Friday, June 19, 2015

Kalamazoo 2016 News

The Society has submitted a proposal for a roundtable devoted to the topic of Medieval Studies on screen. Further details will be posted later in the summer at the Medieval Studies on Screen site at

Michael A. Torregrossa
Co-Founder, The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages

CFP: “The Ballad of the Lone Medievalist” (collection) (7/31/15)

A worthwhile effort:

CFP: “The Ballad of the Lone Medievalist”

Contributions of any style and various lengths welcome!

For many medievalists who have had the good fortune to find jobs in academe, the professional reality is that we are unlikely to be surrounded by colleagues who share our areas of expertise and interest. In most cases, a department will hire only a single medieval specialist – and may be hard-pressed to convince administrations or hiring committees to approve even that one. Those lucky few who find a tenure-track position will then spend years explaining their work to colleagues, chairs, grant committees, and eventually tenure reviewers who know little about the work we do; others, in non-tenure or adjunct positions, must decide whether maintaining an interest in medieval studies is wise or even possible as the entry-level-course teaching load piles up. While the advent of digital technologies has brought us the possibility of closer contact and greater collaboration with our fellow medievalists, our resource access, scholarly profile, teaching opportunities, tenure cases, and other facets of our professional lives can be affected by our lack of numbers and by questions about the nature and value of what we do.

This collection, as the title suggests, will address the realities of professional engagement, curriculum planning, and reappointment and tenure cases as the “lone medievalist” in a department or institution. We are interested in almost any style of submission that is concerned in a meaningful and productive way with the topic of “the lone medievalist.” This will not be a collection bewailing the state of medieval studies in small institutions. Rather, we envision a collection offering camaraderie, suggestions, resolution, and advice, while simultaneously creating a snapshot of the current state of Medieval Studies as it manifests itself through the careers and daily work of medievalist academics. We intend it to be forward-thinking and revitalizing as well as helpful to those of us in these positions.

Send proposals (do not have to be too long or formal – around 100-200 words to give us a good sense of your idea) either through Facebook messaging or to the email addresses: and We are looking for a combination of anecdotes, stories, longer essays, manifestos, and advice – various lengths, any style. We do recommend 1000-5000 words (longer will be considered as well) or the equivalent (e.g. a photographic essay or a collection of documents). We anticipate a quick turnaround on this, so let’s get moving! The initial deadline for proposals will be July 31, 2015. The initial deadline for contributions is scheduled for October 31, 2015.

CFP Shakespeare after Shakespeare (conference) (6/25/15; Paris 1/21-23/16)

CFP Shakespeare after Shakespeare
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

French Shakespeare Society 2016 Conference Paris, 21-23 January 2016

 On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Société Française Shakespeare is dedicating its annual conference to “Shakespeare after Shakespeare”. The conference will be the occasion for academics, theater, performance and arts practitioners to discuss the playwright’s long-lasting legacy. We welcome proposals (in English or in French) on topics such as:

  • Shakespearean adaptations and appropriations from the 17th to the 21st century in print, in paintings, on stage, or in the media, new and old (radio, film, television, comics, Internet…) 
  • The posthumous reputation and portrayals of Shakespeare: how has ‘Shakespeare’ been portrayed after his death? 
  • The issue of serial writing and directing: dramatic links from one play to the next; productions presented as sequels or prequels. 
  • Dramatic and poetic aesthetics after Shakespeare: what does it mean to write poetry or drama after Shakespeare? 
  • Recapturing the ‘original’ Shakespeare post-facto: his work, the creative process, the publishing process, the staging and pronunciation of his plays… 
  • Studying Shakespeare’s works from the viewpoint of contemporary theories of language and literature: how does Shakespeare help us to create new concepts or review old ones? 

Selected proceedings will be published in the Société Française Shakespeare’s peer-reviewed online journal:

Please send proposals by June 25, 2015 to Proposals should include a title, an abstract (750-word max.), and a short bio.

