Original Call for Papers
The main venue for NCS in July 2016 will be the leafy and beautiful campus of Queen Mary, University of London, located at Mile End (site of Richard II's meeting with the rebels of 1381). QMUL is easily accessible to central London via tube (Central Line) and bus. There will be rooms for all who request them in the on-campus dorms. An afternoon is set aside for excursions, which will depart from QMUL's campus at Charterhouse Square, near the Barbican. These will include, for instance, walking tours of medieval London and of the Charterhouse itself, and a trip to Eltham Palace. The site of the final reception and Biennial Chaucer Lecture by Stephanie Trigg will be The Brewery, even closer to the Barbican, a beautifully restored eighteenth-century brewery. We are also planning a trip to Canterbury on the Friday after the conference.
Paper panel: A paper session showcases scholarly work in the form of extended presentations. A paper panel should include no more than 3 presenters total (either 3 papers or 2 papers and a respondent) and should allow for at least 30 minutes of open discussion.
Roundtable: The goal of a roundtable is to focus discussion on a narrow topic, theme, or question, such as "John Shirley", or "Chaucer's 'Retraction.'" Roundtables should include no more than 5 presenters and allow for at least 30 minutes of open discussion.
Seminar: The goal of a seminar is to generate extended conversation about a topic (e.g., "Re-Orienting Disability"), before, during, and after the NCS meeting. Participants are encouraged to circulate and discuss materials in advance of the seminar. Seminars should include no more than 7 presenters and allow for at least one hour of open discussion.
Poster sessions: Poster sessions are groupings of posters on a particular topic; each thread will have a group of posters associated with it. During the conference, all posters will be displayed in a single timeslot, with presenters in attendance to discuss their work and answer questions.
THREAD 1: LONDON: BOOKS, TEXTS, LIVES
Organizers: Bruce Holsinger (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Marion Turner (email@example.com)
1. London Living: Topographies, Orientations, Hardware
Organizer: Sarah Stanbury (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We invite short papers on getting in and out of buildings and rooms, or in and out of the City, and on the voicing of these practices in Chaucer’s writings and in contemporary maps and texts. Papers might also focus on the hardware of London living: doors, locks, walls, windows, and furnishings, or on its lexicon--words, often bilingual, for the stuff and spaces of daily life. Pedagogical papers are also invited on the use of web resources, such as the Museum of London, for teaching students at various levels about London material culture.
2. London Bridge
Organizer: Catherine Sanok (email@example.com)
London Bridge was both an entry to and limit of the medieval city. It was an important site of medieval pageants, including royal entries and other forms of civic and social performance, at the same time that it was a place of residence, commerce, and religious practice. Papers that address discussions of London Bridge in literary, historiographical, hagiographical, and legal texts, as well those that explore performance traditions, records of the material culture of performances, and the texts of specific pageants that took place on London Bridge are all welcome. Papers may also attend to the Bridge as a limit of the city’s jurisdiction and of London citizenship, or to the place of London Bridge in imaginative and real itineraries and geographies.
3. London and the Senses
Organizer: Marion Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cities stimulate the senses in particular ways: the writings of Chaucer and his contemporaries evoke for us in myriad ways the sounds of the city, what things felt like – and what there was to touch - what was seen, the kinds of things people smelt and tasted. This roundtable asks contributors to discuss the following question: how did medieval London look, smell, taste, and feel? Papers that engage with medieval and modern theories about how we use our senses are encouraged. Contributors might also consider how the senses are dealt with in the brain e.g. how metaphor affects the sensory cortex, or how traumatic sensory experiences are imagined in the mind.
4. Environing London
Organizer: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (email@example.com)
This roundtable gathers some recent work by medievalists and others on ecology and ecotheory. It asks participants to discuss, what happens when we consider London as an urban ecosystem that surrounds (that is, environs) overlapping systems of life while being environed by others (the Thames as estuarine microclimate, weather in constant flux or as part of a Little Ice Age, the long durations of geological history)? Short papers will provoke a lively discussion of the impress of ecosystem on text, and of the possibility of reading ecological change and catastrophe from the literary archive. This session will welcome papers that ruminate over longues durées, so that A Burnable Book meets the Book of the Duchess meets the fossil record and archives of ice and fire.
5. Foreign Capital: Texts, Contact, and Culture in Late Medieval London
Organizer: Sebastian Sobecki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
London was home to Flemish craftsmen, Genoese merchants, and Hanseatic agents. Londoners travelled abroad to fight, trade, pray, and persuade. How do literary and pragmatic writings register London’s many interactions with the wider world? What was the contribution of alien communities, foreign scribes, and visiting dignitaries to London’s cultural fabric? How do texts negotiate the city’s desire to be a trading emporium with the residual xenophobia of many of its residents? How do London’s named and anonymous poets encounter foreign culture at home and abroad?
6. Literary Afterlives of Medieval London
Organizer: Bruce Holsinger (email@example.com)
This roundtable will consider Chaucer’s London in the long view: literary imaginings of the premodern city in poetry, fiction, and drama from the fifteenth century through the twenty-first. Short papers are welcome on medievalism, literary history in the longue durée, historical fiction and fantasy set in medieval London, the aesthetics and politics of place, and related topics. What are the stories that various literary traditions have told about medieval London? Papers from fiction writers and poets are strongly encouraged.
7. Mile End
Organizers: Julia Boffey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alfred Hiatt (email@example.com)
Mile End resonates with Chaucerians on a number of counts. On the main eastern approach route to London, it was a mile from Aldgate, Chaucer’s place of residence from 1374-86. In 1381 it was the location of Richard II’s encounter with a large company of Essex rebels. A short way east of Mile End was the Benedictine Priory of nuns at St Leonard’s, in Stratford-atte-Bowe. This session capitalizes on the congress’s location at Mile End by inviting new explorations of ways that the local area figures in, or can be related to, Chaucer’s writings.
8. Teaching London’s Literary Forms
Organizer: Corey Sparks (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From identifications of London as “New Troy” to descriptions of its role as a commercial center, the city takes on myriad forms in medieval literature. This pedagogically-oriented roundtable considers how we engage London’s diverse, sometimes idiosyncratic forms with our students. Possible questions to consider include: What literary forms do we tend to align with medieval London (e.g., chronicle, romance, prison writing?)? What relations might we draw with students between texts written about London and those written in London? From essays and florilegia to maps and models, what kinds of assignments might students produce to critically and creatively engage London and literary form?
THREAD 2: ERROR
Organizers: Anthony Bale (email@example.com) and Steven Kruger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
9. Queer Manuscripts: The Textuality of Error
Organizers: Roberta Magnani (email@example.com) and Dianne Watt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over twenty years ago Carolyn Dinshaw argued for a queering of Chaucer's manuscripts. Since then, the framing of medieval studies through queer theory has offered valuable avenues of investigation (studies by Klosowska, Kruger, Burger, Lochrie, Pugh, Watt, to mention but a few). Dinshaw's initial engagement with the materiality of Chaucer’s manuscripts and, in particular, with their queer margins has, however, been largely neglected. This session seeks to re-assess the queerness of manuscripts produced and circulating at the time of Chaucer. It aims to investigate the multiple ways in which erroneous identities (gender and otherwise), non-directional temporalities and spatiality, as well as queer hermeneutics are at once policed and performed in the material space of the codex.
