CFP for 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI

CFP: Persecution, Punishment, and Purgatory I-II: Methodological Considerations, Historical Explorations

Sponsored by the Medieval Studies Certificate Program, Graduate Center, CUNY

52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 11-14, 2017, Kalamazoo, MI

Societies and cultures shape themselves in part through a series of exclusions, and those exclusions may involve both individual punishment and the persecution of particular groups. Of course, medieval societies and cultures had their own distinct modes of exclusion, punishment, and persecution. R.I. Moore famously, if controversially, argued for the “formation of a persecuting society” in the Central Middle Ages; interestingly, the same moment sees (in Jacques LeGoff’s terminology) “the birth of Purgatory.” These panels consider these issues in two different directions: methodological, asking how we read the limited documentary evidence to understand the position of the persecuted, as well as the persecutor, and historically, looking at representations in a variety of documents (e.g. trial records, art, and literature) to consider these questions through disparate methodologies (Please specify which panel you are applying to).

Please send 250-word abstract and PIF to skruger@gc.cuny.edu by September 15, 2016.

Topics might include, but certainly are not limited to:

  • the origins and uses of persecution
  • the experience of religious and ethnic pogroms
  • forced conversions and expulsions
  • persecution as a method of socio-cultural nation and identity formation
  • the character of legal and extra-legal punishment
  • punishment as a form of discipline
  • self-inflicted and devotional punishment
  • the role of punishment in the family
  • the variations of punishment based on class, status, and gender
  • punishment as social control
  • concepts of the afterlife
  • the relationship between sin/punishment and the afterlife
  • liminal spaces
  • peripheries
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