News & Events

The 2019 SMFS Foremothers Fellowship

The Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship invites applications for the 2019 Foremothers Fellowship.  Funded through the generous gift of royalties from the editors and authors of the Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe (Judith Bennett and Ruth Mazo Karras), the grant provides $2,000 for a current doctoral candidate (at the time of the proposed project) to undertake a significant professional development initiative. The winner will be partnered with a senior medieval scholar whose guidance and association can assist the student in developing and executing the project.
 
Such projects might include:
 
·         Travel to a conference relevant to medieval feminist scholarship
·         Travel to visit archives, research libraries, museums, manuscript collections, or archeological or architectural sites
·         Travel to conduct other forms of on-site research 
·         Development of a digital humanities project related to feminist research
·         Organizing a medieval feminist conference or colloquium 
·         Travel to allow sustained work with a mentor 
 
SMFS is especially interested in assisting students who have demonstrated a financial need and whose projects are not otherwise funded. The winner must be willing to write a reflective report describing the outcome of the project. This report will appear on the SMFS public website.
 
Applicants should provide: a completed application form, a 500-word description of the project including its scope and development, a proposed timeline, and a detailed budget, including a break-down of projected costs. The application form can be found on the SMFS website at http://smfsweb.org/
 
Application Deadline: November 2, 2018
The winner will be announced by: Dec. 3, 2018
 
Email applications to Dr. Nicole Nolan Sidhu: sidhun@ecu.edu
​ 
 

NCS 2020 - Call for Threads

Colleagues,

With the Program Committee in place, co-chaired by Elliott Kendall and Robyn Malo, including Mary Flannery, Wan-Chuan Kao, Phil Knox, and Myra Seaman, I am writing to ask for your suggestions regarding the handful of threads—six or so—that will shape the intellectual interests of the 2020 Congress program. 

Please share your ideas with me at tgoodmann@miami.edu, and I will forward them to the Program Committee members, including Ruth Evans, ahead of our meeting here in Miami on the weekend of 6 October.

Thank you in advance for your ideas.

Best,
Tom

Incoming Executive Director’s Remarks to the Members Parliament

It is humbling for me to look over the list of previous executive directors of the New Chaucer Society, and to join in the same work. I hope to sustain and to develop our organization with all of you, with the President, and with the Trustees, enjoying the intimidating good fortune to follow Ruth Evans, who has given NCS six years of her remarkable gifts of guidance for, and gracious representation of the Society. I am very glad (and relieved) that she will take up the position of President for the coming two years, and I want to thank Ardis Butterfield for her engaged leadership of the Society, and for her generous advice to me in approaching this transition.

As you will know from Ruth’s remarks, NCS is a very healthy organization in intellectual and financial terms.  Our Biennial Congress continues to be a rich experience—with special thanks this year to Professor Alex Gillespie, Victoria University President Will Robins, to the other members of local organizing committee, and to Claire Waters and Bobby Meyer-Lee, co-chairs of the Program Committee, along with the other members. The Congress includes the Graduate Student Workshop; the return of the Mentorship Program; and the Preconference Teachers’ Workshop—a leading initiative in now widely energized efforts to engage with K12 teachers.  Studies in the Age of Chaucer is an annual journal of the first order, publishing scholarship at a very selective rate of acceptance under the editorship of Sarah Salih, along with Book Reviews editor Shayne Legassie. The editorship, as you know, will pass to the capable hands of Jennifer Jahner, Michelle Karnes, and Sebastian Sobecki, while Stephanie Amsel continues to maintain the Chaucer Bibliography along with the help of several of our colleagues. In the years ahead, I will miss the conciliar voices of outgoing trustees Candace Barrington, Alexandra Gillespie, and David Matthews, while anticipating the opportunity to work with newly elected trustees Seeta Chaganti, David Raybin, and Marion Turner, along with continuing trustees Anthony Bale, Simon Horobin, Patricia Ingham, and Emily Steiner. 

Looking back, prompted by Ruth’s sharing of the Society’s documents, and by recent queries from Wan-Chuan Kao about the Society’s formative years, I note that the history of NCS, incorporated in 1977, coincides closely with the broad decline, including some intermittent upticks, in tenure-earning positions for humanities PhDs. Looking forward, I wonder what we might do further to support those who are navigating circumstances of precarity, and to ensure ongoing inclusion of, and engagement with colleagues who do not hold tenure-earning faculty appointments at colleges and universities, as well as developing membership among middle and secondary school professionals, and among colleagues around the world. How might we do so?

