Good morning everyone! It’s that time of year again–prep for the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo, which is scheduled for next year May 10-13, 2012.

I’ll begin with a plug for a session I’m involved with–the Crusades Studies Forum, “Germany and the Crusading Movement.”  If interested, contact: Vincent Ryan, St. Louis Univ., Dept. of History, 3800 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-3414.  Phone 314-977-2910, email    Medieval Germany desperately needs exposure in the U.S., so we’re hoping to get a good session together.

Moving on to other CFPs, in no particular order, that I’ve received from the listserv:

Christian Hebraism in the Middle Ages

The medieval studies workshop at University of Chicago is currently accepting proposals for its session at the 47th International Congress in Kalamazoo, entitled: Christian Hebraism in the Middle Ages.

Please find a detailed description of the session below:

Scholarship on Christian Hebraism (the Christian study of the Hebrew language and Jewish texts, including the Old Testament) generally focuses on the Church Fathers or European intellectuals of the 17-18th centuries. This panel seeks to reevaluate the state of Hebrew learning in the medieval Christian world, after Jerome (d. 420) and prior to Johannes Buxtorf (d. 1629). By analyzing specific cases of medieval Hebraism, the papers will enable a fuller picture of Christian Hebraism as it occurred in varied historical and cultural circumstances. Papers will address questions such as the following: What motivated medieval Christians to learn Hebrew, and which Jewish texts did they study (Old Testament, Talmud, Kabbalah)?  Was their knowledge directed outwardly (e.g., to proselytize and polemicize against Jews) or inwardly (e.g., to translate and interpret the Bible for a Christian audience)? Who were their teachers (e.g., rabbis, converts to Christianity, other Christian Hebraists), and what anxieties existed about learning from Jews? Where did Hebrew lessons occur and which institutions supported them? In what ways was the Old Testament considered a Jewish or a Christian text?

Please send an abstract (250 words max.) and a “Participant Information Form” (available at  by FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9.

Uri Shachar,
Graduate co-Coordinator, Medieval Studies Workshop


Postcolonial England

The Department of English Studies at Durham University invites submission of proposals for its session at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 10-13, 2012.  The panel seeks proposals of 300-500 words with a working title and department affiliation by September 1, 2011. Participants will be contacted regardless of whether or not their proposal has been accepted. All proposals submitted but not accepted will be sent on to the general committee for consideration in one of the general sessions at Kalamazoo. The CfP is as follows:

Postcolonial England

Postcolonial theory has been applied to studies of the Middle Ages with increasing frequency over the past decade. Throughout the 2000s, medieval studies has seen a plethora of publications in this area, from ‘Postcolonial Middle Ages’ to ‘Empire of Magic.’ This theory in particular has become a more prominent niche within contemporary criticism. Additionally, though it has been applied in many areas of disciplinary study, there are still many categories which need further research. One area in which postcolonial theory is particularly applicable is the analysis of national identity. This subject has also been a hot topic in the past few years, especially in relation to England (Ashe, McDonald, Lavezzo, Fenton). These two discourses sometimes, but not always, work together–and both areas could benefit from further exploration, both independently and symbiotically. Medieval postcolonialism can have the tendency to be too broad in its analysis and application throughout Europe, whereas discussions of national identity through specific texts can be overly narrow. By focusing on postcolonial interpretations of national identity in England alone, it makes for a more precise, but still broad area for discussion. This session will aim for papers which apply postcolonial theory to English texts in an attempt to better understand English concepts of national identity, specifically looking at less obvious, rather than canonical, texts as many of these have already been explored. For example, much work has already been done on romances such as Bevis of Hampton, Guy of Warwick, Richard Cour de Lyon, and Havelok the Dane. There is still much to be researched however, and this session aims to encourage such endeavours. As Thomas Crofts and Robert Rouse recently said in their 2009 chapter in ‘A Companion to Medieval Popular Romance,’ the lesser-explored romances “present more complex challenges for the critic [and] continue to demand individual detailed attention, lest we be lulled by their familiar rhythm into the belief that they speak with one voice.” We have chosen to propose this session to provide a more focused exploration of medieval national identity and postcolonialism by focusing on England, and hope this session will provide a larger litmus test for these ideas through its focus on lesser-explored English texts.

