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Out of the Margins: New Ideas on the Boundaries of Medieval Studies

Out of the Margins: New Ideas on the Boundaries of Medieval Studies, Cambridge University, September 19–20, 2014

The Marginalia Committee (Journal of the Medieval Reading Group, University of Cambridge) are delighted to announce that they will be holding a Tenth Anniversary Conference on September 19th and 20th, 2014. The conference is entitled ‘Out of the Margins: New Ideas on the Boundaries of Medieval Studies’ and our confirmed speakers include Professor Mary Carruthers, Professor Helen Cooper, and Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh.

From the borders of material texts to the peripheries of society, the margins of medieval culture have been brought into unprecedented prominence by several generations of scholars across a wide range of disciplines. But have we over-privileged the radical, the liminal and the subversive? Or is it only by means of the edges that the centre can be defined at all? As interested in the edges of the material text as the fringes of society, and with a unique question to ask about how the marginal relates to the central narratives of medieval studies, we intend this conference to be both interdisciplinary and metadisciplinary.

We invite submissions of 500-word abstracts for short papers, extending a particular welcome to graduate and early-career researchers working in disciplines including but not limited to History, History of Art, Music, English, Modern Languages, Philosophy, and Theology. Topics of papers might include:

  • Textual and Manuscript margins: What is articulated between the edge and the middle? The manuscript margins can be a site of confirmation, conversation or controversy—from the authoritative gloss to the casual doodle.
  • Intellectual margins: Boundaries, relations and tensions between the ‘clerical’ and the ‘lay’; the ‘latinate’ and the ‘vernacular’; the literary and the theological.
  • Radical margins: Controversial or heretical texts, individuals and groups. The question of the extent and generosity of ‘orthodoxy’ and its more or less hostile relationship to the ‘subversive’ or ‘heretical’.
  • Social and economic margins: Voices of the poor, women, of the non-elite and the ‘outcast’ in the Middle Ages, the queer, as well as those who might be considered—but need not always have been—socially ‘on the edge’?
  • Neomedievalism: How the medieval borders onto and interrogates modernity, and how postmodern critique may elucidate aspects of the pre-modern…and vice versa.

Posted on Apr 29, 2014 in Calls for Papers

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