7th Annual Medievalists @ Penn
The Medieval Archive 2/27/15
Keynote address: Jessica Brantley, Associate Professor of English, Yale
Medievalists depend on archives. Our work must always negotiate between, on the one hand, our need for stable, authoritative editions of texts and, on the other, our recognition of the inherent instability of a corpus formed through the manuscript tradition. The popular modern-day image of bespectacled medievalists poring over manuscripts in the university archive echoes our tonsured forebears, represented in medieval illustrations poring over manuscripts in the monastery library. For twenty fevered years since the publication of Derrida’s Mal d’Archive, archival technology and theorizations have increasingly come under the critical gaze. Developments in archival creation, curation, and research, as well as broader advances in computing have transformed our thinking about the essence, origins, and practical uses of archives. The manuscript itself, that once-hallowed and onceuntouchable
relic, is being democratized through readily-available digitized editions. Projects such as the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive, the Archive of Early Middle English and Penn’s commitment to an expansive program of digitization are
already opening up manuscripts from the few with institutional library cards to the many with Internet access, and other similar projects are being announced. This conference aims to bring these issues and challenges to bear on the practice of medieval studies.
Who guards these archives? Who creates them? What ideological forces have
shaped them? Whose voices have been silenced? Whose ideas suppressed? The medieval archive has changed dramatically over the last twenty years: we now have fully formed corpuses of Lollard writing, women’s writing, and vernacular theology. From Poggio Bracciolini’s manuscript hunting at the Council of Konstanz to Hope Emily Allen’s unearthing of The Book of Margery Kempe in 1934, chance, opportunity and luck have defined our discipline. How can we conceptualize something as contingent as the ‘manuscript discovery’? What other nascent archives are waiting to be discovered? What do we do when we know these archives have been destroyed, and forever lost?
Topics for papers may include but are not limited to:
– The creation, curation, and authority of archives
– Discoveries in the archive
– Non-textual archives of the medieval (images and artifacts)
– Temporalities of the archive
– Minoritized/alternative archives
– Digitizing and disseminating medieval manuscripts
– Medieval organizations of knowledge
– Lost archives
We invite abstracts for 15-20 minute papers that engage with these and/or other questions concerning medieval archives. Please submit abstracts as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15, 2014. Submissions should include your name, paper title, email, and institutional and departmental affiliation. The deadline for full paper submission, not to exceed 10 pages, is February 15, 2015.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Daniel Davies, Mariah Min, and
Samantha Pious at email@example.com
Executable culture: interesting term for things like blueprints, templates, and recipes.
Amazing festival with strong international Shakespeare throughline. Letty Garcia (UCI drama) attending.
Very thoughtful piece by Jonathan Farmer on depression, but also confidence and trust, in Shakespeare.
The Marcher Metaphysicals Conference, 29 October-1 November 2015
Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, Mid-Wales
The Welsh Marches, Marchia Walliae, or Y Mers in Welsh, constitute an extensive area around the boundary between England and Wales. This border country, in its breadth and somewhat hazy demarcation, defies precise definition, and invites fluidity of ideas and perception. The Marches are both a place in their own right, and an approach to somewhere else; they form a site of great natural beauty but also of historic political contention. Norman conquerors used these lands to subdue the native Welsh, as well as to create a jurisdiction separate from the English crown. Shakespeare represented them as a wild, rebel landscape, full of magic. The Marches were the imaginative home to a number of seventeenth-century poets who were interested in exploring the boundaries between material and spiritual experience. Their work forms the main focus of this conference. Equally important to our discussions will be the ways in which this poetic tradition has been updated and reinvigorated by Welsh and English poets in more recent times.
This conference seeks to explore the relationship between the early modern ‘metaphysical’ poets and the Marches that provided them with both material and imaginative landscapes. What influence did this place and its collective consciousness have on poets such as George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Thomas Traherne and John Donne? How did these poets express an understanding of boundaries, power and resistance, and an appreciation of the beauty of the natural environment that informed them? How did their poetry speak to the aesthetic, religious, philosophical and political movements of the seventeenth century? How have the Marches, and indeed these poets, influenced modern poetry, helping poets to find new ways of describing and influencing a world beyond borders.
The conference will take place from the afternoon of Thursday 29 October to the morning of Sunday 1 November 2015 at Gregynog Hall, the historic house which is also the conference centre of the University of Wales. Gregynog is itself located in the Welsh Marches, near Newtown in Montgomeryshire, and is set in its own extensive and attractive grounds. It will form an appropriate and conducive setting for the discussion of the Marcher Metaphysicals.
We invite e-mail submissions for papers that explore the historical contexts, influences, and links shared by the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets, pursue fresh readings of their poetry or work critically with more recent British poets who have followed their tradition in negotiating geographical, linguistic, political or spiritual borders. The conference organisers also welcome submissions from poets and other creative artists inspired by the Welsh Marches and actively exploring the idea of ‘borders’.
For 15-20-minute papers, please send a 250-word titled abstract; for a complete 3-4-person panel, please send an overall title and individual 250-word titled abstracts for each paper; for creative presentations, please send a 250-word description indicating any other introductory materials (PDFs, CDs, DVDs) that the conference programming committee might then request for evaluation.
You should send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please indicate Marcher Metaphysicals 2015 in your subject line and include a 1-page CV giving an e-mail and a regular mail address. You should also indicate any expected audio-visual needs.
Deadline for submissions: 28 February 2015
Conference organisers: Dr Joseph Sterrett (Aarhus University, Denmark) and Prof Helen Wilcox (Bangor University, Wales)
Conference advisory committee: Dr Erik Ankerberg (Milwaukee Lutheran University, U.S.A.), Dr Elizabeth Ford (Open University, Cardiff, Wales) and Dr Chloe Preedy (Exeter University, England)