The call for papers for the 2012 congress (due 8/1/11) has also been posted, and I attach the definition of the "Medivalism and Reception of the Middle Ages" strand in the hopes that we can revive interest in the area:
Strand Definitions: Medievalism and Reception of the Middle Ages
The study of what could be called the Afterlife of the Middle Ages has been increasingly productive in the past two decades, whether under the title of 'medievalism,' 'reception of the Middle Ages,' or Mittelalterrezeption. Scholars increasingly recognise that alongside research into medieval texts and artefacts themselves, the study of the ways in which the Middle Ages have been constructed and reinvented in the post-medieval centuries is crucial to an understanding of the medieval period. All eras are subject to reinvention - there are neo-Victorianisms as well as neo-classicisms and neo-medievalisms. But it can be argued that the reinvention of the Middle Ages has been culturally more significant in the past two centuries (at least) than that of any other period. The positioning of the Middle Ages as the despised 'other' in the sixteenth century, followed by the period's refashioning as a time of pastoral innocence in the era of industrialism, has meant that we inherit today a complex but conflicted and contradictory notion of the medieval.
This strand is open to papers on all aspects of this process. These can focus on popular-cultural manifestations (film, television, novel, music, art, architecture, social practice) or on the history and development of disciplines within medieval studies. Methodologically, discussions in this strand are interested in the problem raised by disciplinary history: why do we accept some scholarship from the past as part of the discipline's necessary pre-history, and reject the rest as the epiphenomenon, "medievalism"? What is at stake when such exclusions are made? How does disciplinary history matter to us today?
Here are the session links for 2011:
Exploring the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages: The Reception of Medievalisms in Contemporary Pop Culture [Session No: 704]
Medieval Saints and Post-Reformation Identities [Session No: 830]
Medievalism: Rulers and Outcasts of the Middle Ages in Modern Culture, 1500-2011 [Session No: 1020]
Re-Creating the Middle Ages in Modern Times [Session No: 804]
The following seemed of especial interest:
Title Exploring the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages: The Reception of Medievalisms in Contemporary Pop Culture
Date/Time Tuesday 12 July 2011: 14.15-15.45
Sponsor Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages
Organiser Paul Sturtevant, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Moderator/Chair Zsuzsanna Reed Papp, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 704-a 'You're marrying me because of that! But that's… that's archaic… medieval…': Negotiating Female Agency of Text and Reader in the Use of the Medieval in Contemporary Sheikh Mills & Boon Romance
Amy Burge, Centre for Women's Studies, University of York
Paper 704-b 'What's Wrong With You Christians?': Representations of Christianity in Contemporary Cinematic Depictions of Late Antiquity
Adam Gutteridge, Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, University of York
Paper 704-c 'You don't think of them as civilised': Contemporary British Perceptions of the Muslim 'Other' before and after Watching Kingdom of Heaven
Paul Sturtevant, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Abstract The public encounters medieval narratives in the media every day. Though the media is not normally a sanctioned educator, educational and communications research has proven that the media can hold significant pedagogical power, not only to influence what people think, but how. This panel offers three perspectives on the interpretation of the medieval world in contemporary popular culture, with a particular focus on how these pieces of popular medievalism interact with, and potentially influence, how the public understands the medieval world.
Title Re-Creating the Middle Ages in Modern Times
Date/Time Tuesday 12 July 2011: 16.30-18.00
Organiser IMC Programming Committee
Moderator/Chair Siegrid Schmidt, Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien, Universität Salzburg
Paper 804-a Homelessness and Vagrancy in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: Conceptualising the 'Other'?
Julie Pridmore, Unisa Medieval Association, University of South Africa, Pretoria
Paper 804-b Pucelle, Puzzel, or Puzzle?: Shakespeare's Elizabethan Joan of Arc
Dianne E. Berg, Tufts University, Massachusetts
Paper 804-c Re-Creating the Middle Ages: Writing Techniques in Modern Fiction
Gillian Polack, English & Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia
Abstract Paper -a:
This paper will examine the attitudes towards stability and wandering expressed by JRR Tolkien in his epic text The Lord of the Rings. I will investigate how the concepts are applied to the chief protagonists of the narrative as they move through various stages of the quest cycle. A key theme will be Tolkien's use of language to illustrate the ideas of homelessness and vagrancy as this applies to both 'heroes' and 'others'. The paper will include an examination of the way in which 'other' races are portrayed in both stable and wandering environments in relation to the travelling protagonists of the main narrative. I will also investigate the idea put forward by some scholars that homelessness is necessary for the completion of the quest.
This paper examines Shakespeare's portrayal of the cross-dressing Joan of Arc as a lens through which Elizabethan anxieties about England's 'mannish' queen were refracted. Through his characterization of la Pucelle - another putative virgin wielding power in a man's world—Shakespeare could 'hold the mirror up to [the] nature' of his nation's central, defining paradox within the context of the playhouse. By interrogating the influence of Elizabeth's ambiguous persona on Shakespeare's portrait of another powerful, transgressive female, I explore how this Early Modern appropriation of a medieval French peasant addressed contemporary English concerns about gender roles, political power, and cultural identity.
This paper examines specific techniques used by modern fantasy and historical fiction writers (Willis, Uttley, Chadwick, Pulman) to situate their work in the Middle Ages and examines how particular techniques create an effective sense of the past, including use of concrete examples and evocation of nostalgia. It will also discuss how each technique assists the reader to draw on their own understanding of the period and how, in the end, these techniques present an interpretation of the Middle Ages for the reader and provide them with a framework for historical understanding that can, at times, conflict with the frameworks used by specialist historians.
Title Medievalism: Rulers and Outcasts of the Middle Ages in Modern Culture, 1500-2011
Date/Time Wednesday 13 July 2011: 09.00-10.30
Sponsor Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien, Universität Salzburg
Organiser Siegrid Schmidt, Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien, Universität Salzburg
Moderator/Chair Ursula Bieber, Institut für Slawistik, Universität Salzburg
Paper 1020-a Die Herzesser: A Special Form of a Witch
Christa Agnes Tuczay, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Wien / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaft, Wien
Paper 1020-b The Many Faces of Margarete 'Maultasch', Countess of Tyrol, 1318-1369
Manuel Schwembacher, Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien, Universität Salzburg
Paper 1020-c Medieval Rulers in Japanese Medieval Studies
So Shitanda, Faculty of Philology, Ivan Franko National University of L'viv, L'viv
Paper 1020-d Medieval Ruler of the Middle Ages in Fine Art, 15th-21st Centuries
Irma Trattner, Kunstuniversität Linz / Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien, Universität Salzburg
Abstract There are a lot of very different figures of Medieval Literatures who are fascinating still nowadays. On the one hand the bright, rich, and wellminded rulers appear in literature, painting and other areas of cultures as ideal rulers. On the other hand bad human figures as 'Black Knights' and witches or biests play an important role in various genres of novels, children's literature and also in fine art. The paper of this session will demonstrate that those phenomena can be found in various countries and cultures.