CFP Shakespeare and Our Times (conference) (8/15/15; Norfolk, VA 4/14-16/15)

CFP: "Shakespeare and Our Times" 14-16 April 2016
Tuesday, May 05, 2015

An interdisciplinary, international conference on the significance of Shakespeare in the early twenty-first century

April 14-16, 2016
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.

What does William Shakespeare mean to us today, and what traces of his thinking can still be seen in our lives? In the context of a week-long, multi-faceted investigation of Shakespeare’s continued presence in our cultural landscape, this three-day conference will probe contemporary manifestations of the Bard. To mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death we will seek his footprint as we question the legacy of the early colonial mindset in the twenty-first century. Why does this figure among all others endure so persistently? At stake are questions of global imperialism and how it intersects with race, ethnicity, gender, and Shakespeare’s extended influence in what were, for him, newly-emerging colonial locales. How, then, is Shakespeare performed, translated, analysed today?

Abstracts and panel proposals welcome on these and other topics:

Shakespeare and Popular Culture
Shakespeare and Time
Gender/Sexuality in Shakespeare
Shakespeare and the Idea of the Posthuman
Shakespeare’s Cities
Shakespeare and International Relations
Shakespeare and the Sciences
Why Shakespeare? Shakespeare for Whom?
Shakespeare and Disaster Management
Shakespeare and Contemporary Censorship
Translating Shakespeare
The Rhetoric of Shakespeare
Shakespeare and America, Shakespeare in America
Shakespeare’s Music
Staging Shakespeare, Filming Shakespeare Now
Shakespeare and Language
Material Shakespeare
Theorizing Shakespeare in the Twenty-First century
Shakespeare and Twenty-First Century Public Learning

250-word abstracts for individual 20-minute papers, or 3-paper panel sessions can be submitted at by August 15, 2015. Advanced graduate students welcome to apply.

Inquiries about the conference can be sent to:

Dr. Imtiaz Habib
Dr. Delores Phillips
Dr. Drew Lopenzina or
Dr. Liz Black

Full conference and event brochure:

CFP Reception of Renaissance in Contemporary Culture (conference) (7/1/15; Paris 4/1-2/16)

Of potential interest. (Please note the original call was all one block of text; I have attempted to break it apart as best as possible.):

CFP: Imaginary Renaissance: The Reception of Renaissance in Contemporary Culture
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Imaginary Renaissance: The Reception of Renaissance in Contemporary Culture International conference Paris, EPHE/Rouen, 1st-2nd April 2016 Organizing committee: Mélanie Bost-Fievet (EPHE), Perrine Galand (EPHE), Louise Katz (CNRS) and Sandra Provini (Université de Rouen) Scientific committee: Anne Besson (Maître de conférences HDR à l’université d’Artois), Véronique Gély (Professeur à l’université Paris-Sorbonne), Daniele Maira (Professeur à l’université de Göttingen), Gérard Milhe Poutingon (Professeur à l’université de Rouen), Jean-Charles Monferran (Professeur à l’université de Strasbourg), Isabelle Pantin (Professeur à l’École Normale Supérieure), Stéphane Rolet (Maître de conférences à l’université Paris 8), Jean Vignes (Professeur à l’université Paris-Diderot)

Reception studies, today a growing research field in France, have largely addressed the presence of the Middle Ages and, more recently, of classical Antiquity in the 20th and 21st centuries , while paying increasing attention to the fantastika and contemporary popular culture. The 2012 conference on « The Influence of Greek and Latin Antiquity in Contemporary Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works » has shed light on the complex levels of rewriting, quoting and (mis)appropriation at play, and the fertility of classical myths and patterns in the elaboration of secondary worlds; it also highlighted the role of the Renaissance as a crucial turning-point in the reception of classical Antiquity in the 20th and 21st centuries.