10. Textual Error/Textual Correction
Organizer: Thomas Farrell (email@example.com)
Our conceptions of textual error are as deeply problematic—and as readily ironized—as the other questions of identity and behavior proposed for this thread. This roundtable session invites succinct (5-10 minute) discussions of such topics as the nature of "error," mouvance vs. "error," the origins of error in manuscripts (and editions), the propagation of error through manuscripts (and editions), the uses and value of error, the correction of error, and theoretical or methodological approaches to "error" in Middle English (especially Chaucerian) texts.
11. Problem Texts
Organizer: Megan Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This panel will explore the role that cruxes and problem texts play in our understanding of Middle English literature, both Chaucerian and otherwise. Papers might discuss apocryphal works, variant readings, and unfinished or incomplete texts, as well as textual corruption, grammatical and syntactical ambiguity, and editorial cruxes. Papers might also consider how such texts challenge scholarly categories of error and correctness, as well as received authorial and literary histories, and call into question conventional editorial practices and modes of interpretation. How can embracing textual problems open up new ways of reading?
12. Scribal Error
Organizers: Andrew Kraebel (email@example.com) and Daniel Wakelin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scholarship over the past twenty-five years has rightly helped us to praise ‘variance’, notably in excellent work distinguishing ‘copying’ from ‘scribal authorship’. And yet the increase in attention to manuscript texts (especially through digital facsimiles) might now invite reappraisal and skepticism. Scholars are less willing to see careful intentionality behind every scribal variant. Might the phrase ‘scribal error’ merit its pejorative connotations? Might unwilled error nonetheless be informative or interesting in other ways? Is error itself identified only by an ascription of intentionality, or unfulfilled intention? What, then, constitutes a significant variant in this more skeptical age?
13. Overlapping Errors
Organizer: Robert Sturges (Robert.Sturges@asu.edu)
This session invites papers that consider the imbrication of different forms of “error,” and the representation of such imbrications, as medieval cultural phenomena. In what ways do overlapping “errors” in bodies, behaviors and beliefs serve to define, limit, and/or extend one another in medieval cultural representations? How does the representation of overlap among “erroneous” races, classes, genders, sexualities, religions, etc. in a single subject serve to define that subject as well as its “correct” Other? How do simultaneous “errors” in different categories reinforce—or weaken the force of—one another?
14. Reason Gone Wrong
Organizer: John Longo (email@example.com)
Chaucer’s characters frequently engage one another in argument and debate, often at crucial narrative junctures, and the poorer—that is, the less valid or cogent—argument often wins the day, sometimes with disastrous consequences. This session asks how teachers might integrate Chaucer’s dramatization of faulty inference and fallacious reasoning (especially in the context of high-stakes argument) into a broader course or unit on persuasion and argumentation. Can we imagine Chaucer sharing a syllabus with political speeches and commercial advertisements; or fitting into a course exploring the importance of classical or scholastic logic to medieval literature?
15. Early Modern Readers ‘Correcting’ Medieval Texts
Organizers: Clarissa Chenovick (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Frederic Clark (email@example.com)
The castigation and correction of medieval error proved an obsessive concern of early modern English bibliophiles, particularly in response to monastic books put into private hands by the Dissolution. However, reformist insistence on the profound moral and spiritual import of textual correction was arguably nothing new. This panel will consider how early modern modes of textual correction, in the form of manuscript annotation and emendation, rewritings, censorship, and additions, grew out of dialogue with medieval attitudes towards error and correction. To what extent did medieval notions of correction inform the Renaissance rhetoric of renewal? Moreover, how might analysis of the evolution of correctio as concept influence approaches to the medieval/early modern divide?
16. The Legend of Good Women: Chaucer's Mistake?
Organizers: Betsy McCormick (BMcCormick@MtSAC.edu); Leah Schwebel (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Lynn Shutters (Lynn.Shutters@colostate.edu).
Repetitive, dull, uninspired, and incomplete: these are some of the criticisms hurled at Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women. In 2006, Carolyn Collette observed that the poem “seems either to intrigue or annoy its modern readers – but rarely . . . to satisfy them.” For some, the Legend remains the ugly duckling of the Chaucer canon, a work whose melodramatic extremes, roster of dead, “good,” women, and complex textual history render it a curious but unsatisfying detour in Chaucer’s career. This roundtable does not seek to rescue the Legend from ignominy, but rather to address failure as an important feature of the poem. What does it mean for a work to be bad, especially for the author of the Tale of Sir Thopas? How do we assess the Legend women – are they indeed bad examples of hagiography or female conduct? Finally, how do we assess critical interpretations of bad texts, interpretations that may or may not be just as erroneous?
THREAD 3: MEDIEVAL MEDIA
Organizers: William Robins (email@example.com) and Katherine Zieman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
17. Studying Chaucer in a Digital Culture
Organizer: Kara Crawford (email@example.com)
As teachers and students in a digital culture we engage in new modes of reading even as we participate in a global community that exists in constant interaction. How does digital culture impact our study and teaching of Chaucer? Do some elements of Chaucer’s work become newly relevant in the classroom, perhaps especially in a multilingual setting? Do activities such as gaming, social media, and digital resources, invite us to revisit medieval practices of ludic play, collaborative authorship, and manuscript reading, or do they lead us in other directions altogether?
Organizers: Irina Dumitrescu (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Laura Saetveit Miles (Laura.Miles@if.uib.no)
Why do certain stories become bestsellers, repeatedly translated and adapted to other media? Why are some characters particularly appealing, the stars of vitae, poems, and paintings? This panel examines the workings of charisma, popularity, and fascination in the premodern period. Papers might call on Max Weber’s discussion of charismatic authority, Peter Brown’s of the saint as exemplar, Joseph Roach’s of the celebrity “it” factor, or Stephen Jaeger’s of the redeeming power of enchantment. The goal is to begin a conversation about how charisma – transferred over time between media and audiences but never lost – might function as a productive mode of understanding cultural systems.
19. Medieval Multimodalities/Digital Multimodalities
Organizers: Katharine Jager (email@example.com) and Dorothy Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From Digital Rhetoric and Digital Humanities, multimodality considers the ways by which sound, image, and text commingle. We seek a reconsideration of old media—the manuscript page—as it existed at a particularly dynamic medieval juncture when new forms and texts emerged to remediate literary oeuvres, genres, images, and sound technologies. How does multimodality help evaluate the current explosion of flexible media possibilities, but also the creative possibilities of manuscript studies? How might the critical work on medieval multimodalities, engage with questions of performativity, sound and literary genre? How can an experimental mode of remediation help reframe and re-theorize multimodality? Short seminar papers will be posted ahead of time as reading for participants.
20. Beyond the Imagetext
Organizers: Jessica Brantley (email@example.com) and Ingrid Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This roundtable invites submissions that examine how particular manuscripts, theories, or methodologies of textual criticism (such as “New Philology”) can shape or be shaped by media theory. It welcomes contributions that reimagine the “imagetext” paradigm of manuscript studies to expand our understanding of the species of media within and around manuscript contents and production; that critique or expand models of textual criticism using media theoretical concepts; that insightfully use medieval manuscripts as a paradigm for studies of “new” media forms; or that suggest ways to reimagine practices of literary interpretation and reading based on media ecologies of the medieval manuscript.
