The International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan is fast approaching, so if you have not ordered your steampunk glasses and hauberk, I recommend you do so now. The BABEL Working Group, GW's Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, and postmedieval are all sponsoring sessions, which are described below, and I invite everyone to use the comments section here to direct our attention to other sessions which you think would be of interest to readers of the In The Middle or just to say, "I'm in this session; come and heckle me!" In the meantime, in order to further our project of a drunkenly deranged medieval studies in which all of our critical faculties are thrown to the wayside in favor of a micropolitics of disruption, revelry, and indiscriminate affection [and maybe a few fistfights and sudden sing-a-longs of Neutral Milk Hotel], please consider yourself invited to the following social events:
Karaoke @Shakespeare's Pub
Wednesday, May 8th, 9:00 pm onward
BABEL Working Group: Open-Bar Reception/Meeting
Friday, May 10th, 5:15 pm, Fetzer 2020
*we will be giving away punctum books [Thomas Meyer's Beowulf, Dark Chaucer: An Assortment, Speculative Medievalisms: Discography, and Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects], and also taking suggestions for panel themes for the 2014 Congress
BABEL Working Group + postmedieval: Annual Party
Friday, May 10th, 9:00 pm onwards
*all the beer is on BABEL [wristbands to be distributed at brewery]
I want to mention here, also, that Palgrave has finally agreed to a special discounted price [$49 per year for 4 issues, print + online] for graduate student subscribers to postmedieval, and you can see more about that HERE. Related to that, we are also giving away 3 annual subscriptions [print + online] to the journal via a special Twitter contest, and you can see more about that HERE.
Thursday, May 9th @1:30 pm, Fetzer 1005
THRIVING [roundtable: postmedieval]
The work of Aranye Fradenburg, especially her psychoanalytic criticism of Chaucer, and her formulations of discontinuist historical approaches to the Middle Ages, has been extremely influential within medieval studies for the past 15 or so years. More recently she has been focusing on more broad defenses of the humanities, especially with regard to the valuable role of literary studies relative to the arts of everyday living, eudaimonia [flourishing], ethical community, and well-being, and also on psychoanalysis itself as a "liberal art." Relationality, intersubjectivity, aliveness, resilience, care of the self and also of others, adaptive flexibility, playfulness, shared attention, companionship, healing, and thriving seem, increasingly, to be the key watchwords and concerns of Fradenburg's work, and at the same time, the so-called "literary" mode is still central to these concerns, such that, as Fradenburg has written, "Interpretation and relationality depend on one another because all relationships are unending processes of interpretation and expression, listening and signifying. In turn, sentience assists relationality: we can’t thrive and probably can’t survive without minds open to possibility, capable of sensing and interpreting the tiniest shifts in, e.g., pitch and tone." This roundtable features short presentations on the valuable role(s) that medieval studies might play in the future of the liberal arts, especially as they pertain to "thriving" and "living" and to the ways in which living itself is an art.
- Patricia Clare Ingham, "Living and Thriving"
- Randy P. Schiff, " Come Flourish With Me: Critically Mixing Pleasure and Politics"
- Julie Orlemanski, "Provisionality and Provision"
- Kathy Lavezzo, "'From His Mouth Delyverly': Thriving in the Nun's Priest's Tale"
- Paul Megna, "Sacrificial Thriving"
- Daniel C. Remain, "living/riddle"
- Aranye Fradenburg, "Staying Alive"
- Michael Snediker, "Fuzzy Thinking"
The Future We Want: A Collaboration [roundtable: GW-MEMSI]
Building upon a series of sessions at last year's International Medieval Congress that focused on the active engagement to which humanists must commit in order not to find themselves in merely passive, reactive, protest-oriented positions, we hope to extend and intensify a conversation about how to shape the humanities, and ourselves, in the years ahead.
- Karen Eileen Overbey + Anne F. Harris: Field Change/Discipline Change
- Aranye Fradenburg + Eileen Joy: Institutional Change/Paradigm Change
- Will Stockton + Allan Mitchell: Time Change/Mode Change
- Lowell Duckert + Steve Mentz: World Change/Sea Change
- Chris Piuma + Jonathan Hsy: Voice Change/Language Change
- Julie Orlemanski + Julian Yates: Collective Change/Mood Change
Plunder [roundtable: BABEL Working Group]
Fifteen of Hrothgar's house-guards / surprised on their benches and ruthlessly devoured, / and as many again carried away, / a brutal plunder.
~ Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney
This session features short presentations that explore texts and other artifacts, and/or any aspect of scholarship on the Middle Ages, that engage, practically and theoretically, consciously or unconsciously, in plunder and plundering -- defined as taking, stealing, pillaging, rapine, ransacking, spoiling, piracy, embezzlement, thieving, booty, depredation, conquest, despoiling, desolation, capture, seizure, sacking, looting, and robbery. It is hoped that presentations will trace some of the ways in which "plunder" has served as an historical actant, "making things happen" (for good or ill) that could not be anticipated in advance and which (somewhat and somehow) escapes full human control.
- Kathleen E. Kennedy, "The Wycliffite Bible as Foxe's Furta Sacra"
- David M. Perry, "Venetian Vectors of Plunder"
- Anna Klosowska, "The Math of Longing"
- Susan Nakley, "Chaos and Noble Designs, or, Blunder then Plunder?"
- Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman, "Plundering History: Fraternal Organizations and the Middle Ages"
Then, with chaos and blunders encircling my head, / Let me ponder.
~ Oliver Goldsmith, "Retaliation 21"
This session features short presentations that explore medieval texts and other artifacts, and/or any aspect of scholarship on the Middle Ages, that engage, practically and theoretically, consciously or unconsciously, in blunder and blundering -- defined as confusion, bewilderment, trouble, disturbance, clamour, discomfiture, turmoil, mistakes, stupidity, carelessness, bumbling, errancy, confounding, foolishness, foiling, stumbling, perturbing, mayhem, fracas, and noise. It is hoped that presentations will trace some of the ways in which "blunder" has served as an historical actant, "making things happen" (for good or ill) that could not be anticipated in advance and which (somewhat and somehow) escapes full human control.
- Mary Kate Hurley, "Blundering at the End in Beowulf"
- M.W. Bychowski, "The Fruit of Failure"
- Nancy F. Thompson + Maggie Williams, "Speculations"
- David Hadbawnik, "Scribal Blunders, Poetic Wonders: Reports from a Modern-Day Scribe"
- Marianne Bleeke + Anne F. Harris, "Slices and Splices"
- Asa Simon Mittman + Shyama Rajendran, "Failblog/Fumblr"