However, this time period, from early Quattrocento to late 16th-century, has not yet received, in France at least, all the attention it seemingly deserves, as is the case for English-speaking scholars and the British Renaissance . Indeed, the very idea of reception is at the core of the Renaissance, since many humanists and artists used to comment, imitate, or reinvent the classical and medieval texts, creations and concepts. A great many works have been dedicated to classical reception in the Renaissance, and highlighted the period as a model for the use of ancient material and sources in the creation process. Yet little attention has been paid to the manner in which the works, men and ideas of the Renaissance may have informed our contemporary imagination , and the 20th- and 21st-century creations may have appropriated this material . The reception of the Renaissance in the 19th century is far better known, and was recently furthered , while the early 20th century was, sometimes, addressed . There has also been some interest for the reception of this or that ‘great’ author, in a wider, diachronic perspective: one might mention Rabelais, Ronsard, Montaigne or d’Aubigné, as well as, last but not least, Shakespeare and Cervantès, each of whom was the topic of monographs and collective volumes. Still, the attention has been focused on the 19th century , which appears as a major milestone in the contemporary reception of the Renaissance. This reception in the past fifty years is what we wish to address, with particular interest for popular works and culture, in order to delineate its specificities.

  • Which events have weighed the most on our collective imagination? 
  • Are there national particularities in this field of influence? 
  • What is the fate of humanism in modern representations, and how do we perceive its purpose in European history? 

In order to answer these questions, we shall take into consideration a wide array of creations: literature, particularly genre literature (science-fiction, fantasy and the fantastika, mysteries and thrillers, romance) and best-sellers; comics and graphic novels; cinema; television series; board, role-playing and video games. Three topics seem to be of particular relevance: - the reception of European Renaissance literature. We will address actualizing approaches, literary rewritings and on-screen transpositions of the period’s works – without solely considering the most widely-adapted author of all, Shakespeare.

We shall ask ourselves which kind of imitation is found among contemporary authors: a patient, precise contamination of particular sources (like the futuristic retelling of Tasso’s Jerusalem delivered in François Baranger’s Dominium mundi), which might lead to detailed, hypertextual analyses ; the transposition of ‘transfictional’ characters into new worlds (such as Prospero and Caliban in Simmons’s Olympos); or the reference to cultural elements made into universal myths, which have become separated from their time and frame of invention (Romeo and Juliet, from science-fiction to musicals).

We shall also examine the new editions and commentaries which exploit Renaissance works to serve new causes: the Satire Ménippée, during the French Revolution and the Third Republic, or La Boétie’s Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, which had frequent reprints in Europe, in times of revolution and war.

We will also wonder how the works of More, Machiavel or La Boétie might have influenced the currently fashionable dystopias. Some attention will also be paid to the biographical fictions and biopics dedicated to writers (Rabelais, Montaigne, Marie de Gournay…) as well as the contemporary readings of humanistic works, considered as ‘sources’ for the moderns (Stefan Zweig, Michel Butor, Milan Kundera, Carlos Fuentes, Antoine Compagnon).

Finally, we wish to examine the fate of the Renaissance language, with which many French writers have felt a keen affinity, and of the word-plays that appear as specific to the period (in the works of Aragon, the OuLiPo or Robert Merle’s Fortune de France). The English-speaking world, too, will not be forgotten: Shakespeare’s language has given rise to numerous literary experimentations, such as Ian Doescher’s rewriting of the two Star Wars trilogies in the manner of the Bard. - the reception of visual arts, performance arts, and symbolic imagery.

We wish to question our memory of Renaissance works of art, for which the public interest is still quite keen, as witnessed by the high frequentation of expositions as well as the many advertising boards that refer to Renaissance pictures; movie directors, too, borrow from composition or lightning devices that are immediately recognizable as characteristic from the period. This lasting influence of Renaissance imagery also transpires in pastiches (Bruegel is visually quoted in Astérix) and creative (mis)appropriations (Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q.).

