News & Events

NCS Objects Proposed Cuts to Medieval Literature

The New Chaucer Society has written to senior managers at University of Leicester to object to proposed cuts to medieval literature. 

"We are disturbed by your proposals to end the teaching of early English literature, culture, and language. The proposals state that you will provide modules that are 'theoretically innovative and thematically driven'; 'a chronological literary history'; 'a selection of modules on race, ethnicity, sexuality, and diversity; a decolonised curriculum.' There is so reason why these ambitions should not go hand in hand with medieval studies. You go on to say that you will 're-focus and strengthen' English, but in our view you cannot do this by ceasing core parts of your provision. In the University's proposals, the study of early English is presented as being inimical to diversity. This is completely untrue. In fact, these issues are central to the evolving present and future of our field, as they should be to all areas of study."

 

Anthony Bale, President, The New Chaucer Society

NCS Expo, Future Forward Call for Nominees

NCS Expo, Future Forward Call for Nominees, #NCSExpo2021

 

Organisers: Seeta Chaganti; Bobby Meyer-Lee; Emily Steiner.

 

Whether in the context of long-term social justice commitments or in response to shifts in global politics over the last few years, medievalists have found themselves facing questions about the relation – or lack thereof – between their organizing work and their scholarly engagements. To some extent, this question pertains to academics in all fields: those who are also organizers note the sometimes stark contrasts between the activist and academic communities to which they belong. But the role of organizing in the medievalist’s life holds special complexity. For while scholars in more contemporary fields can often create mutually reinforcing continuities between their scholarship and relevant activist practices, this dynamic can be challenging for medievalists to reproduce. The 2021 Future Forward session aims to create conversation about this longstanding reality in light of current political situations. The session is slated to take place online on Monday 19th July 2021, 14:30BST/08:30EST

 

Questions we hope to consider include:

  •       How do our expertise and methodologies as medievalists contribute to our social justice goals?
  •       What experiences do we have in which our premodern objects of study shape our interventions into present injustices?
  •       How does the field acknowledge these? Conversely, what happens when our scholarship and social justice aims are unrelated or even limit and undermine each other? And how do we negotiate between reform from within institutions and the abolitionist discourses that interrogate institutions and hierarchies themselves? Some of these institutions not only play defining roles in many of our lives but also find their origins in medieval cultures.
  •       Are some of the antagonisms or simple lack of connections between our activist and scholarly commitments, and between the institutions that enable each, fundamentally irreconcilable? And, inasmuch as they might be reconciled, how might emerging critical emphases in medieval studies serve not simply to improve medievalist scholarship but also to re-make medieval studies as a discipline, one that would more saliently orient its work toward contemporary racial, economic, environmental, gender, disability, and other forms of justice? What challenges have we faced, historically and recently, in making this vision a reality?

 

The format for this event will consist of a one-hour panel, in which speakers will interview each other, followed by 45-minute breakout group discussions for all audience members.

 

Nominations and self-nominations should be sent to NCS President Anthony Bale (a.bale@bbk.ac.uk) by Monday 25th January 2021, and can include a supporting statement of up to 200 words.  

NCS Expo2021 and Biennial Congress 2022

The next New Chaucer Society (NCS) biennial congress will be in Durham, England, in July 2022. NCS remains committed to the Biennial Congress and the value of our in-person meetings.

In the summer of 2021 NCS will offer an Expo of research-driven papers and presentations on Chaucer, literature, and culture in the age of Chaucer, and medieval studies.  Expo2021 is not an online congress, but rather a digital showcase. Expo2021 is an opportunity for us to explore new ways of coming together in the wake of the difficulties of the last year, and to reaffirm NCS’s values of building a diverse, inclusive, and progressive scholarly society. 

Even before the coronavirus crisis, NCS was thinking of ways of meeting that would embrace digital technology, widen participation, and have less of a financial and environmental footprint. So Expo2021 is a way of exploring some of the potential benefits of online gatherings. Expo2021 has been put together by current officers and members of NCS, with planning meetings involving the team at Durham, the 2020 Program Committee, and the Trustees of NCS.    

Expo2021 will also be a chance to celebrate Ruth Evans, former Executive Director and outgoing President of the Society. Ruth will be presenting her Presidential Lecture, 'On Not Being Chaucer', as the culmination of Expo2021 and this really gives us something to look forward to.

We will launch the Expo2021 website very shortly, and the social media handle will be #NCSExpo2021.

 

Anthony Bale, President, New Chaucer Society

Dr. Ruth Kennedy Obituary

For twenty years Ruth was an inspirational lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. Ruth's passionate love of the natural world was reflected in her teaching and research. One of her favourite, and most popular, classes was centred on the Parlement of Fowles. Ruth was an exceptionally perceptive and conscientious editor, and her work included a volume of three alliterative Saints lives for EETS and a special issue of Parergon on metre and stress in English rhymed alliterative verse. Ruth was also very active running Lomers (the London Old and Middle English Research Seminar group) which brought together academics from the University of London for research seminars and conferences. A number of these conferences inspired volumes of research, and I was fortunate enough to work with Ruth on editing Writers of the Reign of Henry II and Authority and Subjugation in Writing of Medieval Wales for Palgrave Macmillan. Ruth had an irrepressible zest for life and will be sorely missed by her colleagues, former students and friends, as well as her family.