21. Media and the Medieval Manuscript
Organizers: Linne Mooney (email@example.com) and Wendy Scase (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What can manuscript studies offer the study of post-medieval media, and how might the family of disciplines that comprise manuscript studies be enlarged and reconfigured in the light of recent approaches to and uses of post-medieval media and technology? These sessions invite contributions to facilitate reflection on current and future encounters between post-medieval media and medieval manuscripts. Submissions might consider: the interfaces between manuscript materiality and immaterial technologies; multimedia approaches to understanding medieval literacy; new and future digital resources (the potential and pitfalls of online crowdsourcing, public engagement, and pedagogy in manuscript studies); and social network theory and textual studies.
22. How They Thought Then
Organizers: Sarah Noonan (email@example.com) and Katherine Zieman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This panel solicits papers that examine the relationship between medieval media technologies and their human users. How do media technologies such as mise-en-page, paratextual and decorative features, material formats, and textual form suggest certain modes of engagement with written or visual media? Proposals are particularly welcome that exemplify how the interdisciplinary approaches encouraged by media studies might revise current understandings of the reception and production of manuscripts or images in the Middle Ages or that consider the relation of contemplative technologies, scribal technologies, documentary technologies to modes of cognition, attention, and perception.
23. The Audible Medieval Past
Organizer: Joseph Taylor (email@example.com)
Sound Studies has complicated our histories of the production and reception of sound through attention to the cultural and political contexts surrounding the emergence of modern technologies. This session asks how critical attention to premodern sounds could further recent discussions in medieval studies about body, object, sensation and experience, the linguistic and the extra-linguistic. How does the manuscript, the medieval church, or other physical remnants offer mediums for approaching premodern soundscapes in our criticism and our classrooms? Papers might consider medieval theories of sound, aural encounters, and the intimacies of the written text and its sonic reproduction.
THREAD 4: SCIENTIAE
Organizers: Kellie Robertson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and D. Vance Smith (email@example.com)
24. Popularizing Pedagogy in the Late Middle Ages
Organizers: Susie Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Claire Waters (email@example.com)
This seminar invites participants to engage with the pedagogical innovations of the late Middle Ages, considering particularly how forms and technologies of teaching (written, depicted or performed) were transformed and adapted for new audiences. Guiding our conversation is a set of central questions: By what means was “higher” learning—philosophical, theological, scientific—transmitted beyond the university and the monastery? How did manuscripts and other visual media present and organize such knowledge with an eye to increasing its accessibility? What new areas of “popular” learning emerged that appropriated and adapted more formal subjects of scholarly exploration? Participants will pre-circulate either a primary text particularly relevant to their work or a brief position paper outlining that work, to be read by all participants in preparation for the seminar.
25. The University II.0
Organizers: Thomas Goodmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Thomas Prendergast (email@example.com)
We seek papers that explore the disciplining of knowledge in its social and material constructions in the medieval and post-medieval university. Relatively little work has been done on the social space of universities since Rashdall. In light of David Wallace’s Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418, and its approach via “transnational sequences of interconnected places,” it is timely to revisit universities as transcultural sites of training and social empowerment, of intellectual exchange and dissent. We are interested particularly in contemplations of the postmodern university in terms of the medieval university, including constructions of the liberal arts, the faculty, “the university in ruins,” and the university as corporation.
26. The Experience of Fiction
Organizers: Marco Nievergelt (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Julie Orlemanski (email@example.com)
This roundtable explores the role of fiction in medieval culture. How did writers and readers understand and experience explicitly imaginary phenomena? How was fictionality signalled, imagined, interpreted, cognized, embodied, valued or devalued? How was it used? What role did fictional thinking, or thinking about fiction, play in (for instance) scholastic disputation, philosophical speculation, claims to authority, portrayals of the pagan gods, evasions of censure or censorship, religious devotion, or instances of literary reflexivity? If the “fact” was not an important concept in medieval discourse, what was fiction defined against? Finally, how might “fictional thinking” in the Middle Ages intersect contemporary debates – about cognition and embodied simulation, about the ontology of possible worlds, and about the history of epistemological regimes?
27. Language and the Mathematical Imaginary
Organizer: Tekla Bude (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From Theseus’ panoptic theatre, measured by arsmetrik, to the multiplication of sound in the House of Fame, mathematics and poetics intersect for many reasons, and in many ways, in Chaucer’s poetry, as it does in the work of his contemporaries. This panel will consider any aspect of the mathematical imagination in the late medieval period: how and to what ends do concepts of proof and provability, maxima/minima, beginnings/ceasings, measurement, and numerosity appear in English poetry of the 14th and 15th centuries? Papers may address any aspect of the intersection of mathematics and language across any number of genres, and might also query how the mathematical in medieval language informs more modern critiques, from Kant to Badiou.
28. Household Knowledges
Organizer: Glenn Burger (email@example.com)
By the later Middle Ages, gentry and urban bourgeois households become important sites for the consumption of literary, religious, and “applied knowledge” texts, producing new author functions and forms of textual production. What is the relation between the multi-purposed and hybrid spaces in such households – for example those that mix public and private, business and domestic, masculine and feminine, lay and religious – and the knowledges produced by them? How might thinking about such households as actor networks – bringing servant, master/mistress, material object, extended family history into intimate relation with each other – generate different understandings of the knowledges generated from within such units. How might the household miscellany, conduct literature, or other more tangential kinds of literary texts function as technologies for such household knowledges?
Organizer: Patricia Ingham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Curiosity--whether medieval or modern--proves a tricky concept that resists categorization. Indeed, it often reveals the limits of the system of thought that tries to define or domesticate it. The Middle Ages are represented invariably as a time utterly and monolithically opposed to curiosity, yet the record suggests a complex set of ethical, aesthetic, or philosophical questions. Concerns over curiositas (and the vice of curiosity) emerge in debates about natural philosophy as well as writerly style, utility and fashion, travel and contemplation, or the vicissitudes of novelty. And even contemporary theorizations of curiosity are more ambivalent than we expect. While ‘positive psychology’ proponents such as Todd Kashdan have claimed the absolute centrality of curiosity to human cognition (and mental well-being), Sianne Ngai, theorizing postmodern aesthetics, has argued that the “curious” has been displaced by the “interesting.” Papers engaging any aspect of this mercurial concept are welcome.
30. Encyclopedic Experiments
Organizers: Kellie Robertson (email@example.com) and Emily Steiner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Encyclopedic compendia flourished in both Latin and the vernaculars during the late medieval period. This panel seeks papers that explore how the encyclopedic imperative to “know everything” was translated into popular literary forms. Beyond providing “raw” source material for late medieval writers, what ambitions did the encyclopedic imagination instill in them? What generic experiments (successful and otherwise) did it provoke? How did writers aspire to or rebel against the mandate for a comprehensive knowledge? Ideally, papers would engage the problem of whether or not we can identify a theory of taxonomy or an enumerative aesthetic that seems unique to the late medieval period.
THREAD 5: CHAUCERIAN NETWORKS
Organizers: Peter Brown (email@example.com) and Shayne Legassie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
31. Networks in Late-Medieval Manuscripts
Organizer: Michael Madrinkian (email@example.com)
This session will assess the various networks surrounding vernacular English manuscripts in the age of Chaucer. When dealing with an individual codex one must account for the multifarious networks to which it is tied, such as scribal interaction or collaboration, textual coteries, sources of patronage, and so on. This session invites papers that deal with this complex issue from a variety of perspectives. Possible topics include methodological practice for approaching manuscript networks, new connections or affiliations between vernacular manuscripts, connections with patronage, scribal interaction, coteries of readership, and network theory in relation late-medieval manuscripts.
