Thursday, August 31, 2017

CFP Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies (proposals by 12/31/2017)

Of interest to all:

Call for Sessions and Papers

The Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies provides a convenient summer venue in North America for scholars in all disciplines to present papers, organize sessions, participate in roundtables, and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The goal of the symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation of the medieval and early modern worlds.

We invite proposals for papers, sessions, and roundtables on all topics and in all disciplines of medieval and early modern studies. Proposals from learned societies and scholarly associations are particularly welcome. The deadline for proposals submissions is December 31.

Details at

CFP Robin Hood at Kalamazoo (updated deadline 9/10/17)

Forwarded on behalf of the International Association for Robin Hood Studies:

We are extending the deadline to September 10 for IARHS abstracts for the 2018 ICMS in Kalamazoo, May 10-13.

We have two sessions that have been approved by the Congress. Both could use at least one more abstract. Please see below for descriptions of the two sessions and who to contact with abstracts and queries.

Best wishes,
Alex Kaufman

The International Association for Robin Hood Studies (IARHS) is sponsoring two sessions at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies. Please see below for session details and submission information.

  1. Multicultural, Multimedia Outlaws (Session of Papers)

The outlaw figure is a universal cross-cultural phenomenon. This session solicits papers that analyze adaptations of narratives about outlaws, whether literary or historical, male or female, from any period (medieval through contemporary), in any medium (ballad, saga, drama, novel, young adult fiction, films, television, comic books, opera, music, to name a few) from any location (Britain, Europe, America(s), Australia, Asia, ranging from the Merry Men to Icelandic outlaws, Ned Kelly, Pancho Villa, and Moll Flanders.

Please send 300-word abstracts, a brief bios, and completed Participant Information Forms to Lorraine Kochanske Stock ( by September 1, 2017.

  2. Oral Tactics of Medieval Outlaw Literature (Session of Papers)

This formal session of papers explores the modes of writing and of performance (and their interconnectedness) that exist within medieval outlaw tales. From the The Outlaw’s Song of Trailbaston to the late-medieval rhymes, plays, games, and “talkings” of Robin Hood, medieval outlaw tales are, like the medieval lyric, ad hoc, improvisatory, and situational works or literature. This session, inspired by Ingrid Nelson’s recent study Lyric Tactics, explores the ways in which the religious, societal, political, and manuscript contexts inform the genre, form, vernacular language, semantics, and voice of a medieval outlaw tale. 
Please send 300-word abstracts, a brief bios, and completed Participant Information Forms to Lesley Coote ( Alexander L. Kaufman ( by September 1, 2017.

Here is a link to the ICMS’s Participant Information Form:

Medievalists Respond to Charlottesville

Medieval Studies organizations across the United States have posted a response to recent activities in Charlottesville (details at

The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture endorses their position especially the following statements:

As scholars of the medieval world we are disturbed by the use of a nostalgic but inaccurate myth of the Middle Ages by racist movements in the United States. By using imagined medieval symbols, or names drawn from medieval terminology, they create a fantasy of a pure, white Europe that bears no relationship to reality. This fantasy not only hurts people in the present, it also distorts the past. Medieval Europe was diverse religiously, culturally, and ethnically, and medieval Europe was not the entire medieval world. Scholars disagree about the motivations of the Crusades—or, indeed, whether the idea of “crusade” is a medieval one or came later—but it is clear that racial purity was not primary among them.


Every generation of scholars creates its own interpretations of the past. Such interpretations must be judged by how well they explain the writings, art, and artifacts that have come down to us. As a field we are dedicated to scholarly inquiry. As the new semester approaches at many institutions, we invite those of you who have the opportunity to join us. Take a class or attend a public lecture on medieval history, literature, art, music. Learn about this vibrant and varied world, instead of simply being appalled by some racist caricature of it. See for yourself what lessons it holds for the modern world.