We also wish to examine the manner in which Renaissance painting, especially the Italian and Dutch traditions, has fostered modern fantasies, as illustrated by the many mysteries and thrillers that dwell on the assumed enigmas of these works (Dan Brown, Iain Pears, Arturo Pérez-Reverte). Many fictions also re-imagine the lives of painters and the conditions that prevailed when they created their works (Sophie Chauveau, Jean Diwo, Tracy Chevalier); some figures even become shrouded in quasi-mystical theories, like Leonardo da Vinci. Furthermore, we shall examine the fate of other artistic forms, such as theatre, dance and music, as well as the endeavors of certain companies or music ensembles to broaden their diffusion (Ris et danceries, Doulce Mémoire).

We will also ponder on the way in which some instrumental techniques are re-visited (lute-playing in Sting’s album), and Renaissance verse is put into song. We may, finally, address the reception of a more diffused symbolic imagery, which becomes especially visible in the building of secondary worlds: urban landscapes (one might remember Jaworski’s Ciudalia or Scott Lynch’s city of Camorr, both reminiscent of Venise or Genoa in the Renaissance); sacred and occult practices (around the arts of alchemy, in Yourcenar’s The Abyss, or the character of Nostradamus); plot theories; the world of parties, masquerades and carnival; the rediscovery of a lost or unknown past. - the reception of historical events, scientific inventions, and the great discoveries.

We will assess, in the representation of historical events or characters, the share of fantasy, deliberate anachronism, and care for veracity. Thus, we will study the way in which the Reform and Religion wars are present in collective memory, while often being re-read through the prism of contemporary events (the war in Bosnia, for example, in Chéreau’s rendering of the Saint-Barthélémy in Queen Margot).

We will also study the still-vivid legends surrounding some dynasties, such as the Borgias (who have inspired countless plays and novels, from Hugo and Dumas to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Mario Puzo, and two modern TV series, The Borgias and Borgia), the Tudors (in its namesake TV series, as well as the many novelizations and movie adaptations of the life of Elizabeth the 1st), or the last of the Valois (in Jean Teulé’s Charly 9, to mention only the most recent title inspired by this family). It seems important, in particular, to revisit the genesis of the legends around these characters, and to mention the 19th-century works which settled their characteristics in contemporary imagination: historians have demonstrated how the ‘légende noire’ of the Valois, still vivid in popular culture, should be largely disproved in scholarly approaches. The women in particular, from Lucrezia Borgia to queen Margot or the ‘black’ queen Catherine de’Medici, fall victims to stubborn clichés, which paint them as courtesans or witches, while literary history has long been silent about the works of the greatest women writers of the Renaissance.

We will also wonder how our contemporary imagination was imprinted by the great discoveries: that of the New world (in Rufin’s novel Brazil Red, Malick’s film The New World or the TV show The Mysterious Cities of Gold), Copernic’s revolution and Galileo’s works, or the invention of the printing press (for example in Anne Cunéo’s Le Maître de Garamond). We shall question how they resonate with today’s post-modern epistemological and technological changes (world globalization, numeric revolution…).

We may, finally, examine the concern for historical realism in the conception of settings and costumes, in cinema (Tavernier’s Princess of Montpensier) as well as the videogame industry (Assassin’s Creed 2).

By exploring all these leads, we hope to draw the first draft of a map delineating our collective memory of the Renaissance. Therefore, we wish to study the Renaissance as a myth, with its heroes and (oft-forgotten) heroines, its places of predilection, a myth which was built and transmitted by generations of scholars as well as artists, novelists, directors, who have passed on some topical representations as well as constantly reinvented the period. In order to better define this ‘imaginary Renaissance’ in contemporary culture, our conference, with a firmly interdisciplinary approach, will bring together academic contributions and exchanges with writers and creators, who will be invited to reflect upon their practices and relationship to the Renaissance. It is opened to specialists of the Renaissance with an interest in its contemporary reception, as well as specialists of comparative literature, 20th- and 21st-century literature, art history and the performing arts.