32. The East of England
Organizer: Stephen Partridge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This session aims to consolidate and extend research on cultural networks outside London in the east of England between 1380-1530, focusing on Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and/or Kent. Possible topics include: patronage, production, and reception of Chaucerian manuscripts; “Chaucerian” writing (e.g. Lydgate) in its local context; relations between Chaucerian and non-Chaucerian cultural production (e.g. devotional writing); relations between literature and other arts; connections between the eastern counties and London, including early printers; links with other parts of England other than London; eastern networks for the reception of Continental influences, including those which affected the production of Chaucerian manuscripts and the nature of Chaucerian texts; relations between the religious orders and secular patronage and production.
33. Richard Bury and His Circle
Organizer: Neil Cartlidge (email@example.com)
The group of writers associated with Richard Bury, Bishop of Durham 1333–45, has been described as ”the single most notable circle or sequence of scholars under the patronage of one person in fourteenth-century England” (ODNB, s.v. ‘Bury, Richard’). This group includes such major figures as Thomas Bradwardine, Robert Holcot, Walter Burley, Richard Kilvington and Richard Fitzralph. Papers in this panel might include considerations of any of these writers individually (either directly in relation to Chaucer or in the context of the history of ideas of the fourteenth century more generally); they might also discuss the influence and interests of this group as a whole, and the ways in which could be seen as a network of exchange, or an interpretative community.
34. Town and Country Networks in Chaucerian Britain
Organizer: Helen Fulton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This panel of three 20-minute papers looks at aspects of social networking in Britain, urban and rural, which relate to Chaucer's life and his writing. The aim of the session is to show how professional and political networks in fourteenth-century Britain informed the interpersonal links which are central to Chaucer's literary work.
35. Chaucer Before and After Hoccleve
Organizers: Elon Lang (email@example.com) and Aditi Nafde (Aditi.Nafde@newcastle.ac.uk)
This roundtable seeks papers that address the influence and afterlife of manuscripts and text-makers that contributed to the continuity and development of England’s literary culture both during and after Chaucer’s life. We invite proposals that consider the networks of poets, scribes, books, and other cultural influences that led to Hoccleve's famous identification of Chaucer as his poetic "fadir" and as the "firste fyndere of our fair langage". What textual and cultural networks may have supported Chaucer's early canonization and contributed to the broader fabric of late medieval literature? How might Chaucer’s as well as Hoccleve’s and others’ influence help us reposition the center of late medieval literary and material culture?
Organizer: Michael Van Dussen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For Chaucer and some contemporaries, Bohemia represented an eastern horizon, biblically and orientally charged, embodied by Anne of Bohemia. Others were unimpressed with the Bohemian presence in England, while a few advocates of English Bible translation looked to Anne for evidence of uncontroversial engagement with vernacular Scripture. Later commentators would turn to this particular deployment of the Bohemians in attempts to link John Wyclif with Jan Hus—and regardless of Anne, the Wycliffite-Hussite relationship was influential. Panelists in this session are asked to consider the place and meaning of Bohemia and its representatives in English literary, cultural, and/or material networks in the later medieval period.
37. Mediating Italian Literature
Organizer: Kara Gaston (email@example.com)
Under what circumstances did English readers encounter Italian texts? What can be learned from studying these encounters? This panel aims to consider the material, linguistic, hermeneutic, aesthetic, and/or intellectual contexts that mediated Italian texts for English readers. How do such contexts affect the way that Italian literature was read, interpreted, and rewritten by English poets? Papers focused on the role of French and/or Occitan in these exchanges would be particularly welcome, as would be papers interested in closely analyzing or theorizing mediated encounters between texts.
38. Narrative Conduits
Organizers: Kristi Castleberry (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Leila K. Norako (email@example.com)
From the watery borders of the Celtic Otherworld, to the vibrant matrices of transmission in the Mediterranean, to the Thames as meeting point of king and poet in John Gower’s Confessio Amantis, rivers and other bodies of water commonly serve as thresholds, starting points, narrative conduits. The wide-ranging sources we find in Chaucer’s work show us that narratives and texts (and even poets) made their way back and forth across the English Channel. This session welcomes papers that explore how navigable bodies of water like the Thames are represented in medieval literature and how they function as transmitters of narratives themselves.
THREAD 6: RITUAL, PAGEANT, SPECTACLE
Organizers: Tamara Atkin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Emily Steiner (email@example.com)
39. Material Culture and Early British Performance
Organizer: Gail McMurray Gibson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This round table discussion invites presenters interested in exploring new possibilities for thinking about the physicality of pre-Reformation performance, theater, and spectacle—as well as current scholarly and theoretical issues involving surviving drama manuscripts and early printed texts as objects. What is the distinction, for example, between devotional images and stage props? If relics differ from other kinds of material objects because of their function as conduits of spiritual power, could staged memorial representations of sacred objects in religious drama, nonetheless, function in similar ways? How, if at all, did the Reformation divide affect the materiality of stage performance? What kinds of agency did the manuscripts and early printed texts of theater themselves possess? If these manuscripts and early books had significant post-medieval cultural histories, how might going beyond our usual scholarly bias of origin illuminate our understanding of pre-Reformation drama?
40. Texts in Plays/Plays as Texts
Organizer: Tamara Atkin (email@example.com)
This session invites papers that explore the textuality of medieval drama. Thanks to the Records of Early English Drama project our knowledge and understanding of the performance history of early English drama is greatly enhanced. But the effort to reconstruct original auspices necessarily relies on evidence that is wholly textual. Turning to the material history of dramatic manuscripts and early printed playbooks, this session welcomes papers that examine the textual histories of medieval drama and consider the literary status of drama alongside other related genres. At the same time, texts and books abound both as dramatic subjects and also as objects tobe read in a wide range of medieval plays. What roles do texts and books play in medieval English theatre?
41. Public Interiorities
Organizer: Katherine Zieman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Based on David Lawton’s generative concept of “public interiorities,” this panel seeks papers concerned with lyric, drama, liturgy, psalmody, devotional writing, devotional practice, or narrative voice as culturally significant performances of interiority. Whether in the realms of “courtly love” or religious devotion, these interiorities are constituted by performance before a public, as “personal but inhabited areas [that] already exist as text before they are inhabited, often in a shared first-person, by a particular speaker or group” (Lawton). What kinds of interiorities are constituted by such performances and to what ends? Similarly, what kinds of publics are articulated through these performances?
42. Performing Gendered Spaces
Organizer: Emma Lipton, University of Missouri (email@example.com)
At least since Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990), much work has been devoted to gender as a performance. Similarly, recent theory by Edward Soja and others has highlighted the performative nature of space by arguing that space is both material and subjective. Drawing on these ideas in her discussion of medieval theater, Donalee Dox has urged us to consider space as “an active participant in performance” that is “fluid, active, saturated with meanings, and always constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing an imagined reality.” This panel aims to consider the interaction between gendered and spatial models of performance. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the gendered staging of medieval drama, rituals of king or queenship, the gendered performance of sanctity, the production of domestic space or the role of gender in spatial memory.
