Monday, December 22, 2008

Portals, Pathways, and Peregrinations: Concepts of Mobility and Exchange in the Long Middle Ages

Portals, Pathways, and Peregrinations: Concepts of Mobility and
Exchange in the Long Middle Ages

4th Annual Medieval Studies/Pearl Kibre Medieval Study
Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference

March 27, 2009: CUNY Graduate Center, New York

Over several hundred years, the medieval world saw increased
movement, mobility, and exchange, as well as greater flexibility in
the way these concepts were conceived. From the late Roman Empire to
the eve of the Reformation, the fragmentation and consolidation of
empires and shifting role of religion led to new contacts between and
among people and institutions. Meanwhile, the expansion of networks
of trade led to growth of cities and the development of new social
classes. Saints’ cults, which emphasized specific towns or
monasteries as particular loci of power, contributed to this movement
and exchange by developing the concept of pilgrimage and facilitating
the collection and translation of relics.
The changing landscape of the medieval world led to an increasing
complexity in human relationships. Whether in the political and
economic conflicts between the entrenched nobility and the nouveau
riche, or in the religious conflicts resultant from the proliferation
of heterodoxical or heretical groups, the Middle Ages involved
constant attempts to renegotiate and redefine relationships among
people and power structures.
We invite papers from graduate students in all academic disciplines
that address the role of movement, mobility, and exchange from late
antiquity through the early modern period. How do these concepts
intersect? How did the changes in economics, politics, religion, and
society affect and relate to each other? In what ways did medieval
literature make sense of these shifts and probe interactions with the
Other?

Topics may include but are not limited to:
currency
relics (invention, translation, and theft)
pilgrimage
crusade
portability
exchange
mobility
hybridity
contact
movement
diplomacy
war
travel narratives
exile
quest
rapture
metamorphosis/transformation
conversion
heresy
urbanization
colonization
excommunication
martyrdom
abduction
cartography
topography
navigation
textual translation
vernacular languages

Please submit abstracts of 250 words to medieval.study@gmail.com by
January 31, 2008.

Professor Evelyn Birge Vitz of New York University will deliver our
keynote address.

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