Meghan Glass
Department of English
Durham University


The Laboring Mediterranean 

This session, sponsored by Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Michigan, will take place at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10-13, 2012 at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

The prevailing orthodoxy in the study of the medieval Mediterranean hinges around ideas of geographic fragmentation and heterogeneity; the region, according to Horden and Purcell in _The Corrupting Sea_, is composed of an unusually diverse and numerous set of landscapes, or microecologies as they call them. Because of the great diversity in place, each with its particular productive niche, the people of the Mediterranean sought out relationships across land and sea in order to connect to the fruits of different ecologies. In other words, locally realized labor provided the sinews which made the region a coherent geographic place. The topographic-specific labors of the shepherd and the farmer overlapped in ways that connected the mountain to the plain. The symbiotic labors of the countryside and the city routinely brought together people with often conflicting views of class, culture, and technology. On a smaller scale, gender- and age-specific labor formulated relationships within the home. This panel, then, will use labor as a conceptual tool for sewing together the medieval Mediterranean and understanding how people in the region connected with one another. We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers exploring any aspect of labor, production, and community in the medieval Mediterranean.

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to Gina Brandolino ( by Sept. 15.  Early submissions are appreciated.


Hell Studies  [my note: the title kinda says it all, what?]

The Societas Daemonium is seeking papers on Hell, the devil, demons and damnation, to fill an interdisciplinary session entitled Hell Studies, which will take place at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10-13, 2012, in Kalamazoo, Michigan (USA).

Throughout the Middle Ages, the idea of Hell has haunted humanity. In art, manuscripts like the Winchester Psalter and cathedral sculptures like those at Autun and Chartres stand as both private and public reminders of the punishment that awaits those who refuse to live a good and holy (and in many cases Christian) life; in literature, tellings of the Harrowing of Hell and stories of the Falls (both angelic and human alike) trace the development of Hell over time, through texts like the Old English Genesis A and B; in theatre, the devil and the fear of damnation have woven their ways into narratives for hundreds of years, for example in York Corpus Christi plays; and throughout history the hope of heaven and the fear of hell have motivated the actions of kings, priests and peasants alike.

We at the Societas Daemonium believe that the study of things diabolical provides an excellent stage for new, interesting, and interdisciplinary research. As such, we are looking for papers from any discipline (or disciplines) on any aspect of Hell, the devil, demons, damnation and the kinds of actions that warrant it. In light of the timing of the conference (May 2012 being mere months before the “end” of the “world”, as it were) special consideration will be given to papers that deal with an apocalyptic theme.

Please send polite proposals of no more than 300 words to Richard Burley at by September 15, 2011. Early submissions are appreciated.


Uneasy Joinings, and Narrative Discipline

The Medieval Research Consortium of UC Davis invites submission of proposals for the following panels for the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies occurring at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 10-13, 2012.  Please submit a proposal of 300 words with a completed Participant Information Form (available here) for consideration in these panels.  You may submit proposals via e-mail or mail a hard copy of your proposal for consideration; all proposals are due by September 15, 2011.

Sara Petrosillo
Department of English
One Shields Avenue
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

1. (Un)easy Joinings
Authors of medieval romances force disparate elements together to create joinings that may be easy or uneasy. This panel aims to explore the ways in which these hybridities operate in these romances. Papers could examine a range of topics from incest, to marvels, to miracles, to unexpected alliances, to suturing of genres, etc..

2. Narrative Discipline
This panel considers the role of discipline in the medieval narrative. Who is setting the rules and defines punishment for breaking rules? Where is the line between play and violence? Papers might examine the staging of discipline, discipline through language, pedagogical discipline, discipline between the narrator and audience, etc.


James J. Paxson Memorial Sessions

Three sessions will honor Professor James J. Paxson at the 47th International
Congress on Medieval Studies, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI, May
10-13, 2012.