43. Emotions at Law
Organizers: Andreea Boboc (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Conrad van Dyk (email@example.com).
The rehabilitation of emotions as judgments of value by Martha Nussbaum in her books, Upheavals of Thoughts and Hiding from Humanity, has injected new pith into modern ethical and legal discourses. No longer are emotions seen as “unthinking energies that simply push the person around, without being hooked up to the ways in which she perceives or thinks about the world” (Upheavals 24-5). This panel invites papers that explore the relevance of emotions to legal and other medieval texts (late medieval literature, chronicles, etc.) that concern themselves with the law. Panelists might wish to ponder questions such as: How were medieval emotions conceptualized at law? How are emotions performed at law and/or in legally inspired texts and contexts? How did emotions influence the practice of justice or medieval understandings of fairness and legitimacy? How do emotions participate in the constructions of citizenship, legal identity, sovereignty, and criminality?
44. Spectacular Things
Organizer: Robert S. Sturges, Arizona State University (Robert.Sturges@asu.edu)
Theater history and theories of things (object-oriented ontologies, Actor-Network-Theory, etc.) may find common ground in the investigation of the roles things play in medieval theatricality. This session therefore invites papers on the status and role(s) of non-human objects in medieval drama, ritual, and spectacle. Topics might include the use of costumes, props, etc.; the representation of objects’ agency; miraculous objects, relics, etc.; ritual objects; weapons; books considered as objects; the built environment; bodies considered as objects; and so on. Approaches that suggest links between theater history and contemporary theoretical research on the status of objects are especially welcome.
45. Teaching Drama After Chaucer
Organizer: Theresa Coletti (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a chronological sense, virtually the entire, recognized textual corpus of medieval English drama is drama “after” Chaucer. But Chaucer also inhabited a world punctuated by ritual, pageantry, and spectacle. This seminar invites contributors who want to share recent – or speculate about future – opportunities for teaching drama and cultural performances “after” Chaucer in these and other frameworks. ,For example, how can Chaucer’s works inform the teaching of Middle English dramatic texts? What can hybrid performative modes, such as those of Chaucerian admirer John Lydgate, offer to medieval dramatic pedagogy? Each contributor will make a brief presentation focused on bringing a particular dramatic work of his/her choice to the classroom; contributors will agree to prepare for the seminar by reading all the primary materials selected by individual participants.
46. Teaching with Torture: Violence as Spectacle in the Classroom
Organizer: Nicole Nyffenegger (email@example.com)
In a classroom reading of medieval saints’ lives against Elaine Scarry’s Body in Pain and the Abu Ghraib scandal, the role of the spectator is a pertinent question. From the public spectacle of martyrdom to the dehumanising pictures taken by GIs – who is the one who looks on and why? What is their role in the theatre of violence and how does it intertwine with our own engagement with the text? Panellists are asked to consider the ways in which literary representations of torture, war, rape, and murder can productively be used in teaching, in ways that steer clear of sensationalism while making medieval studies relevant to students.
THREAD 7: CORPOREALITIES
Organizers: Jonathan Hsy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Katie Walter (K.L.Walter@sussex.ac.uk)
47. Are We Postcolonial Yet? Pale Faces 2016
Organizer: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (email@example.com)
This session will ponder the ways in which literary medieval studies has both changed and resisted some profound challenges to its self-identity over the past decade and a half. Returning to the theme of Carolyn Dinshaw's 2000 Biennial Lecture in London ("Pale Faces: Race, Religion and Affect in Chaucer's Texts and Their Readers"), presenters will wonder about diversity among medievalists, the place of the personal, the matter of race, and the decolonization of medieval studies as a discipline. Sixteen years after Dinshaw's lecture, in the wake of important work by scholars like Ingham, Heng, Warren and Davis (among many others), we will ask if we are postcolonial yet, and wonder why we remain so pale.
48. Corporeal Fluidity: Written in Stone
Organizer: Elizabeth Herbert McAvoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This session examines how the body enclosed by stone is (re)shaped, organized and managed within the Middle Ages. In particular, it interrogates how a gender-inflected body-in-the-world becomes transformed by synecdochal relationship with the (apparently genderless) stone walls that surround it – those of house, garden, cloister, anchorhold or grave. To what extent, too, are those stone walls impacted upon by the gendered corporeality – along with those erections, excretions, accretions and excesses – they contain? With Gothic architecture’s miraculous animation of intractable stone as embodied simulacra of the living and the dead, this session ultimately aims to examine the permeable boundaries of apparently stone-bound identities.
49. (Dis)abling the Human/Animal Body
Organizers: Liam Lewis (email@example.com) and Haylie Swenson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This session will consider the potentially (dis)abling effects of human/animal relationships through an exploration of how notions of disability, animality, and humanness co-participate in the construction of medieval identities. In conversations before and during the conference, we will ask not only how tropes of animality are used to figure disability, but whether or not the reverse is true, as well: are notions of disability used to reinforce divides between humans and animals in the period? Can those relationships/categories be enabling? Furthermore, we will consider the effects of the imposition of those categories on bodies and communities, as well as the challenges and potential pitfalls of considering disability and animal theory both together and in conversation with medieval texts. In order to enhance the on-site conversation, participants will each pre-circulate a short primary document or critical essay for discussion in advance of the seminar.
50. Divergent Bodies and the Making of the Middle Ages
Organizers: Rick Godden (email@example.com) and Dorothy Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This session explores the presence of divergent bodies in its most expansive definitions--including both physical and cognitive impairment, as well as different sexualities, and racial identities – and how they matter for the construction of the Middle Ages. Presenters would attend to how divergent bodies--their presence or their erasure – are a contested site for forming national and local identities and bodies of knowledge. For example, how does the centrality of the imagined and real divergent bodies in Mandeville’s Travels create local identities as well as a larger international one? This session will open up a larger conversation about how medieval studies have used queer, disabled, multiconfessional, racial, and other bodies to create medieval literary culture. We would also welcome papers that examine the vibrant exchange between past and present, between the divergent bodies of academic medievalists and the subjects they study.
51. Double Rainbows: Queer & Crip Understanding and Teaching
Organizers: Ben Ambler (email@example.com) and Carol Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This roundtable will examine Queer and Crip pedagogies in the Chaucerian literature classroom (online or on-land). How might intersections between students and characters address issues of queer IDENTITY, (dis)ABILITY, and bodily expression of other differences (size, shape, gesture, dress, movement, acting, etc.)? Might such pedagogies inform the (in)VISIBILITY of certain corporealities? How could examining texts & cultures that precede the 17th-century invention of the ab/normal help us think, and teach, beyond contemporary constructions of straight and able bodies? Ultimately, how do the texts, media, and topics we teach function as a part of the environment that defines ability and straightness?
52. Embodied Emotions, Emotional Bodies
Organizer: Stephanie Downes (email@example.com)
This panel investigates corporeal forms of feeling in late medieval literature. It invites papers that consider the ways in which emotion is expressed through, visibly alters, convulses, shocks, stuns, fells, or otherwise moves the body (human or inhuman) in narrative texts. The body’s movements and appearance - its gestures, postures, and facial expressions - ask to be read as external signs of emotion, whether blushing or smiling, lying down or jumping up, fainting or falling over, shaking, writhing, yearning, or turning away. Papers are encouraged to address medieval and modern theories of affect, embodiment, and cognition to explore how the body both feels and generates feeling, as well as feelings about the body; and/or to assess the impact of disability, gender, age, race, and species, on embodied emotional display.