Michael A Torregrossa,
Founder, The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CFP Medievalism in Popular Culture Area (10/1/2017; PCAACA 2018)

CFP: Medievalism in Popular Culture

PCA/ACA 2018 National Conference
March 28th – 31st, 2018 – Indianapolis, Indiana

The Medievalism in Popular Culture Area (including Anglo-Saxon, Robin Hood, Arthurian, Norse, and other materials connected to medieval studies) accepts papers on all topics that explore either popular culture during the Middle Ages or transcribe some aspect of the Middle Ages into the popular culture of later periods. These representations can occur in any genre, including film, television, novels, graphic novels, gaming, advertising, art, etc. For this year’s conference, I would like to encourage submissions on some of the following topics:

  • The Arthurian World
    • Papers on King Arthur: Legend of the Sword may generate a dedicated panel to this film
  • Children’s Books/Shows/Games (e.g. Coup, Carcassone, etc.)
  • Medievalism in Advertising
  • “Medieval” as a social and political signifier
  • Medievalism in Game of Thrones
  • Representations of medieval/Renaissance nobility and royalty in television (Reign, The White Princess, Wolf Hall, etc.)
  • Robin Hood
  • Medievalism and Teaching
  • Board Games/Online Gaming and/or Cosplay
  • Medievalism in Novels/Short Stories/Poems
  • Potential panel on the novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

If your topic idea does not fit into any of these categories, please feel free to submit your proposal as well. I would like to encourage as much participation as possible, and depending on submissions, I may rearrange the topic groupings.

All papers will be included in sessions with four presenters each, so plan to present on your topic for no more than 15 minutes, inclusive of any audio or visual materials.

Panel submissions are also welcome on any topic of medievalism. If you would like to propose a panel, please submit your complete panel to me directly at Individual papers will then have to be submitted to the PCA online system (see below).

Submission requirements:

Please submit a title and a 250 word abstract to All submissions must be directed to the online database. Be sure to indicate whatever audio/visual needs you may have. Traditionally, all rooms at the PCA/ACA conference provide a projection screen with sound capability. Presenters are required to bring their own laptops and any special connectors.

Deadline for submission: October 1st, 2017

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Christina Francis, Associate Professor of English, Bloomsburg University, at

Monday, August 7, 2017

CFP ISSM at Kalamazoo (9/1/2017; Kalamazoo 2018)

The International Society for the Study of Medievalism (ISSM) has recently announced its sessions for next year's International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. Please support their endeavors.

Here are the details:

ISSM is now seeking papers for three sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10-13, 2018. Please see our calls for papers below for details. For more information about the conference itself, please visit the Congress website.

Medievalism, Racism, and the Academy: A joint round table with Medievalists of Color (MOC)

Students often come to Medieval Studies through video games, fantasy novels, tabletop D&D, movies, and other popular medievalisms. But this can present a skewed picture of the Middle Ages as racially homogenous. Unfortunately, some traditional approaches to teaching Medieval Studies can perpetuate this problem. Following recent ISSM sessions on race, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, and building on professional conversations launched at this year’s MOC workshop on Whiteness in Medieval Studies, our round table will consider how medievalism encountered both within and outside the classroom or embedded in academic structures might propagate racial bias. Participants might critique existing structures and/or offer suggestions for how research, teaching, administration, and academic social structures in both Medieval Studies and Medievalism Studies can be transformed to address these issues. Possible topics could include: diversity and the medieval curriculum, racial discourses in contemporary geopolitics or popular media, ethnonationalism and alt-right discourses on college campuses, medievalism and Islamophobia, the shifting demographics of medievalist scholars or enthusiasts, etc. Please send abstracts for papers of no more than ten minutes to Amy S. Kaufman (skaufmana at gmail) by September 1, 2017.

The New “Dark Ages”

The “Dark Ages” are back in the news, or at least the term is: the label has been applied to everything from the increasing erosion of women’s rights across the globe to the dystopian television worlds of The Handmaid’s Tale and Into the Badlands. Many people seem afraid that the world is inevitably returning to a “medieval” past of patriarchy, superstition, religious homogeny, censorship, and even monarchy. Medievalists, meanwhile, leap at these dim portraits of the Middle Ages to defend it from oversimplification. But sometimes, we dispel popular misconceptions without addressing continuities between the present and the past. For this panel, we’re seeking both papers that trace strong connections between the worst aspects of the Middle Ages and our possible futures and papers that interrogate contemporary anxieties and illusions about the past in light of real medieval history, literature, science, and art. Please send abstracts to Amy S. Kaufman (skaufmana at gmail) by September 1, 2017.