As well, we might consider how to create conversations with non-academics who may not know of many changes in higher education and in the humanities, of the work we do as teachers, researchers, writers, and in many forms of service. (Toward this idea of extended public outreach, I remember Robert Bast, the founding director of the MARCO Institute at Tennessee, laughing to recall how many church groups with whom he was obliged to speak about The Da Vinci Code, then newly published, honoring the terms of outreach for a 2.2 million dollar NEH grant to found the Institute). We know that many people are interested in some idea of the Middle Ages—if only via Game of Thrones, and if often for complicated and sometimes deeply troubling reasons.  We can do still more good work to engage the public—serving a moveable feast, perhaps, of lectures—and to encourage broad support for study of the Middle Ages, of the Age of Chaucer, extending the research, pedagogies, presentations and workshops of the Global Middle Ages, Global Chaucers, and Medievalists of Color.

While we consider how to continue making the Congress inclusive, some members have raised questions about the size of the meeting, and the fact that running eight to eleven concurrent sessions means, of course, that engaging in one, we miss the others. Other members have expressed concerns about the costs of travel and accommodation. While academic calendars suggest just this time frame for the Congress, organizing an international meeting at the peak of travel season in the northern hemisphere has such cost implications. We must clarify practical matters of choice in scheduling, number of participants, and matters of cost, while valuing inclusiveness and community. Every choice we make has consequences that change with time and place. We need to discuss them as a community, understanding that no outcome will be ideal for all. For example, I think it a good idea to consider meeting the Congress outside North America and Western Europe—perhaps in Australia or New Zealand, or in one of several places in southeast Asia or Asia—out of respect to colleagues who travel very long distances, and in service to the complex project of a global Middle Ages. And yet the costs of travel for many members to such a location likely would prove prohibitive; this is one among many questions of inclusivity, both practical and ethical.  I encourage all of you to consider these questions, and to think of ways to work with colleagues in your area—and perhaps across geographical divides—to propose collaborative hosting for the Congress in future.

Looking further toward the future, I note that the articles of incorporation charter NCS for fifty years, and expire on 6 June 2027. What is the New Chaucer Society we want and need now and in the next nine years—and the one we might imagine for the next ninety? Does our Society still need the word “new” in its name? Will it remain in the interests and capacities of all of us working mainly in late medieval England—to say nothing of medieval studies of all disciplines—to subscribe to a number of societies that are single author or text-centered: Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve, Pearl-poet, Piers Plowman, Lollard, Margery Kempe—just to name those immediate proximate to NCS? Can we imagine new and mutually beneficial affiliations? There is, at least, potential for growth internally, beyond the nearly seven hundred current members of NCS: in what ways and toward what ends might we grow both in our numbers, but also in our thinking, first, by re-engaging with those Chaucerians whose memberships have lapsed? 

It is both a vibrant and urgent time in Chaucer studies—literally a changing world of medieval studies—as the work many of you are doing deepens and broadens our understanding of the past resonant in temporal, geographical, and cultural terms, meanwhile contesting distorted appropriations of “nation” and ethnic identities in service of dangerous agendas. I hope that all of us know that all of us are needed to engage, educate, refute, and promote, and sometimes to do such work among ourselves. We do a lot of things well, and we can always do better.

Again, I feel very fortunate for all of us and for myself to have Ruth Evans as President over the next two years. Please forgive some inevitable bobbles as I learn the ways and means of NCS, and in 2020 too, when Jessica Rezunyk will step down having served NCS so very admirably for a decade. Our yet-to-be-named program assistant in Miami will have much to learn, as do I, most of all.  Thank you in advance for your patience; I will always welcome your ideas, your questions, your concerns, and your advice. 

Thomas Goodmann

July 2018

Welcome Thomas Goodmann, Executive Director

Dear member

As I bow out from my role as Executive Director of NCS, I'd like to give a huge welcome to the incoming ED, Tom Goodmann, who teaches at the University of Miami, where NCS now takes up its institutional home. The University will provide generous financial and institutional support for NCS for the next 5 years.

Tom is a longstanding and loyal member of NCS, having organized sessions at several NCS Congresses, and he has considerable organizational and leadership experience: he is currently President of TEAMS: Teaching Association for Medieval Studies (and was formerly Co-President, 2015-2016, Vice President, 2014-15, and Secretary, 2013-14 of TEAMS), and is on the Executive Council of The International Piers Plowman Society (2013- ). He has also served on the Medieval Academy’s Committee on Centers and Regional Associations (CARA) as director of conference programs, as well as serving as a member of its executive committee, and he is currently liaison from TEAMS to the Academy’s Committee on K-12 Outreach.

Tom also has considerable form as a conference organizer: he co-hosted the annual meeting of the Medieval Academy at Miami Beach in 2005, and is co-hosting (with Heather Blatt) the 2019 meeting of the International Piers Plowman Society in Miami. 

Tom received his PhD in English from Indiana University with a Certificate in Medieval Studies in 1990.  He is the editor, most recently, of Approaches to Teaching Langland's Piers Plowman (MLA: forthcoming, 2018). His work in progress includes a monograph “Remembering the Summer Earth”: Women Writers of the Rural and the Wild.

