Deadline Sep 15 | CFP: “Reading the Middle Ages”, International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo), May 2019

The 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies 
Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) – May 9 to 12, 2019

The Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS) at Stanford University
invites paper proposals for a sponsored session on:

Reading the Middle Ages

This is the second panel in a two-part series entitled “Reading (in) the Middle Ages”: for more information, see CMEMS website[].

Inspired by the upcoming tenth anniversary of Representations’ special issue, “The Way We Read Now”, this panel seeks to reflect on how the critical and technical innovations of the last ten years have shaped the way we read medieval texts. In their 2009 introduction to “The Way We Read Now”, Sharon Marcus and Stephen Best noted a declining enthusiasm among scholars in “text-based disciplines” for reading texts symptomatically in order to expose their underlying ideological priorities. They argued that literal readings should no longer be dismissed out of hand and called for renewed attention to the material and formal properties of texts, as well as to the cognitive processes of reading. As medievalists, the methodological challenges of critical reading are intensified, yet also clarified, by the inescapable temporal, cultural and linguistic estrangement from our objects of study. In the last decade, surface reading, distant reading, algorithmic text analysis, new formalism, new sociology and various kinds of phenomenological engagement have all been touted as superior ways of attending to the particularities of literary objects. How has the step-back from ideological demystification affected the kinds of claims we make, and the research we pursue? How have new technologies changed the possibilities for reading medieval sources? How has the fusion of book history into literary criticism affected the status of both disciplines? We invite submissions of proposals for fifteen-minute papers on scholars’ own experiences exploring and implementing critical modes of reading.

Please send enquiries and submissions to Deadline: September 15th 2018.


Mae Lyons-Penner | Stanford University
Project Manager, Global Medieval Sourcebook[]

Assistant to Directors, Center for Early Modern and Medieval Studies[]
Doctoral Candidate, Department of []Comparative Literature[]


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