Constructing and Contesting Knowledge in the Medieval and Early Modern World, MEMSA 17th Annual Conference, Durham University, July 17–18, 2023
The title page to Francis Bacon's Instauratio Magna (1620) depicts a ship passing through the Pillars of Hercules. Hailing from beyond the imagined realms of the known world, the ship inevitably brings with it new wisdoms and new truths - yet the choppy waters shown beneath hint at the inevitable dangers of this enterprise. The generation and organisation of knowledge is a constant characteristic of intellectual and literary practice throughout the medieval and early modem period. An uneasy relationship between the competing authorities of fact and fiction drives centuries of astonishing invention and discovery. Yet few claims, practical or poetical, are beyond challenge where the rules of engagement are themselves constantly under interrogation. This two-day conference provides an opportunity for scholars to discuss the practice of knowledge generation and its effects on medieval and early modern culture.
Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:
- The textuality of knowledge and material culture
- Generational knowledge and nostalgia
- Myth-making and re-interpretation
- Collective knowledge and orthodoxies
- Artistic/ dramatic representations of knowledge
- Knowledge and creative practice
- Knowledge and cultural identity
- Control of knowledge and marginalisation
- Knowledge crossing borders and languages
- The use and abuse of knowledge
- Learning processes and pedagogy
- The dangers of knowledge
MEMSA's 17th annual postgraduate conference will be running as an in-person event, held at the historic Palace Green UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pemberton Rooms, in Durham. We particularly welcome applications from postgraduat and early career researchers from all disciplines engaged in the study of the medieval and early modern periods. Selected papers will be published in the MEMSA Journal.