Call for Proposals for an Edited Volume:
More Fuss about the Body:
New Medievalists’ Perspectives
Editors: Leah Pope Parker and Stephanie Grace-Petinos
In her 1995 essay “Why All the Fuss about the Body?: A Medievalist’s Perspective,” Caroline Walker Bynum presented a nuanced picture of embodiment in the past in order “to suggest that we in the present would do well to focus on a wider range of topics in our study of body or bodies.”* The same year saw the release of Bynum’s magisterial exploration of the body, identity, and medieval Christian eschatology in The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200–1336. Almost 25 years later, Bynum’s call for diversity with respect to histories of the body still inspires increasingly nuanced approaches to medieval embodiment.
London, British Library, “Harley Psalter” Harley MS 603, fol. 6v
We invite proposals for short essays of approximately 5,000 words for a volume of original research that seeks to revisit, expand, and update the ideas presented in Bynum’s seminal essay, while using it as a springboard for future investigations concerning the body, both medieval and modern. We seek essays that deal with personhood, identity, and the material body, updating histories of the body through areas of study that have grown in popularity since the mid-1990s, including disability studies, trans studies, queer theory, postcolonial studies, posthumanism, ecocriticism, animal studies, and the global Middle Ages, along with new developments in feminist and critical race theory. Possible essay topics include, but are not limited to:
- Bodily integrity and the limits of the body, healing damage to the body, or bodies and borders (i.e. the treatment of bodies in immigration/incarceration);
- Theologies of death and resurrection and rituals of burial and remembrance;
- Bodies centered and marginalized—including discussion of recent movements such as #metoo and Black Lives Matter;
- Gender expression and/through the body;
- Normativity (cisheteronormativity, compulsory ablebodiedness, etc);
- Flora and fauna, cyborgs and prosthesis;
- Present-day concepts of embodiment and their medieval predecessors as presented in popular culture;
- Comparative and cross-cultural concepts of the body; and/or
- The body in queer/crip time.
The organizers of this panel are committed to including perspectives representative of the diversity of the field, and especially welcome proposals from “new” medievalists, that is in broad terms, those who have joined the field since 1995. In the spirit of Bynum’s invitation to consider “a wider range of topics in our study of body or bodies,” we welcome papers that offer critical reflections upon the field of medieval studies, and which represent diverse and innovative perspectives on medieval histories of the body and contemporary medievalisms.
Please send abstracts, accompanied by an author bio of no more than 200 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 1, 2019.
NB: In order to achieve an accelerated production timeline, essay drafts will be due to the editors in fall 2019.
*Caroline Walker Bynum, “Why All the Fuss About the Body? A Medievalist’s Perspective,” Critical Inquiry 22 (1995): 1–33, p. 8.
More infos on the editor website