The University of Florida, and the medieval community as a whole, lost Professor
James J. Paxson this year, who died in February. A fine teacher,
mentor, and scholar,
he focused primarily on Middle English literature and literary theory, as well
as science in literature. His publications include: The Poetics of
(Cambridge, 1994); (ed.) Desiring Discourse: The Literature of Love,
Ovid through
Chaucer (Susquehanna/AUP, 1998); (ed.) The Performance of Middle English Culture
(Brewer, 1998); as well as his associate editorship of Exemplaria: A Journal of
Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

In three sessions, we celebrate his contribution to the medieval and academic
community. He was an enthusiastic supporter of ICMS, encouraging his students
to participate and attend. We invite submissions for 15-20 minute papers from
friends and former students of Professor Paxson as well as from scholars whose
work engages with and develops his scholarship and fields of interest.
These areas
include but are not limited to: Allegory, Science in Literature,
Levinas, Chaucer, Piers
Plowman. Please indicate if you knew Professor Paxson personally.

Please e-mail a one-page abstract (300 words max) to Emerson
Richards (Dept. English, University of Florida) at
<> AND Valerie Allen (Dept. English,
John Jay College, CUNY) at <> by or before September 15,
2011. Feel free to contact either with questions about the sessions.


Musicology at Kalamazoo

We invite abstracts for the following sponsored sessions:

Regional Musical Practices*Chant & Liturgy*Performance & Polyphony*Language & Music*Vernacular Music*Source Studies*Theory Manuscripts*Neo-Medievalism*Pedagogy Roundtable

N.B. We intend the session titles as “hooks,” rather than limitations, on which a multitude of proposals can be placed.

Abstracts and “Participant Information Forms” (available at must be received by 15 September 2011.  The PIF is required by the Medieval Institute.

Electronic submissions are strongly encouraged.  Please send submissions and questions to and write in the subject line of your e-mail: KZOO 2012.

If you use US mail, send to: Anna Kathryn Grau, 5430 S. Drexel Ave., 3N, Chicago, IL  60615.

We look forward to seeing you in Kalamazoo next May.

Anna Kathryn Grau (DePaul University)

Cathy Ann Elias (DePaul University)

Linda Cummins (University of Alabama)


Legal History

CFP: Legal History at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Organizer: Sasha Volokh

I’m running a panel on legal history at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10-13, 2012, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The title of the panel is Law as Culture: Legal Development and Social Change. The general call for papers is here (
The Law as Culture series has been going on at Kalamazoo most years since 1994, sponsored much of the time (including this time) by the Selden Society; for the last couple of years, I’ve been co-organizing these panels with medieval historian Paul Hyams of Cornell. Here are a few paragraphs I wrote about it; the last paragraph has been recycled from earlier CFPs:

Law was an important part of medieval culture, just as in modern culture.
High and low people alike regularly attended some court or other – serfs attended their lord’s court while barons attended the royal court – and rates of litigation (for instance in medieval England) were surprisingly high (by modern standards). Feudalism, an important medieval institution, was largely (though not exclusively) a set of legal rules, and disputes over the overlapping jurisdictions of secular and ecclesiastical courts played a large role in the evolution of church-state relations. The legal system shaped medieval society just as it was shaped by it. The historian of medieval law must study social, economic, and cultural history, but the historian of medieval society, economy, and culture must also study the law.

This panel, therefore, will explore the intersection among law, economics, and culture in the context of the evolution of medieval European law.

This session is part of a series of panels under the general title of “Law as Culture in the Middle Ages” that ran first from 1994 to 2003, and was revived in 2010. The Anglo-American Selden Society has stood sponsor for much of this time. The series has succeeded in bringing together literary scholars, lawyers and historians in the special atmosphere of Kalamazoo and to their mutual benefit, to consider the contributions, good and bad, which Law made to the culture of the Middle Ages. Papers have been presented by scholars of the two learned laws (canon and Roman), of secular laws (especially the Anglo-American Common Law), and of vernacular literatures (especially Old French, Old and Middle English). They have drawn enthusiastic audiences that have filled and on occasion overflowed from the rooms allotted them. We have been able to offer a hearing to young scholars alongside some very well known ones.

For this panel, I welcome any papers on medieval legal history.

English legal history is welcome; so is Continental legal history, canon law, or any other tradition practiced in the medieval West, e.g. Jewish or Islamic law.

Especially, as the title “Law as Culture” hints, papers are encouraged that draw connections between law and other fields, especially in the humanities or economics (though doctrinal legal papers are also fine).

Those who are interested should send me an abstract at volokh at post dot harvard dot edu by September 15, 2011.

– Sasha Volokh, Emory Law School


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