Dr. S. T. Meecham-Jones

New Chaucer Society Statement on the Death of George Floyd

The New Chaucer Society expresses our solidarity in mourning with the family and communities of George Floyd, who died, restrained and unarmed, in Minneapolis on 25 May.  His killing follows those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Vonderrit Myers, Jr., Michael Brown, and so many others. We mourn their deaths.  We know that the response to George Floyd’s killing from communities across the US, the UK, the rest of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Japan is also a reaction to longstanding systemic racism and social inequalities, now painfully amplified by the current global pandemic, in which people of color are disproportionately affected by Covid-19.  The New Chaucer Society is a public, international, and outward-facing organization, that stands in opposition to the many kinds of violence done to people of color and to all oppressed groups around the world.  We know that words are not enough.  The ethics of our scholarship and our teaching, and our commitment to diversity and inclusion, call us to speak out in support of African American communities, but let us also actively listen and learn from one another and reflect upon the ways in which we perpetuate cycles of racial injustice.  Let us stand together for a better future.  

Tom Goodmann, Executive Director, New Chaucer Society
Ruth Evans, President, New Chaucer Society

Addendum, Monday, June 8, 2020:

Our thanks to those members who have written to express concerns over the inclusion of China in the list of countries and regions responding to the death of George Floyd. We intended to signal the global scope of responses to the deaths of African Americans, and want to acknowledge that the list of countries, regions, and peoples was not sufficiently nuanced. We meant to include the people of Hong Kong, Uighur Muslim communities, Taiwan (Republic of China), and those in the PRC whose resistance has a very long history.
 
Our apologies for using words that were insufficient and imprecise, and our thanks to members who have written to us for clarification.
 
Thomas Goodmann, Executive Director, The New Chaucer Society
Ruth Evans, President, The New Chaucer Society

BIENNIAL LONDON CHAUCER CONFERENCE: CHAUCER AND EUROPE

Friday 28th- Saturday 29th June 2019

Hosted by the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, with generous support from the New Chaucer Society

Keynote addresses by Professor Laura Kendrick (University of Versailles) and Professor David Wallace (University of Pennsylvania).

CALL FOR PAPERS:

The Biennial London Chaucer Conference 2019 seeks proposals for 20-minute papers, or for panels (consisting of three 20-minute papers), on any topic related to this year’s conference theme: ‘Chaucer and Europe’. Papers should primarily address issues relating to Europe and its influences, ideas, and traditions in the age of Chaucer and his contemporaries, or in later works which engage with Chaucer’s literary afterlife. The conference aims to explore not only how the works of such great European writers as Dante, Boccaccio, Machaut, and Froissart influenced Chaucer and his contemporaries, but also how European literary traditions, forms, and styles informed the literature produced in England during the later Middle Ages. The conference also welcomes papers which explore, or engage creatively, with ideas of place, travel, and commerce in Europe, as well as issues of identity (regional, national, and international), otherness, and borders and boundaries. Interdisciplinary topics and approaches are most welcome as the conference hopes to bring together scholars and postgraduate students working in a range of disciplines and departments. 

Possible topics might include:
• The influence of European works and writers on Chaucer and/or his contemporaries
• European literary traditions (including genres, forms, styles, and themes)
• European settings, geographies, and landscapes
• Europe and the global
• Place and identity
• National and international identities
• Transport, mobility, and migration
• Pilgrimage, war, and crusading
• Translation, languages, and multilingualism
• Borders and boundaries
• Modern ideas of Medieval Europe

Proposals for single 20-minute papers should include a 250-word abstract (as well as name and affiliation). Proposals for three-paper panels should take the form of three separate abstracts as well as a brief discussion of the rationale behind the session (the name of the three speakers and, if possible, an appointed chair, should also be included). Proposals should be sent to Alastair Bennett, Hetta Howes and Natalie Jones, at londonchaucer2019@gmail.com by January 31st 2019

Call for submissions: In honor of Gloria Cigman

Bien chers tous,

Notre amie Gloria Cigman nous a quittés. Avec elle, s’en sont allés l’humour, la vivacité d’esprit, une forme d’élégance et de charisme. Au-delà de la peine et de la tristesse provoquées par sa perte, nous vous proposons de lui rendre hommage en lui dédiant un recueil d’articles. Les contributeurs à ce volume pourront consacrer leur article aux thèmes qui étaient chers à Gloria – la religion, les sermons lollards, les Juifs dans l’Angleterre de la fin du Moyen Age, les femmes au Moyen-Age, la littérature médiévale en général et celle qui avait trait aux formes du mal en particulier ; ou bien, s’ils préfèrent, leur choix pourra se porter sur un thème susceptible de plaire à Gloria. Dans un cas comme dans l’autre, nous nous emploierons à célébrer sa mémoire et son amour de toutes « choses médiévales ».