Paper proposals, presented as abstracts no longer than one page, should be sent to the organizers along with a short bio-bibliography, before July 1st, 2015, to the following address:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Call for Submissions for Teaching Medieval and Renaissance Literature (11/25/15)

Teaching Medieval and Renaissance Literature
full name / name of organization:
This Rough Magic /
contact email:

This Rough Magic ( is a journal dedicated to the art of teaching Medieval and Renaissance Literature.

We are seeking academic, teachable articles that focus on, but are not limited to, the following categories:

•Genre Issues
•Narrative Structure
•Philosophy and Rhetoric

We also seek short essays that encourage faculty to try overlooked, non-traditional texts inside the classroom and book reviews.

Submission deadline for our upcoming December issue is currently November 25, 2015. Veteran faculty and graduate students are encouraged to submit.

For more information, please visit our website:

By web submission at 06/01/2015 - 21:47

SMART for Spring 2015

The latest number (22.1) of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching is now available. It can be ordered online at

The Spring 2015 issue of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching features an exciting collection of articles on innovative approaches to teaching Chaucer—who, for some, is easily seductive, for others, not so captivating. Although there are a number of excellent resources available to instructors, few of them offer much in the way of specific assignments or activities. The seven essays offered in this collection are presented to assist both the expert and the beginning teacher with a variety of novel pedagogical methods for helping students appreciate Chaucer and for helping educators reinvigorate their teaching methods.

This issue also includes three equally appealing diverse papers:  covering the daily life of pre-modern people in history courses, teaching with Twitter, and moving between vernacular verse and Latin prose in a seminar on Troilus and Criseyde. Six book reviews round out the volume.

(collection guest edited by Alison Langdon and David Sprunger)
ALISON LANGDON AND DAVID SPRUNGER Introduction: Innovative Approaches To Teaching Chaucer

GLENN STEINBERG Teaching Chaucer through Chaucer’s Bookshelf

CANDACE BARRINGTON Teaching Chaucer in Middle English: A Fundamental Approach

MICHAEL MURPHY Chaucer: The Text and the Teaching Text

ROBERTA MILLIKEN Using Rap Music to Teach an Appreciation of Chaucer’s Language in the British Literature Survey Class

SARAH POWRIE Lost and Found in Translation: Updating Chaucer’s Status with the Millennial Generation

REBECCA BRACKMANN To Caunterbury They Tweete: Twitter in the Chaucer Classroom

MELISSA RIDLEY ELMES Prdn Me? Text Speak, Middle English, and Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale

CHRIS CRAUN Covering the Daily Life of Pre-Modern People in History Courses

MARY C. FLANNERY Teaching with Twitter: A Medievalist’s Case Study

ARVIND THOMAS Moving between Vernacular Verse and Latin Prose in an Undergraduate Seminar on Troilus and Criseyde

STEPHEN F. EVANS Book Review: At Home in Shakespeare’s Tragedies, by Geraldo U. de Sousa

MEL STORM Book Review: The Grail, the Quest and the World of Arthur, edited by Norris J. Lacy

BARBARA HANAWALT Book Review:  Lost Londons: Change, Crime and Control in the Capital City, 1550–1660, by Paul Griffiths

DONALD WINEKE Book Review:  The Shakespeare Handbooks: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Martin White

STEPHANIE HORTON Book Review:  Greenery: Ecocritical Readings of Late Medieval English Literature, by Gillian Rudd

AMY MORRIS Book Review:  Women in Dark Age and Early Medieval Europe c. 500–1200, by Helen M. Jewell

Both spring and fall 2015 issues of SMART are included in the yearly subscription price of $25 for individuals, $30 for libraries and centers, and $30 for subscriptions outside of the United States. Prepayment is required. A subscription form can be printed by clicking on Subscription Information in the left side bar area.