Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CFP: Denizens of Hell: Devils, Demons and the Damned


45th International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 13–16, 2010)

Special Session

Denizens of Hell: Devils, Demons and the Damned

In past years a number of sessions have been arranged on the devil, demons, and the damned in the middle ages. Be this as it may, there still remains a great deal to be said about this fascinating topic.

Whether in images or in text, the depictions of the residents and prisoners of Hell reveal a great deal about the societies from which they arise. As Peter Dendle writes in his book Satan Unbound, "The devil consistently exhibits a fluidity, an elasticity, that allows him to bleed over into overlapping regions of time and space, of heart and world, of history and allegory" (Dendle, p.8). Yet this applies not only to the devil himself, but also to his servants and his subjects: whether it is the Anglo-Saxon distinction between the bound Lucifer and the wandering devil, the depictions of the bodies of the damned changing to show their sins in physical form, or the Nicodemian debate between Satan and the anthropomorphized Hell, the denizens of the underworld exist in a fluid space, one that allows for a marked flexibility of expression not present in many other areas of theological consequence. As such, any exploration of these topics cannot help but reflect greatly on the society that formed these conceptions, and thus helps to generate in us a better understanding of those who lived in those times.

Proposals of no more than 300 words for 15-20 minute papers are now invited. Those interested should note that there is no requirement that papers stay within the constraints of a single discipline (e.g. art history, literature, etc.), so long as they remain on topic.

Deadline for proposal submission is 31 August 2009.

All proposals should be sent to Richard Burley (r.a.burley@gmail.com) and should include a completed participant information form, downloadable at the ICMS webpage (http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF).


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