53. The Sensuous Body
Organizers: Richard Newhauser (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Larry Scanlon (email@example.com)
The human body can be the site of ethical ambiguity, the external senses the starting point in the cognitive process or part of the temptation of sensuality, the bodily form an occasion for the discussion of aesthetics. This session aims to pull together short presentations on corporeal sins and corporeal virtues, on sensory studies in various configurations, and on physicality as it relates especially to beauty. Presenters may wish to speak to historical issues in the representation of the body, ethical matters connected with the value of sensuality, issues in sensory studies such as the relation between sensory perception and cognition, or the place of sensuality in the understanding of aesthetics.
THREAD 8: LITERARY FORMS
Organizers: Arthur Bahr (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anke Bernau (email@example.com)
54. Lyrics Inscribed
Organizer: Julia Boffey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Roundtable/ Poster session
Medieval lyrics took material form in many non-manuscript contexts: inscribed on tablets and boards, for example, or painted on walls, incised in stone and metal, or woven into tapestries. Reading lyrics in these contexts seems likely to have produced aesthetic, sensory, even socio-cultural effects very different from those gained through reading them in books. This session offers presenters the opportunity to present their work briefly for discussion during the roundtable and then to display this research in the poster session. Contributions should illustrate how presenting research on these lyrics through the medium of a poster session offers an unusual opportunity to explore and enact their original functions.
55. Chaucerian Debate and Dialogue
Organizer: Neil Cartlidge (email@example.com)
Works that formally constitute themselves as “debates” or “dialogues” are numerous in medieval literature: but in what ways do Chaucer’s writings align themselves with literary traditions of formal debate? How important are oppositional structures to the forms in which Chaucer conceived his work? And to what extent does Chaucer write in such a way as to encourage or provoke multiple or contradictory responses? Contributions to this session will offer new illustrations of some of the ways in which Chaucer might be said to have engaged with traditions of debate and dialogue in medieval culture and/or offer new perspectives on the significance of formal opposition for an understanding of Chaucer’s art more generally.
56. Sweetness: The Possibilities of Pleasure
Organizers: Peggy Knapp (firstname.lastname@example.org), Richard Newhauser (Richard.Newhauser@asu.edu), and Jessica Rosenfeld (email@example.com)
Pleasure is a term often invoked and less often analyzed when we talk about reading, though Chaucer makes us think about pleasure more critically. Pleasure might refer to various aspects of reading: pleasure in poetic form and language, the pleasure of understanding, reading as a pleasurable sensory experience, the pleasure of the manuscript page, or of mimesis. Acknowledging the equivocation between taste as sense experience and taste as the judgment of value, we encourage submissions to this session that deal with sensory studies, the aesthetics of beauty (in particular, textual beauty), pleasure as a nexus of ethics and aesthetics, and combined or related issues.
57. Literary Value in 2016
Organizer: Robert Meyer-Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On the defensive within institutional environments increasingly hostile to the humanities, and confronted by the task to account for what we do in the blunt, quantifying discourse of assessment, we who study and teach medieval literature are being called upon to articulate the value of our discipline, which in turn often also means articulating the value of our objects of study. The past two decades have witnessed various returns to the category of the literary that in effect seek to recover a discipline of specifically literary study but one which takes into account the theoretical, ideological, and historical critiques of the discipline’s earlier self-scrutiny. This roundtable session seeks to address ongoing difficulties in this return to the category of the literary, and in particular in the attempt to offer a general account of literary value; ways of overcoming these difficulties; and/or diagnoses of the critical and institutional predicaments in which we find ourselves.
58. The Limits of the Literary
Organizers: James Simpson (email@example.com), Jonathan Stavsky (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tom Stillinger (email@example.com), and Eva von Contzen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Since Middle English lacked the term "literature" in anything like its present meanings, there is room to wonder if the quality we call "literariness" had any independent value in the Age of Chaucer. Instead, late-medieval literariness often emerges in demarcation from and tension with its antithesis: forms and discourses that foreground the limitations of imaginative writing. We invite papers that explore the ways in which the non-literary, partly literary, and anti-literary serve as productive sites for developing a literary poetics.
59. Meters and Stanza-Forms: The Favorite and the Forgotten
Organizers: Jenni Nuttall (email@example.com) and Eric Weiskott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 14th- and 15th centuries witnessed a proliferation of metrical forms and great experimentation with stanza-forms in English. Study of these holds out the promise of charting new lines of formal affiliation and alternate literary histories of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This seminar will investigate, through individual case studies, what it is to write and read metrically and stanzaically. As Mark Lambert writes: “the maker of stanzaic narrative is […] conspicuously committed […] to finding a certain shape of experience again and again.” This session will offer a space in which to compare the shapes of experience made by Middle English meters and stanza-forms both familiar and rare. Participants will be asked to focus on one meter and/or stanza-form and precirculate a short, representative passage.
60. Intent and the Haphazard in Medieval Books
Organizers: Zachary Hines (email@example.com), Boyda Johnstone (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Yelizaveta Strakhov (email@example.com)
While certain late medieval compilations demonstrate overarching organizational frameworks, others seem unplanned, and sometimes even haphazard. How do we as scholars respond to such varying levels of discernible intent? This panel considers intent and the haphazard as dual axes by which we might better understand the material books of the Middle Ages. How, in other words, does the material life of a manuscript contribute to its meaning? It seeks papers that explore the miscellaneous, the polysemous, and the mysterious as well as those concerned with manuscripts that betray what Seth Lerer has termed “the anthologistic impulse.”
THREAD 9: THE USES OF THE MEDIEVAL
Organizers: Kathleen Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Hannah Johnson (email@example.com)
61. Chaucerian Shibboleths I
Organizers: Michelle Karnes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ryan McDermott (email@example.com)
62. Chaucerian Shibboleths II
Organizers: Michelle Karnes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ryan McDermott (email@example.com)
Chaucerian shibboleths are key words that function as critical terms, channeling thought away from areas previously established as—to use a shibboleth—foreclosing. As a discipline, English studies tends to move forward by loosely organizing collective energy around emergent concepts, frameworks, and ethical concerns. Progress in research rarely incorporates outmoded concepts, using them instead as fulcrums against which to leverage reconfigurations of the field. The outmoded concepts, frameworks, and ethical concerns are then reduced to shibboleths, terms that oppositionally index entire histories of the field’s development in order to get on with the present push toward the future.
These two roundtable sessions invite proposals that consider a single shibboleth or set of related shibboleths, whether of the age of Chaucer or operating more widely in literature and humanities fields. We especially encourage formats that foster intergenerational dialogue, including interviews between at least two generations of scholars. Some possible shibboleths are: Totality, Teleology, Quiet hierarchies, Age of Faith, Presentism, anachronism, Antiquarianism, Unity, Simplicity, Formalism, New Criticism.
