Thursday, June 27, 2019

CFP Imagining the Past: Neo-Medievalism in Fantasy Genre (9/30/2019; NeMLA 2020)

[NeMLA 2020 Panel] "Imagining the Past: Neo-Medievalism in Fantasy Genre"

deadline for submissions: September 30, 2019

full name / name of organization: Jiwon Ohm/ Northeast Modern Language Association

contact email:

In “Dreaming of the Middle Ages,” Umberto Eco asks the question: “What would Ruskin, Morris, and the pre-Raphaelites have said if they had been told that the rediscovery of the Middle Ages would be the work of the twentieth-century mass media?”

Indeed, the twentieth-century mass media has disseminated what Eco calls, “escapism à la Tolkien” which has influenced many modern writers and cultural producers in other mass media such as films and video games. Although such “escapism à la Tolkien,” or “Tolkienesque” fantasy, seems harmless as pure entertainment, its consumption is massive, and many picture the Middle Ages not as it actually was, but how it is depicted through medievalist fantasy.

The theme of the 2020 NeMLA convention is “Shaping and Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages, and Cultures.” This gestures towards the important question of identities, and how we imagine ourselves and “others” to be. Medievalist fantasy fiction is a common form of popular culture which imagines, questions and reinforces our identities through depictions of geographies and nations and/or identities such as race, gender and class in a secondary/ another world. It depicts lands full of unfamiliar beings such as talking trees and animals, but also of men and women of different class, sexuality, race and spaces.

This session hopes to explore where creators and consumers of medievalist fantasy wish to “escape” and to, and highlight the powerful impact of medievalist fantasy in the shaping both our past and present identities in the popular mind.

Since the mass-market paperback publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in the US in 1965, medievalist fantasy has become one the most influential genres in the current popular culture. Although the fantasy genre has since expanded, with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and their visual adaptations, medievalist fantasy still remains as one of the most consumed genres in popular culture. Furthermore, although the settings of medievalist fantasy are oftentimes in the past, they nonetheless overlap with the author’s or adapter’s contemporary world. This session will discuss how such (neo-)medievalist fantasy works affect the way consumers of the genre imagine the past in the current world, and how such imaginations shape the present world. Papers that question and investigate the depictions of imagined geographies and nations and/or identities such as race, gender, and class in medievalist fantasy are especially welcome.

Please submit a 250-300 abstract and a short bio to the NeMLA submission page:

The deadline for submission is September 30, 2019.

You can check the guideline for submission in

Please contact Jiwon Ohm if you have any questions:

Last Call for MAPACA Proposals

Response to our MAPACA calls has been pretty lackluster this year.

If you intend to submit, please do so in advance of the June deadline. Details on the three active calls can be found in the blog posts below and on our calls for papers menu in the sidebar of the blog.

New Blog Name

I'm pleased to announce the debut of our new blog name: Making Medievalisms Matter.

It is a statement that reflects our belief in the importance of medievalisms in creating how and why we receive elements of the medieval past and, also, a reminder of our mission to promote and foster research and discussion of these representations of the medieval in post-medieval popular culture and mass media.

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

NEASA Sponsored Session Update and Bios

Representation(s): Image and Reality, Identity and Community: 2019 New England American Studies Association Conference.

Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA.

8 June 2019.

Session 4: 3:15-4:30

Panel 7: Make Me Medieval: Appropriations of the Middle Ages in American Culture (Percival Hall 106)

Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Moderator: Michael A. Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

“All-American Arthuriana: The Appropriation of the Matter of Britain during the American Civil War Era,” Michael A. Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Michael A. Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and works as an adjunct instructor in English in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. His research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, Beowulfiana, comics and comic art, Frankensteiniana, medievalism, monsters, science fiction, and wizards. Michael has presented papers on these topics at regional, national, and international conferences, and his work has been published in Adapting the Arthurian Legends for Children: Essays on Arthurian Juvenilia, Arthuriana, The Arthuriana / Camelot Project Bibliographies, Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays, Film & History, The 1999 Film & History CD-ROM Annual, The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy, and the three most recent supplements to The Arthurian Encyclopedia. In addition, Michael is founder of The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain, The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture (successor to The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages), and The Northeast Alliance for Scholarship on the Fantastic; he also serves as editor for these organizations’ various blogs and moderator of their discussion lists. Besides these activities, Michael is also active in the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association and organizes sessions for their annual conference in the fall. Michael is currently Monsters and the Monstrous Area Chair for the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association, but he previously served as its Fantastic (Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror) Area Chair, a position he held from 2009-2018.

“Medievalism in America’s Mardi Gras Tradition,” Ann J. Pond (Bishop State Community College

[Bio not provided.]

“Might Makes Right: Medieval Combat Sports and the Legitimization of a Fascist Middle Ages,” Ken Mondschein (University of Massachusetts-Amherst-Mt Ida) 

Ken Mondschein floats like a leaf through academia. He has benefited from Mt. Ida College’s closing by UMass-Amherst giving him a lectureship to teach the remnant Vet Tech students, who resent him mightily (your choice for gen-eds... Mondschein... or Mondschein). Besides that, he teaches at two other colleges for a total of eight classes per semester. Publishing-wise, he is incredibly productive. His book on timekeeping finally passed peer review at Johns Hopkins, and he has a contract for a sourcebook on medieval time with Italica Press. He published Game of Thrones and the Medieval Art of War with McFarland in 2017, and just released his translation of BnF MS Lat 11269 with extensive scholarly introduction as Flowers of Battle, Vol III: Florius de Arte Luctandi with Freelance Academy Press. The introduction is its own article in Acta Periodica Duellatorum 6.1, “On the Art of Fighting: A Humanist Translation of Fiore dei Liberi’s Flower of Battle Owned by Leonello D’Este.” Ken also has chapters forthcoming in the Cultural History of Sport Vol. 2: A Cultural History of Sport in the Medieval Age (ed. Wray Vamplew, John McClelland, and Mark Dyreson) and an article, “Fencing, Martial Sport, and Working-Class Culture in Early Modern Germany: The Case of Strasbourg” (with Olivier Dupuis) forthcoming in the Journal of Medieval Military History 16.

“ ‘Beautiful, willful, and dead before her time’: Reclaiming Female Characters in A Song of Ice and Fire and Its Fandom,” Kavita Mudan Finn (Independent Scholar)

Kavita Mudan Finn is an independent scholar in medieval and early modern literature currently lecturing at Simmons University. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2010 and published her first book, The Last Plantagenet Consorts: Gender, Genre, and Historiography 1440-1627, in 2012. Her work has appeared in Shakespeare, Viator, Critical Survey, Journal of Fandom Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, and Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and she has edited several collections, including Fan Phenomena: Game of Thrones (2017), The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s Queens (2018), and Becoming: Genre, Queerness, and Transformation in NBC’s Hannibal (2019).