolonialism to posit the stranger as an embodied, discursive creation formed not as a manifestation of the distant and unfamiliar, but rather an extension of the self. Similarly, Ahmed’s queer phenomenology productively re-conceptualizes phenomenology as a means of considering the orientation of the body to ideas and objects.  Proposed papers may consider the panel’s theme from any angle, including but not limited to such frameworks as: how cultural and/or social alterity manifests in Anglo-Saxon literature; how early medieval English subjects conceptualize the strange and/or the stranger; the function of strangeness in scholarly method, form, and object; the defamiliar of digitized Old English materials, or the aesthetics of estrangement as a poetic conceit, among others. Following the spirit of Ahmed’s work, paper proposals on race in early medieval England would be particularly welcome and salient.

Note on the selection process: A committee will choose three other panelists for the session by a process of blind review of the abstract submissions. The hope is that the blind review process would provide an unbiased chance for junior faculty, graduate students, and adjuncts to "break in" on a well-attended panel. The panels thus have a double purpose: first, to start a conversation between senior faculty and those whom academic conferences often leave underexposed, and second, to provide a space for dialogue between academics at widely differing stages of the career.

Please submit a one-page abstract and PIF (available at to Joseph Shack ( by September 15.

Leeds 2020: Women and Artistic Production Beyond the Borders of Byzantium

Women and Artistic Production Beyond the Borders of Byzantium

Due date: September 10, 2019

International Medieval Congress / Leeds / 6-9 July 2020


Organizers:  Maria Alessia Rossi, PhD, Index of Medieval Art, Princeton University

              Alice Isabella Sullivan, PhD, Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art

The ever-shifting borders of the Byzantine Empire and the spiritual power of Eastern Orthodoxy contributed to the development of new visual forms in regions of the Balkan Peninsula and the Carpathian Mountains between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The rich art, architecture, and visual culture of these eastern European  regions remain to be fully explored, as do the key roles women played in the transfer of artistic and cultural knowledge, the development of local artistic styles, as well as in the establishment of diplomatic relations and the transformation of identities and ideologies. Women have been frequently overshadowed by powerful husbands, sons, and communities, and too often relegated to the margins of scholarly inquiry. This session explores women and female agency beyond the borders of Byzantium, in light of their roles within marital and inter-dynastic relations, as well as in religious and spiritual dynamics. In efforts to gain new perspectives on the nature of cultural contact and transfer, as well as on visual production in late medieval Eastern Europe as a result of the direct involvement of women, either as patrons, artists, mediators, and/or recipients, this session aims to focus on case studies that examine individual female figures from all walks of life (royal courts, noble families, monastic communities, etc.). Moreover, the session seeks to highlight the significance of prosopography, gender, and network studies in historical and art historical research.


Papers could address topics that include, but are not limited to:

-        The role of women as key agents of cultural contact, transfer, and adaptation of knowledge 

-        Women as patrons, artists, and recipients of art beyond geographical, socio-political, and religious boundaries

-        Instances of art (icons, embroideries, manuscripts, metalwork) and architecture that speak to women, allow for self-identification, and/or established gender roles and norms


Proposals for 20-minute papers in English should include an abstract (300 words max.) and a brief CV (2 pages max.), and should be sent to Alice Isabella Sullivan (aisulli[at] and Maria Alessia Rossi (marossi[at] by September 10, 2019.


This session is organized under the larger initiative North of Byzantium (, which explores the rich history, art, and culture of the northern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire in Eastern Europe between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.

RSA The Renaissance Society of America CFP

View calls for papers worldwide on topics circa 1300-1700 here.

Bodies in Motion (in the Medieval and Early Modern World)

Ohio State University
Medieval and Renaissance Graduate Student Symposium

September 13, 2019

Numerous scholars in pre-modern fields have been investigating how the human body functioned during these eras, while others have been examining moving bodies in a more ambiguated sense, as in bodies of knowledge or the body politic. Since cultural, social, political, and economic systems are constantly in motion, and peoples, languages, and material situations exist in states of flux, we are interested in exploring questions on how that flux was experienced. How did premodern societies understand the motions and abilities of their physical bodies? For that matter, how were disabled bodies perceived and understood by both disabled and able-bodied alike?

How about trans bodies? What impact did the advancement of newly conceived astronomical systems have on the various classes that received them? How did the development of new political and religious bodies impact movements between stability and upheaval? Other subjects of interest may include but are not limited to:

Cosmic Movement | Nature in Motion | Cultural Exchange | Transforming Identities | Gender Embodiment | Migration | Disabilities | Kinesis | Stasis | Dance | Visual Art | Ekphrasis | Fashion Trends | Music | Textual Transmission | Pre-modern Reception in Subsequent Eras

Abstracts of no more than 250 words and panel proposals should be sent to by Monday, April 1st, 2019. All submissions should include a separate document containing the title of the paper(s) as well as the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Chosen participants will be notified by e-mail no later thank April 22, 2019. Presenters should plan to deliver their papers in approximately 20-minute oral presentations.