Les propositions d’articles (identité / affiliation + titre et quelques lignes à propos du futur article) sont à envoyer à catherine.hemet.royer@gmail.com avant le 28 février 2019.

Les normes de présentation peuvent être consultées à partir du lien suivant : https://amaes.jimdo.com/publications-de-l-amaes/notre-journal-ema/soumettre-un-article/

 

Dear everyone,

Our friend Gloria Cigman has left us. Gone with her is a great deal of humour, wit, elegance and charisma. Over and above the sadness generated by her loss, we propose to dedicate a collection of articles to her memory. Those among you wishing to contribute might devote their article either to subjects that were dear to Gloria – religion, Lollard sermons, the Jews in later medieval England, women in the Middle Ages, medieval literature in general or that relating to forms of evil in particular – or to themes likely to have aroused her interest. In both cases, we shall endeavour to celebrate her memory and her love of « all things medieval ».

Authors are invited to submit a title with a few lines about the future article together with their identification/affiliation to catherine.hemet.royer@gmail.com before 28 February 2019.

The norms for the presentation of the articles can be consulteld at https://amaes.jimdo.com/publications-de-l-amaes/notre-journal-ema/soumettre-un-article/

CALL FOR SESSIONS

Twenty-second Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society
Durham, 12–16 July 2020

The NCS Program Committee invites proposals for sessions for the Societyʼs 2020 Congress in Durham. Sessions may be proposed either for the open portion of the program or directed at one of the six thematic threads described here.

We are very excited about the upcoming congress, which will consist of threaded and unthreaded sessions. About half the program will be independent sessions, with the remaining half comprising threaded sessions.

Session proposals should be sent to 2020NCSproposals@miami.edu by 21 December.

A session proposal should include a brief description of the session suitable for the Call for Papers (100 words), an indication of thread (non-)affiliation, and designation of preferred session format(s) (Paper/Lightning/Position--see here). A short bio of the proposer should also be included (2‒3 sentences). Proposers should submit a maximum of two proposals each.

The session formats successfully introduced at our last Congress have been retained for Durham, but the Program Committee has decided to rest the Seminar format. Instead, the committee hopes that participants in all sessions, of whatever type, will pursue the goals of that venerable format through collaboration before and after the conference, including precirculation of materials where session participants agree.

A Research Expo to showcase research with strong visual or digital elements will feature again. Its launch will constitute one session on the program.

Each thread will, we hope, contain all the standard session formats, and we encourage members to consider all of these formats when designing a session proposal, whether threaded or free-standing. We also encourage members to submit sessions on pedagogy, especially in relation to thread topics.

After the closing date, thread organizers and the Program Committee will select sessions for the open program and threads and finalize session descriptions in consultation with session organizers. The Call for Papers will follow in February 2019. Please note that members will be permitted to submit only one proposal (including Expo presentation proposals) to this call.

Before then, we are very much looking forward to seeing your ideas for sessions at Durham.

Elliot Kendall and Robyn Malo
Program Committee co-chairs

SEE THE FULL CALL FOR SESSIONS HERE.

International Piers Plowman Society - Anne Middleton Book Prize

The IPPS is delighted to announce the Anne Middleton Book Prize, to be awarded to the best book, published over a two-year period, substantively concerned with the literary, historical, religious, intellectual, textual-codicological, and critical contexts of Piers Plowman and related poetry and prose in the traditions of didactic and allegorical alliterative writing. “Book” refers to a substantial and original piece of scholarly and/or creative work (e.g., editions, translations, monographs), published in any format.

Owing to the generous response to the Anne Middleton Memorial Fund, to which donations are always welcome, there will be two inaugural awards of the prize, one covering works with a publication date of 2015-2016 and one covering 2017-2018 (as already advertised, before the Middleton Fund was established. Winners will receive $150 and free membership of the Society for one year (if recipients are in the “standard” category) or two years (if in the student or independent scholar categories).

The Prize Committee, comprising Andrew Cole, Wendy Scase, and Nicholas Watson, invites nominations of books published in 2015-16 and 2017-18. One nomination per book, of no more than ca. 300 words, to be sent to MiddletonPrize@gmail.com, should include title, publication details, an abstract of the book, and a sentence or two saying how the book contributes to Langland studies or to that of the “world” of Piers Plowman. Anyone may nominate a work: publishers, authors self-nominating, colleagues. The Committee reserves the right to award the Prize to a work that has not been nominated.

Nominators should also arrange for copies to be sent to members of the Prize Committee, preferably in hard copy if applicable, to be posted to: Andrew Cole, Department of English, Princeton University, 22 McCosh Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544 USA; Wendy Scase, Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK; Nicholas Watson, Department of English, Harvard University, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA. For digital items then the URL or file is fine, and if hard-copy is not feasible a digital copy can be submitted instead, to MiddletonPrize@gmail.com.

Deadline for receipt of nominations and submissions is 15 January 2019. The two inaugural prizes will be presented at the IPPS Conference to be held in Miami, Florida, in April 2019.

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
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