63. Chaucerian Controversialisms I
Organizers: Ana Sáez-Hidalgo (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nancy Warren (email@example.com), and R.F. Yeager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
64. Chaucerian Controversialisms II
Organizers: Ana Sáez-Hidalgo (email@example.com), Nancy Warren (firstname.lastname@example.org), and R.F. Yeager (email@example.com)
For 250 years after Henry VIII declared an independent English Church, bitter controversialist struggle divided Anglicans, dissenting Protestants of various sorts (Presbyterians, Anabaptists, and Quakers among others), and English Catholic recusants. Despite much material and textual evidence of how Chaucer’s and other major writers’ biographies and works were utilized during the 16th and 17th centuries on both sides of the cause—e.g., composite editions, attribution of works by others as “proof” of partisan belief, polemical literary criticism, fictionalized appearances in literary pieces—the controversialists remain little studied.
We seek participants for two linked sessions, one of formal 20-minute papers and the other a roundtable including 10-minute presentations, and discussion by participants and audience. The proposed sessions seek to draw attention to this extraordinarily neglected area of religious controversy that, in fact, preoccupied English political and literary attention for more than two hundred years, and to function as a prolegomenon to the necessary future scholarship. Applicants should specify which, or either, session is desired.
65. Translating Global Chaucers
Organizer: Candace Barrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This roundtable will continue the Global Chaucers conversation begun at the 2014 Congress. The focus will be on translations of Chaucerian texts into languages other than standard Present Day English. Of particular interest are presentations by translators, scholars, and teachers outside the Anglophone inner circle (UK, US, Canada, Australia, NZ). Participants will consider the ways translations:
-reflect the particular linguistic, cultural, or social context in which they appeared;
-reveal understandings of Chaucer's texts unavailable to an Anglophone reader;
-take advantage of verse or prose forms (or other stylistic conventions) available in the receiving literary culture but not in English.
66. Medieval and Modern in the Classroom
Organizer: Katharine Breen (email@example.com)
This seminar is dedicated to pedagogically productive juxtapositions of the medieval and the modern (or, if you prefer, the post-modern). Have you invited your students to consider Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” in terms of the generic conventions of the medieval saint’s life? Or asked them to analyze the medievalism of Game of Thrones? More broadly, seminar participants might consider the ways medieval texts help to denaturalize modern conventions or, conversely, the ways modern analogues render medieval texts less alienating. How does “the medieval” function as a category in contemporary discourse – and how do specifically medieval cultural formations persist, often unacknowledged, in modern works? Participants will be asked to pre-circulate a classroom assignment that asks students to set medieval and (post)modern texts in relation to each other.
67. Contemporary Medievalist Poetry
Organizer: Jane Chance (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This roundtable involves reading, discussing, and theorizing contemporary medievalistic poems to extend concepts of “medievalism”.. For example, award-winning classicist Anne Carson refashions the myth of Geryon’s relationship with Hercules in her Autobiography of Red and Red Doc>, just as Mary Syzbist does with the medievalized figure of Mary in Incardine. What kind of situations do poets borrow in reassessing the medieval, and what benefits emerge from repurposing? This panel will hopefully offer new poet-based perspectives on the modern and postmodern vernacularity of the Middle Ages.
Open Topic Sessions
68. Surveillance I: Watching, Listening, Counting, Listing, Mapping
Organizer: Sylvia Tomasch (email@example.com)
69. Surveillance II: Inquiring, Sorting, Classifying, Confessing, Correcting
Organizer: Sylvia Tomasch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While not technologically based, surveillance in the Middle Ages was quite as ubiquitous as it is today, permeating all aspects of society. Consider The Rule of St. Benedict, the Fourth Lateran Council, the Book of Margery Kempe, sumptuary laws, mirrors for princes, conduct literature, mappae mundi, or some of the Canterbury Tales, to note just a few instances. Participants are encouraged to use elements of contemporary Surveillance Studies to help explore the many medieval modes of the surveillant process, from watching, listening, counting, listing, and mapping to inquiring, sorting, classifying, confessing, and correcting – and other possibilities not noted here.
70. Varieties of Literacy in Medieval England
Organizers: Christopher Cannon (email@example.com) and Emily Steiner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Paper proposals are invited on the relationship—and changing relationship—between orality and literacy; the variety of schools and schooling; the role of mutlilingualism (or multilingualisms) as well as dialects in elementary and more advanced pedagogy; the importance of French over against Latin over against English in any textual community; the relationship between word and image (visual literacy versus textual literacy); songs and singing as modes of literacy training; and the meaning-making roles of marginalia and commentary (what might be called glossamatic literacy).
71. Did Chaucer (or Langland or Gower) have a mother tongue?
Organizers: Christopher Cannon (email@example.com) and Emily Steiner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We invite short position papers addressing the question, “Did Chaucer (or Langland or Gower) have a mother tongue?” Participants are welcome to answer this question using a range of texts and approaches; all participants should be prepared to engage in lively debate.
72. Middle English Literature and the Archives I: London
Organizers: Julia Boffey (email@example.com) and Ryan Perry (R.Perry@kent.ac.uk)
73. Middle English literature and the Archives II: The Continent
Organizers: Julia Boffey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ryan Perry (R.Perry@kent.ac.uk)
Recent scholarship has begun to make clear how much material of relevance to Chaucer, and to Middle English literature more generally, resides in archival collections beyond the holdings of literary manuscripts in major research libraries. In such archives, often of administrative, financial or ecclesiastical records are new texts, new records about the activities of authors, scribes and readers, illuminating examples of organizing and recording information, and other fresh insights into Chaucer and his age. We invite proposals for two sessions in this thread: 1) London archives 2) continental archives.
74. Conscience and Confession
Organizer: Nicole D. Smith (email@example.com)
This panel invites papers examining medieval theories of confession and the role of conscience therein. While conscience as “knowledge of the self” (sapientia) is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in penitential works, allegories, hagiographies, and romances also advance models of self-consciousness based on explicit, rational cognition of sin and implicit, affect-laden experience of contrition. Papers may consider the implications of integrating cognitive processes with states of heart-felt sorrow; whether genre or the vernacular affects conscience as a typology for scripting forgiveness; or how codicological contexts may enrich our understanding of the enduring questions of truth, love, and mercy.
75. Digital Approaches to Middle English Editing
Organizers: Akiyuki Jimura (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yoshiyuki Nakao (email@example.com)
This roundtable is designed to bring together recent work on digital editing projects and to assess what they collectively contribute to our knowledge of Middle English literature. Panelists can discuss particular software tools (either completed or in development) that contribute to the textual criticism of Chaucer and other medieval authors. These short position papers are also encouraged to address the questions: what do digital tools add to our understanding of medieval texts? What are their limitations? What other tools might we consider creating?
76. Traveler’s Tales and Medieval Ethnographies: Encountering Religious Diversities
Organizer: Christine Chism (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This session investigates the ways that historical or fictional medieval travelers describe the practices of other confessions, sometimes to exoticize them, and sometimes to compare them with and defamiliarize their own. Proposals are welcomed that analyze inter- and intra-confessional worlding, ethnographic tropes and their relation to narrative forms, and the ways that narrators perform themselves and construct their audiences at the boundaries of faiths.
77. Anchoritic Spirituality
Organizer: Susannah Chewning (email@example.com), Elizabeth Herbert McAvoy (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Michelle Sauer (email@example.com)
Can we speak of “the physical” when talking about the anchoritic life? This roundtable seeks 10-minute responses to this question that specifically address the physical and material experiences of the anchorite, with particular attention to the locations of anchoritic enclosure in England. Participants might consider an identifiable anchorite and his/her cell; the mystical tradition & enclosure; a tradition of enclosure at a precise location; the relationship between a location and a literary tradition; people or places associated with the anchoritic; remnants of anchoritism in England today; material culture and the body of the medieval English anchorite. Special attention will be given to the greater London area.
