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PKMS 2020 Conference CFP: Working Through and Beyond the “Global Turn” in Medieval Studies

Working Through and Beyond the “Global Turn” in Medieval Studies
The 15th Annual Pearl Kibre Medieval Study Graduate Student Conference
Date: May 1, 2020
Location: The Graduate Center, CUNY
Keynote Speaker: Kathleen Davis, University of Rhode Island

The 15th Pearl Kibre Medieval Study annual conference will consider the field of medieval studies beyond Eurocentrism and other tacit cultural, geographical, and temporal assumptions on the study of the Middle Ages, inviting scholars to engage in the “global turn” in medieval studies. The field of medieval studies suffers internally and externally from an image of narrowed focus; the perception that the field preoccupies itself solely on one culture, language, race, or religion. In recent decades, medieval scholars have sought to work against this perception and move beyond geographic, national, disciplinary, linguistic boundaries; pulling from multiple sources across a wide variety of languages, literatures, artifacts, and cultures to enrich their academic interrogations. Along with striving to include more diverse primary material, the field has also seen an increase in the variety of theoretical apparatus applied to the Middle Ages, such as critical race theory and post-colonial studies. The result of these efforts is the reshaping of ideas concerning the Middle Ages, no longer as a secluded and homogeneous time between Antiquity and the Renaissance, but a period of global cultural production in conversation with its predecessors and successors.

The 2020 PKMS conference will embrace this “global turn” in medieval studies, expanding upon the ongoing conversations concerning the insular perception of the Middle Ages and the constant struggles to escape the geopolitical and disciplinary confines of our field. We invite papers that take ‘global’ approaches to the studies in the Middle Ages, geographically, methodologically, and/or pedagogically. We also particularly welcome papers that reassess the geographical and temporal confines of medieval studies as a discipline. We invite proposals for intersectional and/or interdisciplinary papers in medieval studies from all disciplines, regions, languages, methodologies, theoretical approaches, etc. We also welcome proposals for papers on the practical aspects, challenges, and benefits of interdisciplinary and intersectional work in medieval studies.

Submit 250-word abstracts to medieval.study@gmail.com by January 31, 2020.

Potential topics include, but not limited to:

Geography, Nations and Borders in and about the “Global Middle Ages”

  • Studies in early globalization
  • Merits (and vice versa) of studies in the Global Middle Ages
  • Decentering Europe in the study of the Middle Ages
  • Disrupting the notion of Translatio Imperii
  • The exclusion of figures within limited national boundaries
  • The relationship (power dynamic) between the Western and Eastern Middle Ages.
  • The exclusion of the African Middle Ages in mainstream medievalism

Historicity and Historical Narratives in and about the “Global Middle Ages”

  • Global inheritance of medieval thought
  • Re-classifying temporal categorization (the Middle Ages, but in the middle of what and where?)
  • Diversity (cultural, religious, literary, political, economic) in the Middle Ages stemming from global relationships

Literature and Language in and about the “Global Middle Ages”

  • Polylingualism
  • Comparative analysis on a global scale
  • Perspectives on the ‘global literature’
  • The claiming of bodies/characters for national use
  • Culture erasure/editing in medieval literature and contemporary criticism

Pedagogy of the “Global Middle Ages”

  • Teaching a “global” Middle Ages
  • The defense or denial of euro-/white-centrist works/organizations
  • Theorizing the idea of “global” in medieval studies
  • The “Global Middle Ages” as an interdisciplinary approach to medieval studies
  • What does the “global” Middle Ages (or medieval studies) mean for euro-medievalists, or for Early English medievalists?
  • New theoretical approaches to established texts