CFP – Pilgrimage and the Senses – University of Oxford, 7 June 2019

Deadline for submissions: 20 January 2019
Keynote Speaker: Professor Kathryn Rudy (University of St. Andrews)

With the release of its inaugural issue in 2006, The Senses and Society journal proclaimed a “sensual revolution” in the humanities and social sciences. The ensuing decade has seen a boom in sensory studies, resulting in research networks, museum exhibitions, and a wealth of publications. This interdisciplinary conference hosted at the University of Oxford aims to shed light on how sensory perception shapes and is shaped by the experience of pilgrimage across cultures, faith traditions, and throughout history.

Pilgrimages present an intriguing paradox. Grounded in physical experiences—a journey (real or imagined), encounters with sites and/or relics, and commemorative tokens—they also simultaneously demand a devotional focus on the metaphysical. A ubiquitous and long-lasting devotional practice, pilgrimage is a useful lens through which to examine how humans encounter the sacred through the tools of perception available to us. Focusing on the ways in which pilgrimage engages the senses will contribute to our knowledge of how people have historically understood both religious experience and their bodies as vehicles of devotional participation. We call on speakers to grapple with the challenges of understanding the sensory experience of spiritual phenomena, while bearing in mind that understandings of the senses can vary according to specific cultural contexts. While the five senses are a natural starting point, we are open to including papers that deal with “sense” in a more general way, such as senses of time and place.

Sample topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • the role of beholding (places, relics, miracles, mementos) in the pilgrimage experience
  • haptic encounters with relics
  • ways in which pilgrims are seen: wearing specific clothing and/or badges, public acts (or affects) of devotion, how pilgrims are depicted or described
  • pilgrims’ auditory expressions: wailing/crying, chanting, singing, reciting prayers
  • bathing and purification in preparation for devotions
  • food as a ritual element or means of experiencing cultures along a pilgrimage route
  • the place of music on the pilgrimage route and/or at pilgrimage destinations
  • pain as a facet of the pilgrimage journey
  • the sensory spectacle—visual, auditory, olfactory—of pilgrimage processions
  • devotional objects that require handling, such as prayer beads and prayer wheels
  • psychosomatic sensory experiences as a means of engaging with the divine
  • the evocation of sensory participation through works of art and/or written accounts

We invite 20-minute papers from any discipline on topics related to the themes outlined above, especially in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art history, history, literature, musicology, religious studies, sociology, and theology. We welcome submissions relating to aspects of pilgrimage of any faith or historical period. Doctoral students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please submit a title, abstract (max. 250 words), and brief bio to pilgrimagesenses2019@gmail.com by January 20th. Successful applicants will be notified by February 5th. All submissions and papers must be in English.

More infos on the Pilgrimage 2019 website

CFP – SSHM Postgrad conference in University of Bristol: ‘Bodies and Minds, Sickness and Soundness’ – June 13-14 2019

The 2019 SSHM PG conference committee welcomes papers on any topic within the discipline of the social history of medicine and particularly encourage proposals for papers and panels that critically examine or challenge some aspect of the history of medicine and health. We welcome a range of methodological approaches, geographical regions, and time periods.

Proposals should be based on new research from postgraduate students currently registered in a University programme. Paper submissions should include a 250-word abstract, including five key words and a short bio. Panel submissions should feature three papers, a chair, and a 100-word panel abstract.

For postgraduate students not currently funded through an existing fellowship or grant, funding is available through the SSHM to help offset the costs associated with travel and accommodation. Upon acceptance of a paper, requests for bursaries should be submitted to the Executive Secretariat prior to the conference. More information can be found on our website.

All postgraduate delegates must register (or already be registered) as members of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. For more information about SSHM student membership, please see the journal subscription site.

In addition to showcasing the latest postgraduate research, the conference will feature training workshops led by members of the SSHM Executive Committee.

Call for papers closes on 31 January 2019.

Please direct queries about this event to the SSHM PG Conference admin team at:
sshm-pg-conference2019@bristol.ac.uk

More infos on the SSHM website

New book – Monstrous Kinds – Body, Space, and Narrative in Renaissance Representations of Disability, by Elizabeth B. Bearden – publish by University of Michigan Press

This book elucidates how Renaissance writers used monstrosity to imagine what we now call disability

Monstrous Kinds is the first book to explore textual representations of disability in the global Renaissance. Elizabeth B. Bearden contends that monstrosity, as a precursor to modern concepts of disability, has much to teach about our tendency to inscribe disability with meaning. Understanding how early modern writers approached disability not only provides more accurate genealogies of disability, but also helps nuance current aesthetic and theoretical disability formulations.

The book analyzes the cultural valences of early modern disability across a broad national and chronological span, attending to the specific bodily, spatial, and aesthetic systems that contributed to early modern literary representations of disability. The cross section of texts (including conduct books and treatises, travel writing and wonder books) is comparative, putting canonical European authors such as Castiglione into dialogue with transatlantic and Anglo-Ottoman literary exchange.  Bearden questions grand narratives that convey a progression of disability from supernatural marvel to medical specimen, suggesting that, instead, these categories coexist and intersect.

