I very much want to jump into all of the conversations regarding the recent discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, but I also wanted to offer a sneak preview of Wiley-Blackwell Publishers' upcoming virtual [and entirely free of charge] interdisciplinary conference, "Breaking Down Barriers," which promises to comprise the largest meeting ever of scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and which will run online from October 19th through 30th. The conference aims to cut across academic boundaries – within and between disciplines, between theory and practice, approaches and methodologies by providing a space for multi- and cross-disciplinary review. Papers will tackle one or more of the following sub-themes:
• ParadigmsI myself will be presenting a keynote address relative to the thread of Justice and Human Rights: "Reading Beowulf in the Rubble of Grozny: Pre/modern, Post/human, and the Question of Being-Together," and other keynote speakers include scholars from social psychology, history, philosophy, linguistics, and physical geography. In addition, there are quite a few papers by medievalists in areas such as disability and waste studies.
• The Environment/Energy
• Justice/Human Rights
Registration for the conference is entirely free at this website and registered delegates will be able to access all papers, keynote addresses and publishing workshops for free. Delegates will also be able to discuss all content and participate in the debates. Currently there are over 700 registered delegates from the U.S., U.K., South America, Canada, Australia, China, Egypt, Germany, Bosnia, India, Iran, Israel, Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Pakistan, the Netherlands, and many other countries. I see this as a timely opportunity for medievalists to enter into an invigorating global dialogue and debate with scholars in multiple disciplines in the humanities and social sciences who are concerned with pressing contemporary issues to which premodern studies offer critical resources for reflection.
The conference organizers are already offering sneak peeks at a wide variety of papers to be presented, and if you follow this link to the conference's website, you can see there some of those, such as the medievalist Wendy Turner's paper, "Human Rights, Royal Rights, and the Mentally Disabled in Late Medieval England," and other papers that promise fascinating discussions that touch upon subjects that have vexed and concerned us here at In The Middle, such as Adam Brown's [Deakin University] paper, "Beyond 'Good' and 'Evil': Breaking Down Binary Oppositions in Holocaust Representations of 'Privileged' Jews," as well as Daniel Wasserman Soler's [University of Virginia] "Language and Communication in the Spanish Conquest of America."
There will also be an ongoing set of informal conversations between keynote speakers and conference delegates at a cocktail bar in Second Life, which you can see more about here. So, perhaps I will "see" you there. Cheers.