Theme: Law and (Dis)OrderThe Forty-Fourth Annual Sewanee Medieval Colloquium April 13-14, 2018 – The University of the South, Sewanee, TN.
The Sewanee Medieval Colloquium invites papers exploring aspects of law, order, disorder and resistance in all aspects of medieval cultures. This includes legal codes, social order, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, poetic or artistic form, gender construction, racial divisions, scientific and philosophical order, the history of popular rebellion, and other ways of conceptualizing our theme.
Papers should be twenty minutes in length, and commentary is traditionally provided for each paper presented. We invite papers from all disciplines, and encourage contributions from medievalists working on any geographic area. A seminar will also seek contributions; please look for its separate CFP soon. Participants in the Colloquium are generally limited to holders of a Ph.D. and those currently in a Ph.D. program.
Please submit an abstract (approx. 250 words) and brief c.v., via our website (http://medievalcolloquium.sewanee.edu), no later than 26 October 2017. If you wish to propose a session, please submit abstracts and vitae for all participants in the session. Completed papers, including notes, will be due no later than 13 March 2018.
Prospective participants are invited to apply to propose complete panels of two or three papers, apply to the general call, or apply to panel sub-themes, which appear below. Papers not taken by sub-themes will be considered for the general call.
Sensory Orders: Detecting Difference in the Middle Ages
Appeals to smell, taste, see, hear, and touch go a long way to define medieval senses of self and other. In the Middle English Siege of Jerusalem (ca. 1370-1380), for instance, the stench of Jewish corpses “choke” ditches to the horror of Jewish survivors and to the delight of Christian spectators. The sound of the blacksmith’s hammer striking an anvil, as imagined in “Complaint Against The Blacksmiths” (ca. 1275-1300), somehow transmits the color of his blackened skin and the nuisance of his socioeconomic status across great distances. What do we do with works, such as the Siege of Jerusalem and the “Complaint Against The Blacksmiths,” that negatively consume its sensing figures and, by extension, its readers? What is gained in and through these literary assaults on the senses? What are the ends of medieval sensation? How are medieval and modern readers taught to perceive differences of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and/or ability?
Sensory studies often make positive use of the senses, in so far as the senses enable modern audiences to have deeper and more significant encounters with past cultures, histories, and literatures. For all the positive sensations we recognize, medieval senses were just as often engaged in and by art and literature to inculcate difference, justify brutality, and/or cultivate sympathy. “Detecting Difference” invites participants to examine the various formations and capacities of the medieval sensorium to encode and enforce social (dis)orders, paying special attention to techniques for detecting differences of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and/or ability. The panel will build on recent work in the sensory, disability, and race studies—from Mark Smith’s How Race Was Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses (2006) to the special issue of postmedieval, edited by Lara Farina and Holly Dugan on “The Intimate Senses” (2012)—to explore how medieval perceptions of difference speak to present-day conversations about difference, about cultures of surveillance, about the policing of bodies, behaviors, and ideas.
Comment: Lara Farina, West Virginia University