Call for Papers
Medieval Association of the Pacific Conference 2017
MEARCSTAPA Proposed Session
Collecting the Monstrous
Medieval and early modern history, art, and literature often depict collections of strange, uncanny, or monstrous things. Bestiaries sometimes depict exotic animals or monstrous, composite creatures; those in the relic trade (such as Chaucer’s Pardoner) boasted collections of relics and other “miraculous” items, some of which were gruesome. Monastic houses and churches guarded proudly their (supposedly authentic) relics and other collections of ephemera, and developed sensational and shocking stories about these objects. Witch hunters and Inquisitors of the early modern period sometimes kept macabre souvenirs of those they interrogated, such as purported pacts with the devil, witch bottles, and other types of physical “evidence” of hexes or spells. Such collections both contributed to and inhibited the development of early modern antiquarianism in the period 1500-1700.
What is the belief system or thought process behind the accumulation of objects that are “othered” by an association with the uncanny or monstrous? What spiritual or psychological effects were they meant to have on their collectors and their beholders? The issue of authenticity is problematic, as strange beasts in bestiaries, relics for sale, confiscated satanic accoutrements and objects at the center of a church’s strange story were usually not genuine. What relationship did medieval and early modern collectors of objects have with the concept of authenticity when it came to the collection of objects considered to be uncanny or macabre? How do their attitudes about authenticity affect those of the 21st century scholar of medieval and early modern studies? What are the challenges of communicating the accumulation of uncanny or monstrous collections of objects to students? Moreover, what are modern scholars to do with such objects when they turn up in museums, churches, or universities? The precursors to our modern museums were early modern cabinets of curiosity, filled with strange and wondrous curios from throughout the world. How do these origins linger in present institutions? MEARCSTAPA seeks papers that examine the collecting of items that are considered uncanny, preternatural, or monstrous in medieval or early modern history, art, or literature in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, or Asia.
Please send proposals of 300 words by October 29, 2017 to Thea Tomaini at email@example.com and Asa Simon Mittman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cartes blanches Table Ronde
2016-10-06, 14h30 – 16h Conseil départemental, Salle Kléber-Loustau
L’histoire du handicap
Cette table ronde vise à débattre des avancées historiographiques dans le champ de l’histoire du handicap. Plusieurs historiens spécialistes du handicap identifieront les apports des recherches effectuées pendant les décennies précédentes, les tendances de la recherche actuelle, et les chantiers de recherche à ouvrir.
Plus d’informations ici
Call for contributions
They are currently looking for contributors for a medieval disability sourcebook, under contract with punctum press. Please circulate widely!
Contact Cameron Hunt McNabb (email@example.com) for info.
Session : Historians and Geneticists in Collaborative Research
An editorial in Nature (25 May 2016) notes that historians have been critical of recent interpretations of European migrations by geneticists, but from their armchairs. Princeton Medieval historian Patrick Geary is quoted as urging historians to be more proactive and take part in genetic research: “If historians do not get involved and engage with this technology seriously, we’re going to see more and more studies that are done by geneticists with very little input from historians, or from frankly second-rate historians.” This session includes presentations by two historians and one geneticist, to show how collaborative study linking historians and geneticists can advance the quality of historical studies relying on genetic information. The session is intended to encourage discussion among historians, especially early-career historians, on how involvement in research and study of the genetic-historical literature can lead to rewarding careers that substantially advance knowledge of the human past from this new angle.
Cherry-Picking or Consilience? Human Actors, Invisible Microbes, and (Non-)collaboration in Disease History
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:50 PM, Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center)
Monica H. Green, Arizona State University
Every pre-modern historian knows how rarely we have all the evidence we want. We know that something happened in history’s silences because we know that human societies persisted. So, too, the palaeogeneticist must assume the continuity of life between the few random molecular fossils uncovered from the past, for that is the basic premise of evolutionary theory. But in all fields that deal with gap-ridden evidence, the question remains: what are legitimate methods for construing what happened in those gaps?Although climate scientists and historians now work toward consilience of written and physical data, that happy détente has yet to be achieved in biological history. Yes, the call to resist “cherry picking those milestones in human history that are best recorded” should be heeded. But what happens when this new kind of bioarchaeology treads into territory historians consider theirs, where there are written records? Who cedes to whom?
This paper will focus not on human genetics but on the molecular histories of the pathogens that kill and maim us. I will use the example of the Second Plague Pandemic (14th-19th centuries) to assert that consilience with History, with a capital ‘H’, is urgently needed for one simple reason: because the most disruptive biological actors in epidemic circumstances are humans themselves.