We also had a well attended business meeting, and doubled the number of attendees from last year. The Society is also pleased to report that it has engaged in discussions with other academic societies in in effort to co-sponsor sessions for future conferences.
For 2010, we are co-sponsoring a set of round tables with the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain:
Recognizing that a hero is nothing without his or her opposite, the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain was founded in 2009 to foster further investigation into the various antagonists and antiheroes of the multimedia Matter of Britain. Characters, such as Agravain, the Green Knight, Mark of Cornwall, Meleagant, Mordred, Morgan le Fay, and Morgause, serve an important function in the stories of King Arthur and his associated cast of nobles, knights, damsels, and mages. By challenging the heroes of the Arthurian tradition, Arthurian villains enact a vital role as agents of conflict who initiate narratives that enable Arthurian heroes to attain renown and achieve their destinies, however the contributions of these malefactors to the Arthurian legend remains largely unexplored, both by scholars and creative artists, in contrast to the wealth of material that has been devoted to the protagonists of this tradition.
It is the intent of the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain to offer an annual themed panel or set of panels each year at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, which convenes each May at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and additional sessions at other related conferences. Panel presentations will focus on the treatment of a specific character or linked characters and explore their activities as represented in texts produced from the medieval era to the present in the interests of producing a companion and comprehensive bibliography, comparable to Routledge’s Arthurian Characters and Themes series, devoted to each of the major Arthurian villains or themed collections addressing the representation of Arthurian villains, both major and minor, in select media.
Michael A. Torregrossa
7 May 2009
For 2011, we will be co-sponsoring a set of panels (and perhaps a film showing) with Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application (MEARCSTAPA):
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application) Mission Statement
MEARCSTAPA is an organization committed to the scholarly examination of monstrosity as an area of social and cultural interest to past and present societies. Our inter/trans/post/pre-disciplinary approach allows us to explore the significance of monstrosity across cultural, temporal, and geographic boundaries. We are interested in a multivalent approach using materials on monsters and monstrosity from literary, artistic, philosophical, and historical sources.
The term "Mearcstapa" not only evokes the Grendelkin, perhaps the standard bearers for medieval monstrosity, but also describes the role of Monster Studies within (or outside of) "traditional" academics. Those who study monstrosity take on the role of Border-Walkers, broaching numerous traditional academic divides.
We recognize that human societies reveal a great deal about themselves in the monsters they create, and that the monstrous can be a mechanism for expressing social issues, interests, anxieties, and ideologies.
Our membership is international and is composed of scholars from a wide variety of academic disciplines including, but not limited to, Medieval Studies, English Literature, French Literature, Cultural Studies, History, Ancient History and Classics, Celtic Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Disability Studies, Gender Studies, Folklore Studies, and Art History.
MEARCSTAPA was established in May, 2008 for the purpose of providing a forum for discussion about monstrosity in various media.
Further details will be posted to the blog as they become available.