78. Sensing Nature
Organizers: Justin Barker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ingrid Pierce (email@example.com)
This panel invites consideration of how medieval literary works theorize the communication between nature and the senses and illuminate central human and artistic questions—for instance, how we come to know our world and how sensory experience of the natural world influences the poetic process. Panelists may explore how late medieval poets generate an implicit theory of the senses through a range of topics, including the music of the spheres, the relationship between the elements and the senses, the way sense perception promotes interconnection between humankind and nature, the tension between nature and artifice, and sensing nature in dream visions.
79. Chaucer’s Langland
Organzers: Stephanie Batkie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Eric Weiskott (email@example.com)
Many scholars have discerned evidence of the influence of Piers Plowman on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. What is the literary-historical significance of this “obligatory conjunction” between two major Middle English poems? This session seeks to enrich the current critical discussion about the cultural and literary resonance of Langland’s alliterative poem for Chaucer and his audience. Possible topics for short position papers include Chaucer’s perceptions of the alliterative meter; the nature of Chaucer’s access to manuscripts of Piers Plowman; Chaucer and Langland as London poets; Piers Plowman as a pre-Ricardian poem; and the overlapping literary genres of the two poetic projects, especially dialogue and estates satire.
80. The Social Worlds in Troilus and Criseyde
Co-organizers: Lawrence Besserman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and John M. Hill (email@example.com)
The co-organizers invite paper proposals focusing on differentiations among the social, intellectual, and theological speech registers of Troilus, Criseyde, Pandarus, and the Narrator. How has Chaucer differentiated among these characters through their use of oaths, invoked relationships (such as friendship and courtship), asseverations, vows, maxims, preferred syntactic patterns, etc.? Proposals examining the social worlds revealed in the speech of minor characters (e.g. Cassandra, Diomede, Hector) are also welcome.
81. New Literary Histories of the English Language
Organizer: Seeta Chaganti (firstname.lastname@example.org)
How might a fresh look at the field known as History of the English language (HEL) generate new and unexpected arguments about medieval literature and the value of literary and humanist study? Papers could revivify the relationship between medieval texts and HEL through new formalism, new and post-historicism, media studies, digital humanities, temporality studies, aesthetics, medievalism, anthropocene and posthumanist studies, or other methodologies. Such approaches might be brought to bear on histories of formal features; coinage, onomastics, etymology, or global borrowing as literary effects; or the medieval text’s self-conscious exploration of language change.
82. Chaucer in the College Classroom
Organizers: Disa Gambera (email@example.com) and Peter Travis (Peter.W.Travis@dartmouth.edu)
In the wake of the recent publication of Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Second Edition (2014), a session focusing on present-day college classroom experiments in Chaucer pedagogy is surely called for. And in this era of declining enrollments for many English Departments, perhaps it is also the right time to consider what Chaucer has to offer 21st -century students, particularly those not planning to get advanced degrees in English. By sharing information about how Chaucer and other medieval authors are and might be taught, this panel will lead into a practical discussion concerning the broader merits of teaching Chaucer as well as various ways of “marketing” all things medieval in the college curriculum.
83. Fifty Years of the Chaucer Review
Organizers: David Raybin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Susanna Fein (email@example.com)
This panel celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of The Chaucer Review: A Journal of Medieval Studies and Literary Criticism. For our jubilee session, we seek papers that look back, taking stock of how our discipline has evolved since a time when the principal players were all male and the main issues involved New Criticism and patristics. More importantly, we seek papers that look forward, suggesting the goals and directions speakers envision for scholarship and the profession in the next decade and beyond.
84. What If It’s True? -- Chaucer’s Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury
Organizer: Lynn Staley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In his recent book, Paul Strohm offers a narrative that uses the facts we already have about Chaucer’s life in relation to his own reading of London city politics in the last quarter of the 14th century and study of the material world and culture of the city itself. This roundtable will address the scholarly implications of the book. What does it add to or take away from our scholarly understanding of Chaucer the writer? What are its implications for our understanding of Chaucer’s works?
85. Materiality and Materialism
Organizers: Katherine Little (Katherine.C.Little@colorado.edu) and Nicholas Perkins (email@example.com)
This session takes up the relationship between recent theories of materiality, or the “material turn,” and what we once called “materialism”: the relationship between literary texts (or art) and economics/social relations. We ask, if the lively biographies of things are now center stage, and if networks and connectivity have replaced institutions, economies, and social structures in our critical approaches, what do we do with “materialism,” as the material fact of humans laboring for their livelihood? We welcome papers on how medieval texts theorize materiality or pay close attention to the material, as well as papers on the distance between cultural materialism and current instantiations of materiality studies.
86. Arts of Dying
Organizer: Amy Appleford (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It continues to be a truism that, after the Black Death, death became a focus of special imaginative intensity throughout European culture. Figured by the skeletons that occupy the lower compartments of transi tombs or link bony hands in the Danse macabre, death functions as a potent symbol of the period’s difference from the modern. But imaginations of death are hardly confined to the late Middle Ages. They are a preoccupation in insular literature from the Anglo-Saxon period onward. This session invites papers that explore death and/or dying as theme, practice, personal or community preoccupation, religious or philosophical idea.
Organizers: Ruth Evans (email@example.com) and Laura Saetveit Miles (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Can your research be presented visually? Would you like your audience to contemplate your evidence at leisure and give you one-on-one feedback on your analysis? This year's NCS Poster Session will offer a venue for participants to showcase work-in-progress throughout the duration of the conference, as well as actively present in person during a dedicated session time in the program.
While the posters will be displayed all together in a prominent public area, they will each "belong" to one of the main threads governing the conference, and be clustered according to these threads - thus building on the connections made during other sessions. During the poster session time itself, participants will individually discuss their poster with viewers.
This is an excellent opportunity to think about your work-in-progress in new ways and consider how non-linear visual presentation - i.e. not a paper, not an article - can reinvigorate your own understanding and enable others to engage with your work at their own pace. The scholarship best suited to the poster format will usually perform analysis of images or objects, or it will graphically present information in a way that enables the poster to do different work than a paper. Proposals should include a description of the research, how it lends itself to a poster format, and some speculation on how the poster will look. The proposal should be affiliated with one of the threaded poster sessions below. Accepted poster contributors will receive advice and support on poster production.
NB: NCS tried out a poster session for the first time in 2014, and the membership deemed it a great success. Posters usually include narrative, illustrations, tables, graphs, and similar presentation formats. The poster should concisely communicate the essence of the presenter’s research and/or showcase a particular artefact and the researcher's findings. Colorado State University has published useful general information on poster sessions, which can be accessed here: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=78.
Some handsome example posters are available by following this link: http://www.lifeandliterature.org/p/poster-session.html
87. Poster Group 1. London: Books, Texts, Lives
88. Poster Group 2. Error
89. Poster Group 3. Medieval Media
90. Poster Group 4. Scientiae
91. Poster Group 5. Chaucerian Networks
92. Poster Group 6. Ritual, Pageant, Spectacle
93. Poster Group 7. Corporealities
94. Poster Group 8. Literary Form
95. Poster Group 9. The Uses of the Medieval