Friday, August 08, 2008

Around the blogosphere

by J J Cohen

Stephanie Trigg on Lauren Berlant's blog, Bioephemera on the Lego repair of Roman mortice, Nic D'Alessio on that Baswell paper we've all been talking about, Dr Virago with much better castle pics than the ones I posted, and Dr Nokes on the pleasures have your offpsring return to the pedagogy machine.

Now why are you hanging around at this post when you should be commenting on this one?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Nic D'Alessio's summary of Baswell's paper and of the gender/sexuality panels at NCS. It is probably true that Baswell's intervention will be hailed as some sort of watershed/field-inaugurating moment but I'd point out that med-crip studies has been around for a while now. In 2004 at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds I organized a roundtable discussion entitled Cripping the Middle Ages which convened around the potential intersections between crip theory (then pretty newly emergent and mostly associated with Robert McRuer's brilliant work) and queer theory. There were some really smart papers at a poorly attended session in an inaccessible room. Since then myself and Cory Rushton have organized a couple of panels at Leeds on medieval disability. Cory is currently editing a collection on medieval disability and the law which in many ways will make some of those Leeds conversations available in print for the first time. Irina Metzler's book on medieval disability published by Routledge is a magisterial text which rarely gets the attention it deserves. I hope the published version of Baswell's paper will acknowledge the work that is already out there and work which has been significantly influential upon med-crip studies--I'm thinking of JJC's Medieval Identity Machines here--without being recognized as such.


Nic D'Alessio said...

Annon: Thanks for your comment here, and I'd be very happy to have you comment in similar fashion on my own blog. Thanks also for the bibliographic references. I'm especially interested because, as I mentioned in a recent post, I'm assembling a bibliography and entry on the state of queer medieval studies for a forthcoming handbook. Please do comment when you have the chance. Thanks!

Jeffrey Cohen said...

MOR knows this already, because we've emailed on the topic, but I want to make clear here once again: the Baswell paper will (I predict) be remembered as the moment when disability studies entered medieval studies in a major way, because a major name in the field gave an affecting (and very smart) presentation and also powerfully claimed a public identity.

Now the problem with such a clouds-part-and-sunbeam-descends Event is that it can make it seem like disability studies arrived in medieval studies ex nihilo, that its history begins at NCS Swansea 2008. Readers of this blog -- and attendees of Kalamazoo and Leeds, and readers of Irina Metzler's book -- know that many medievalists have been working long and hard in the field already, and that it is already a VERY diverse one (Michael O'Rourke's crip theory version is different from the kind of history of "actual diabled bodies" Greg Carrier so well articulated here at ITM). That diversity was not indicated in Baswell's paper -- which cited only Ed Wheatley and some forthcoming work. Admittedly, it was a VERY short plenary -- 15 minutes! -- and there is only so much groundwork you can do under that kind of time constraint.

Christopher Baswell is an extremely careful, thorough scholar ... so I would be surprised indeed if the published version of his talk doesn't have a much fuller account of disability studies within medieval studies.