Welcome to this year’s PKMS conference, “Getting Medieval: Experiencing Medievalism in a Changing World”! You can find this year’s schedule here.
The conference will be held over Zoom on May 7, 2021. Registration is free; please register here.
We are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker for our 2021 conference will be Dr. Jonathan Hsy from George Washington University. He will be speaking to us about his new book “Antiracist Medievalisms: From “Yellow Peril” to Black Lives Matter” – you can find the link here. In his book, Hsy seeks to explore how marginalized communities across the globe use the medieval past to combat racism, educate the public, and create a just world.
In her book Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern, Carolyn Dinshaw describes doing medieval history as “touching across time” (36). The study of medievalism is in many ways about touching the lived experiences of past bodies and recognizing your similarities (and differences) from these bodies. In 2020, living through a global pandemic, mass unemployment, and civil unrest, it’s hard not to think of all the ways our bodies touch across time with the lived experience of medieval bodies. As medievalists, it is easy to make connections between the history we study and the history we see unfolding around us. Scholars are not the only ones doing this, however; these connections to the past are being observed and acknowledged in non-academic spaces as well, particularly online. Communities have sprung up online surrounding the concept of plague doctors, with people cosplaying as the pseudo-medieval medical authorities while advocating for wearing masks. Plague memes have populated tumblr and reddit threads, as the internet has attempted to utilize historic iconography to process current tragedy through humor. This conference will be an exploration of the ways we still touch the medieval today.
We look forward to welcoming you to our conference!
–Emily Price and Miranda Hajduk, PKMS Co-chairs