by EILEEN JOY
Yes, it's International Hug a Medievalist Day (see below), and in between running away from huggers, or begging people to hug you, or while waiting for your locked and barricaded door to be breached by battery ram-wielding medievalist-lovers, you might enjoy listening to two more of the audiofiles from the recent "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" conference:
Carla Nappi, University of British Columbia, "You Don't Mess With the Yohan: Cotton, Objects, and Becoming Vegetal in Early Modern China"
Peggy McCracken, University of Michigan, "Flower Girls"
A mashup of the keywords for these two talks would look something like this:
cotton/cottonification, Old French Roman l'Alexandre, floral-human beings, natural history, etymology/synonymy, becoming-vegetal, hospitality, strange strangers, the mesh, historiography-as-object, Early Modern China, histories of processes/practices, translation, multilingualism, Derrida, the forest, guest/host/hostage, territorialization, embrace of the sovereign, sex-as-gift, auto-poetic text networks, shared being, tribute/exchange, empire, object histories, epistemic/textual architectures, non-coherence of historical objects, l'arrivant, flower-virgins (kind of), transmission, lamb-stalk
Those interested in the possible (im)possibilities of writing object histories (which also means writing the history of how objects move through and are translated within multiple locations and temporalities) when the object itself is never really stable or coherent to begin with will find Carla's talk extremely provocative and useful. For those interested in what a particular scene of sex-giving/taking between the legendary Alexander and his men and a "grove" of "flower-maidens" might tell us about, not only the embrace of the sovereign and the "strange stranger" as a particular type of hospitality (which is always, nevertheless, also a kind of territorialization), but about the medieval text itself, especially when located within auto-poetic text networks (such as the classical and medieval Alexander narratives) as an encounter, or a "taking-place," that depends on the encounter with the "strange stranger."