At the Members Parliament (aka Business Meeting) at the Twenty-First Biennial International Congress of the New Chaucer Society, which has just taken place in Toronto, Canada (10-15 July, 2018), Tom set out his vision for the future of the Society, which he will share soon with members. It is clear that he values inclusivity and collaboration, and that he works to create supportive communities for colleagues at every stage and in every kind of role in higher education, as well as in K-12. He is strongly committed to the ethos of NCS; I know that he will steer the Society with a firm and wise hand as we go forward into challenging times for medieval studies and the humanities at large.

Please join me in welcoming Tom. He will be an excellent ED. I feel very confident indeed about the Society’s future. 

Best wishes

Ruth

#NCS18 ROOM CHANGES FOR THURSDAY, JULY 12

Please note that the following sessions for today have relocated:

9:00- 10:30

3I LITERATURE AND LATE MEDIEVAL SCIENCE is now in Emmanuel College room 108.

3J THE MEANING OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE is nw in Victoria College room 211.

#NCS18 TORONTO

PDF OF FULL PROGRAM

General reminders:

  • You can pick up your registration package in the foyer of the Victoria College building at the University of Toronto.
  • You must wear your name tag while at the conference; only those who have registered will be admitted to sessions and events.
  • If you would like to purchase tickets fothe Friday night's performance of Chaucer's Miller's Tale: Wahala Dey O!, you can do so HERE.

 

Thank you to the Program and Local Committees for all the work they have done to put on what it sure to be an excellent conference!

Return of the NCS Mentorship Program

The NCS Trustees warmly invite all members of the Society to participate, if they wish, in the second iteration of a mentoring program (begun at the London Congress in 2016) at the upcoming Toronto Congress in July 2018, either as a mentor or as a mentee. The scheme is designed to help graduate students and anyone new to the Society to meet more established scholars in order to feel welcomed and supported during the congress, and also to make or develop professional contacts. We especially welcome participation by students and scholars of historically underrepresented groups. Those who would like to receive mentoring or serve as a mentor should register online using the form below. Shazia Jagot (s.jagot@surrey.ac.uk) Sierra Lomuto (lomuto@sas.upenn.edu), and Tom Hahn (thomas.hahn@rochester.edu) will coordinate the exchanges for 2018.

The intent of the mentorship exchanges is for experienced scholars (at any stage of their career, including senior graduate students) to welcome and connect with newer members of the Society and to help facilitate social and professional interaction.   In particular, NCS recognizes documented gaps in the graduate recruiting, tenure-track hiring, and promotion and tenure reception of underrepresented groups within academia; the Society is therefore especially eager to encourage first-generation students, medievalists of color, trans and Gender Non-conforming students and scholars, and other members historically underrepresented in higher education to participate in the mentorship program. 

Like many NCS members, we are aware of and troubled by the ways in which the medieval period is currently being used for racist ends, for example by the alt-right and associated groups. It is important for all of us in medieval studies to take active stock of this and to ponder effective and lasting responses to these issues. Mentors and mentees might wish to raise the topic in the course of their exchanges at the Congress:  here are some resources to help inform that conversation:

Medievalists of Color - medievalistsofcolor.com
Race and Medieval Studies: A Partial Bibliography - https://docs.google.com/document/d/18JClsma1BMKYCxvgeWqwPej3ZSCrQXlAlXbL0CdqWmE/edit
TEAMS Featured Lesson Resource Page on Race, Racism and the Middle Ages (compiled by Carol L. Robinson) - https://teams-medieval.org/?page_id=76

The initial extent of the commitment would be for mentees and mentors to meet for a conversation at an agreed-upon time during the conference in question. The continuation of the mentor relationship after the conference is at the discretion of the parties involved.

We will try to make the best match based upon the information provided below. Please do mention specific requests that are not covered: we are unlikely to have thought of everything! If any mentor would be willing to lead a group for dinner one evening at the congress, please could you let us know under ‘Other’?

THE SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.

DEADLINE: JUNE 20, 2018

NCS PODCAST - Episode 2

Tune in for NCS Postdoctoral Fellow producer and host R.D. Perry's conversation with Geraldine Heng (University of Texas at Austin) regarding her new book, The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (2018).

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE.

Electronic Travel Authorization - NCS Toronto 2018

Dear member

If you're going to our Congress #ncs18 in Toronto in July, and you are British (or other nationalities, I expect), or have a British passport and US Green Card, you need to get Electronic Travel Authorization to travel to Canada. It is relatively quick and painless, costs $7 CAD, and is all done online. (Thank you to Elaine Treharne for link.)
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/eta.html?utm_source=slash-eta_ave&utm_medium=short-url-en&utm_campaign=eta

Best wishes

Ruth

NCS PODCAST - Episode 1

With NCS Postdoctoral Fellow producer and host R.D. Perry, Ruth Evans (Saint Louis University) and Sylvia Tomasch (Hunter College, CUNY) discuss the history of the New Chaucer Society (including the founding of the original Chaucer Society under Frederick James Furnivall).

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE.