Sunday, May 05, 2013

Now, Kalamazoo Voyager!


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
@Bell's Brewery
*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"
Saturday, May 11th @10:00 am, Fetzer 1005

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
Saturday, May 11th @1:30 pm, Bernhard 158

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"
Saturday, May 11th @3:30 pm, Bernhard 158

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"
Don't forget to also pack your crowns:


Chris said...

I suspect some ITMers will want to catch:

165, Th 7:30, Fetzer 2020: "Productive Anachronism?: the Promise and Peril of Historical Analogy in the Study of Medieval Culture

In the twentieth century, a rift developed between communities of historians who approached the past by physically recreating circumstances and practices and the more institutionally sanctioned world of (largely textual) scholarship. As a result, historical analogy has become associated with amateurism, an over-enthusiastic application of free association, and a tendency to distort the past it meant to recover. But to discard historical analogy—to posit the alterity of the past as absolute—is to lose a valuable tool, and moreover to efface the inevitability of accessing the past through comparisons with our own experience. Medievalists have been at the forefront of efforts to reconsider the analogy as a theoretical model, a scholarly tool, and a hermeneutic. In the twenty-first century, work on "queer temporalities" and "digital medievalism" has suggested a new importance for analogy as the basis of creative and rigorous work in medieval studies. As Caroline Walker Bynum writes, "It is not only possible, it is imperative to use modern concerns when we confront the past. So long as we reason by analogy rather than merely rewriting or rejecting, the present will help us see past complexity and the past will help us to understand ourselves.") In this light, analogy may, in fact, be the only possible way of responsibly approaching the past.

"Fruits and Flowers for Pedagogical Thieves", Alex Mueller; "Anachronism as Responsible Pedagogy", Richard H. Godden; "Analogy, Textuality, and Materiality in the Medieval Studies Classroom", Robin Wharton and Alison Valk; "Can Scholarship Be Set in Time?", Roland Betancourt; "“The Medieval Fan?”: Using Analogy, Managing Anachronism", Anna Wilson.

I suspect fewer ITMers will want to go to session 92, Thursday 10am, Bernhard 204, to see "Linguistic Contact(s) in Medieval Iberia I"—but if they do, they will get to hear me talking about the letter X and queer modes of reading.

Nancy Ross said...

Rogue art history session at Saturday, May 11 at 10 AM in the Bernhard Center, room 212. We will be recording for Smarthistory. For more details, go to

Anonymous said...

Anything at Leeds?

ASM said...

Many ITM readers and Babel-ers would be interested in the Material Collective session:

Time and the Medieval Object
Session 459 Bernhard 204
Sponsor: Material Collective
Organizer: Gerry Guest, John Carroll Univ., and Maggie Williams, William Patterson Univ.
Presider: Karen Overbey, Tufts Univ.

Ductus and Duration: Physical and Sensory Engagement with Medieval Objects
Beth Williamson, Univ. of Bristol

Integrated Pasts: Glencairn Museum and Hammond Castle
Jennifer Borland, Oklahoma State Univ., and Martha Easton, Seton Hall Univ.

Dress You Up in My Angst: Clothing in Medieval Depictions of the Past and the Problem of Historical Distance
Brendan Sullivan, Institute of Fine Arts, New York Univ.

The Still Lives of Medieval Objects
Benjamin C. Tilghman, Lawrence Univ.

Respondent: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico

ASM said...

Some might also be interested in MEARCSTAPA's two sessions:

Monsters I: Haunting the Middle Ages
Session 282 Schneider 1360
Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico, and Sarah Alison Miller, Duquesne Univ.
Presider: Thea Cervone, Univ. of Southern California

The Mysterious Case of the Ghost Who Was Not There
Amy Amendt-Raduege, Whatcom Community College

Kinship with Ghosts: The Reappearing Dead and Purgatory in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
Caitlin Saraphis, Univ. of North Carolina–Greensboro

Mere Dead Things: Transi Tombs, Lollards, and the Haunting of Sculpture
Marian Bleeke, Cleveland State Univ.


Monsters II: Down to the skin: Images of Flaying in the Middle Ages
Session 340 Schneider 1360
Organizer: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.–Chico, and Larissa Tracy, Longwood Univ.
Presider: Larissa Tracy

A Window for the Pain: Surface, Interiority, and Christ’s Flagellated Skin in Late Medieval Sculpture
Peter Dent, Univ. of Bristol

Getting under Your Skin: The Monstrous Subdermal
Derek Newman-Stille, Trent Univ.

The Flaying of Saint Bartholomew and the Rhetoric of the Flesh in the Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry
Sherry C. M. Lindquist, Western Illinois Univ.

English Cycle Passion Plays
Valerie Gramling, Univ. of Massachusetts–Amherst

Alex Mueller said...

Thank, Chris, for plugging our session! And I'm fairly sure that some of these participants have been involved in BABEL sessions in the past. In any case, it's true that the spirit of the panel suits the readership of this blog.

medievalkarl said...

And I'm okay if everyone goes to the Sat 10am Babel session instead of Session 386 in Schneider 1245:

Human-Animal Transformations
Sponsor: Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, St. Louis Univ.

Organizer: Ashley R. Nolan, St. Louis Univ.

Presider: Ashley R. Nolan

"Transformative Mischief in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale"
Laura Wang, Harvard Univ.

"Chaucer’s Ass: The Role of Animals as Instructors and Forewarners in Select Canterbury Tales"
Francis Tobienne, Jr., Univ. of South Florida–St. Petersburg

"Feeding the Dogs"
Karl Steel, Brooklyn College, CUNY


look for my paper on this blog probably...tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

so does that mean you all will be at karaoke night? I may well have to show up!

Rick Godden said...

Too much to go to! And, thanks for posting the Productive Anachronisms panel in the comments, Chris.