King Arthur 2017: A Round Table

Reviews have poured in for Guy Ritchie’s 2017 King Arthur, and some of them are pretty scathing. Chief among audience complaints is the film’s lack of authenticity: the story deviates so radically from medieval literature that Arthurian legend is barely recognizable. However, authenticity has always been a problematic way to evaluate Arthurian retellings. Sometimes called the “original fan-fiction,” medieval Arthurian legend is always revised and recreated to fit the political or cultural needs of a given period. And in fact, Ritchie’s film has been much better received among scholars of the Middle Ages. Participants in this round table will discuss the 2017 cinematic King Arthur and might answer some of the following questions: How do Ritchie’s changes fit into the canon of Arthurian revisions? How does the 2017 film inform meta-theoretical questions of authenticity surrounding Arthur himself? What do Ritchie’s changes tell us about our own cultural moment? Please send abstracts for papers of no more than ten minutes to Amy S. Kaufman (skaufmana at gmail) by September 1, 2017.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Race and Medieval Studies

According to recent reports there were some racially insensitive comments made at last month's International Medieval Congress at Leeds (and the perception of a lack of real engagement with and exploration of the conference theme of "Otherness"). A full report of the controversy can be accessed at The group Medievalists of Color has posted its response at

Hopefully, we can all learn to be more aware of others and avoid such occurrences in the future.

Michael Torregrossa
Founder/Blog Editor

PS. If I am misrepresenting this, do let me know in the comments section. My information is all third hand.

Call for Papers for Kalamazoo 2018 (and Some Thoughts)

The call for papers for next May's 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo has been posted online only this year. The link is as follows:

The organizer, the Medieval Institute, has also posted some details on the selection of session proposals at It is a (vague) window into an apparently arcane process, but does not go into enough detail to explain why what one thinks is an otherwise good session is rejected and another group gets multiple sessions accepted each and every year. (We wonder especially how does one superbly justify multiple sessions in a one-page document and how is a very generalized topic [and especially two or more sessions of them] considered to be superbly justified? Also, is it fair to all for some groups to have four or more sessions, when those of smaller groups are rejected?) Hopefully, a more transparent document will be forthcoming.

Michael Torregrossa,
Founder and Blog Editor

PS. We welcome your feedback on this issue. Do post to the comments below or send a message to

CFP Monstrous Medievalism (8/31/17; Leeds 2018)

A worthy endeavor (with more to follow):

Monstrous Medievalism: Toxic Appropriations of the Middle Ages in Modern Popular Culture and Thought (Leeds 2018)

deadline for submissions:
August 31, 2017

full name / name of organization:
MEARCSTAPA (monsters: the experimental association for the research of cryptozoology through scholarly theory and practical application)

contact email:

Monstrous Medievalism: Toxic Appropriations of the Middle Ages in Modern Popular Culture and Thought (Leeds 2018)

MEARCSTAPA plans to submit a session of 3 or 4 papers to the 2018 International Medieval Congress at Leeds. The Congress theme is “Memory.” Our hope is that this session will run as a twin-session to our proposed panel for Kalamazoo 2018 on Monstrous Medievalisms. 
The medieval period continues to be misidentified both as a primitive and savage ‘dark ages’ and as an idealized utopian golden age of racial and religious homogeny. In both cases, aspects of medieval culture—stories, motifs, and themes—are appropriated and reimagined (that is, remembered and reconstructed) in ways that celebrate and promote the othering of certain racial and ethnic groups or cultures. Medievalists should be made uncomfortable by the realization that we share some interests with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other groups dedicated to the oppression, segregation, and even elimination of racial and ethnic groups or cultures. Medievalists should feel even more uncomfortable when this othering—intentional or otherwise—becomes common in the presentation of the Middle Ages in various popular cultural media.