 “An excellent, timely, and necessary book that upends the problematic assumption in contemporary disability studies that norming influences didn’t exist in premodern societies. Highly interdisciplinary, Monstrous Kinds is an important contribution to both premodern and contemporary disability studies.”

—Allison P. Hobgood, Willamette University

An innovative book that will significantly contribute to the growing body of knowledge of Renaissance disability. The variety of texts examined from different geographical areas and languages, and the in-depth analysis of the works and images, are outstanding.”

—Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, University of Notre Dame

Winner of the Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities

Illustration courtesy Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Cover description: The cover is a vibrant shade of red with contrasting white and yellow type. Set against this background and to the left is an image of conjoined adult female twins, joined from the chest down. Their torso and breasts are bare and they are draped below the waist.  

Elizabeth B. Bearden is Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

More infos on the editor website

CFP – Senses – Hortulus Journal – Fall 2018

Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies is a refereed, peer-reviewed, and born-digital journal devoted to the culture, literature, history, and society of the medieval past. Published semi-annually, the journal collects exceptional examples of work by graduate students on a number of themes, disciplines, subjects, and periods of medieval studies. We also welcome book reviews of monographs published or re-released in the past five years that are of interest to medievalists. For the Fall/Winter 2018 issue we are particularly interested in papers and reviews of books which fall under the current special topic.

Our Fall 2018 themed issue, “The Senses,” calls for proposals that explore the senses in the Middle Ages from a variety of disciplinary angles, including medieval literature,
history, philosophy, theology, and art. We welcome papers that engage with smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch, as well as papers that complicate these categories of sensory
perception. We also welcome articles that address theoretical approaches, such as phenomenology or psychoanalysis, to the study of the senses in the Middle Ages. Some possible topics for papers might include the senses and medicine, the body and sensory perception, religious devotion and the senses, interiority, the relationship between memory and sensory perception, or education and the senses.

Contributions should be in English and roughly 6,000–12,000 words, including all documentation and citational apparatus; book reviews are typically between 500-1,000 words but cannot exceed 2,000. All notes must be endnotes, and a bibliography must be included; submission guidelines can be found here. Contributions may be submitted to hortulus[at]hortulus-journal[dot]com and are due 15 December 2018. If you are interested in submitting a paper but feel you would need additional time, please send a query email and details about an expected time-scale for your submission. Queries about submissions or the journal more generally can also be sent to this address.

CFP – “Gender and ‘Aliens'” – Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2019

“Gender and ‘Aliens'” –

Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2019

 

In recent years discourse around ‘aliens’, as migrants living in modern nation-states, has been highly polarised, and the status of people who are technically termed legal or illegal aliens by the governments of those states has often been hotly contested. It is evident from studies of the past, however, that the movement of people is not a recent phenomenon: in the medieval west, one of the Latin terms applied to such people was alieni (‘foreigners’, or ‘strangers’), and it is clear from the surviving evidence that there were many people in the Middle Ages who could be, and indeed were, identified as aliens. This conference aims to stimulate debate about the ways in which gender intersected with and related to the idea of such aliens – and, more broadly, alienation – in the medieval world. Social, political and religious attitudes to aliens and the alienated were not constant over the centuries from c. 400 to c. 1500, and nor were they uniform across the whole world. Some foreigners, as aliens, might end up integrated into the societies they entered; others might find themselves marginalised, lonely or alone; or oppressed, as outlaws, outcasts, or slaves. Gender might exacerbate or mitigate this, depending on time, place and context. Authors or artists depicting parts of the world far from and alien to their own often filled them with people or beings not like them, demonstrating the imaginative power of alterity, while the reactions of those who encountered people from distant places and observed or participated in their customs could include recognition of similarity as well as difference. Foreigners were also not the only people who might find themselves alienated from, or within, certain societies or cultures: the medieval world included many marginalised groups. The issues of aliens and alienation may be differently construed in the modern world, but they are certainly not new. The relationship of gender to these topics is complex, variable and significant.

The conference aims to enable discussion of these issues as they relate to the whole medieval world from c. 400 to c. 1500. The organisers welcome proposals for papers on any topic related to gender and aliens or alienation, broadly construed, and encourage submissions relating to the world beyond Europe. Papers might consider issues such as:

* refugees, immigrants, emigrants

* inclusion and exclusion

* alterity and difference

* outlaws, the law, legality

* marginalised or disenfranchised groups

* non-normative bodies, illness, disability

* acculturation

* imagined geographies

* borders and frontiers

* ethnicity and identity

* slavery and slaves

In addition to sessions of papers, the conference will also include a poster session. Proposals for a 20-minute paper or for a poster can be submitted at https://tinyurl.com/gms2019submit by September 30th 2018. The conference organisers are also happy to consider proposals for other kinds of presentation: please contact the organisers at gmsconference2019@gmail.com to discuss these. Some travel bursaries will be available for students and unwaged delegates to attend this conference: please see http://medievalgender.co.uk/ for details.