These medievalisms use the Middle Ages—our Middle Ages—to advance their racist agendas, which have frequently resulted in malicious acts against individuals and groups. In short, the Middle Ages are often put to monstrous work in modern popular thought and culture, frequently used by one community to attack another. The Middle Ages thus become othered and estranged from the scholars who study and teach from positions of acceptance and inclusion. These monstrous medievalisms use the period to foster some of the most pernicious ideologies of the present day and distort our understanding of the past. We ask, whose Middle Ages are they? And in so doing, we seek to confront these monstrous medievalisms, to unravel and make sense of them in order to dismantle the negative work they do.

Papers for this panel might address topics such as:
  • Appropriations of the medieval image and narrative in Nazi propaganda
  • Contemporary White Pride/White Nationalist appropriations of the medieval symbols and signs (tattoos, banners, album covers, banners)
  • Racist responses to inclusion in “Medieval” film
  • The medieval fantasies of white identity in the Anglo-Saxon enthusiasm of the founding fathers
  • Racialized Monsters in the contemporary medieval fantasy
  • Race War as trope in Ancient and Medieval period films, video games, and/or books
  • "Unintentional" rehearsals of racist ideologies in popular media

We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions. Additionally, MEARCSTAPA will provide an award of $500 to the best graduate student submission to this or any of its sessions to help offset the costs of travel and lodging for the IMC.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a brief bio to session organizer Renée Ward ( by 31 August 2017. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts will be vetted by the MEARCSTAPA board and the full session will be submitted to the Congress mid-September 2017.

Last updated June 26, 2017

CFP Authenticity and Authority in Medievalism (9/10/2017; Kalamazoo 2018)

A couple of calls for papers for Kalamazoo. (We wish them luck, but we remain puzzled how some groups were allowed two or more sessions while many others were rejected).

Authenticity and Authority in Medievalism: Kalamazoo Medieval Congress 2018 Call for Papers Announcement published by Ken Mondschein on Friday, July 21, 2017

Type: Call for Papers
Date: September 10, 2017
Location: Michigan, United States
Subject Fields: Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Music and Music History

We would like to present a call for papers for the following two sessions on medievalism and the modern Middle Ages for the 2018 Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI:

1. “Can These Bones Come To Life?” 1: Authenticity in Re-construction, Re-enactment, and Re-creation

We invite historians, scholars of literature, archaeologists, musicologists, theater historians and performers, as well as recreationist-performers such as dancers, musicians, historical fencers, brewers, and textile researchers to submit papers for a unique interdisciplinary session on the insights into history that can be gained from attempts to reconstruct medieval arts, as well as the historiographical issues involved in such work. For this year’s first session, we would like to examine the fraught idea of “authenticity” in all its meanings, from the sense of “verisimilitude to a historical artifact” usually used in reenactment circles; to whether a performance of a piece of music, dance, or fencing match can ever be “authentic”; to the philosophical sense of “authenticity” in the sense of “being true to one’s (socially constructed) self” and its implications for the place of medievalist hobbies in the modern habitus (including ideas of race, class, and gender); to the ways in which an idea of “authentic” national culture can be used to turn such activities to troublesome ends.

2 “Can These Bones Come To Life?” 2: Authority in Re-construction, Re-enactment, and Re-creation

For our second session, we would like to interrogate the idea of “authority.” Who is an authority in recreation/reenactment? What is an “authoritative” recreation? How can authority be gained or lost? How does this either correspond to, or challenge, academic notions of authority? When should academics step in to challenge incorrect or troublesome ideas? Possible subjects for papers include sociological examinations of the peerage system or idea of “renown” in the Society for Creative Anachronism, the dismissal of scholarly authority the historical martial arts movement in favor of a “do it yourself” model, and the permeable boundaries between scholars and performers in early music, dance, and theater. Is authority of academic medievalists on the wane, in favor of a vision of a Middle Ages ruled by self- (or crowd-) appointed authorities and the entertainment industry? Finally, how do scholarly claims to “expertise” match with our living in a post-factual world?

Note that all papers will have the opportunity to be published in our ongoing series of proceedings.

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words, current CV, and the Participant Information Form (available on the Congress’ Submissions page, to ken -at- kenmondschein dot com by September 10, or sooner if possible.
Contact Info:

Ken Mondschein
Contact Email: