Sunday, July 25, 2010


I'm a bit late on this one....I'm almost caught up to July. But in case you haven't seen this, here it is:

Dear All,

Relating to my note a few weeks ago I am pleased to announce that we
have now opened the online submission site for Project Woruldhord as
of today. To remind people this is a project hosted at Oxford
University to try to build up an online collection of material
related to Old English and the Anglo-Saxons by voluntary
contributions online. Anything submitted will then be made available
worldwide, free of charge, for others to reuse (for educational
purposes only). This follows on from a very successful project we ran
at Oxford where we collected together memorabilia from the First
World War.

In short we are trying to collect any material that would be of help
to people who wish to find out more about the period of history and
the language and literature. We are looking for images, audio/video
recordings, handouts, essays, articles, presentations, spreadsheets,
databases, and so on. In particular I was hoping Ansaxnetters will
contribute teaching material they are happy to share with others. In
part I'm trying to investigate whether academics and teachers are
willing to share such items, especially if they feel it will be of
benefit to the discipline (this project, I hope, will generate
renewed interest in the Anglo-Saxons). However, in general terms we'd
also be willing to collect such things as:

• a photograph of an Anglo-Saxon building (e.g. the church at Deerhurst)
• a photograph of an Anglo-Saxon 'site' or reconstructions (e.g. the
buildings at West Stow)
• a photograph of an Anglo-Saxon artefact (e.g. the Bewcastle Cross)
• a monograph or article that is now out of print that you hold the rights to
• a reading list used in teaching
• a set of slides used in a lecture
* a handout tackling some specific issue of the discipline
* translations of texts
• a workbook of grammar exercises
• an article on Anglo-Saxon England or Old English
• a video of a re-enactment from the Anglo-Saxon period
• an audio recording of some Old English
• and so on ...

The most important page to get started is:

This takes you through the simple to use submission process where you
can upload your object and provide some basic information about it.

However other pages you might be interested in are: - the main web site - the project blog - our 'help'
section including a 'how to get started guide' and an FAQ - a discussion
group for the project

If you have any questions please email the project at:

Thanks in advance for anything you send!

Dr Stuart Lee
Faculty of English, University of Oxford
Reader in E-learning and Digital Libraries
HEA National Teaching Fellow
c/o OUCS, 13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN
E-mail:; Tel: +44 1865 283403; Fax: +44 1865
273275; URLs:

*Images in Action: Processions, Feast Days, and Other Ecclesiastical Celebrations*

Call For Papers
International Medieval Congress, Leeds
11-14 July 2011

Melanie Hackney (Louisiana State University), Organizer
Michele Luigi Vescovi (Università di Parma), Organizer

*Images in Action: Processions, Feast Days, and Other Ecclesiastical

Throughout the Middle Ages, images – from jeweled crosses to adorned
statuary, painted panels to celebrated reliquaries – performed central
roles in feast days, processions, and other ecclesiastical celebrations.
Such rituals frequently threaded through town streets, entwining
cathedral, market squares, churches, and government offices and
encouraging the audience’s involvement through carefully choreographed
spectacles that often included images as a point of focus. Although many
of these objects have received scholarly attention in terms of technical
construction, iconographic tradition, or artistic authorship,
frequently, lacunae remain regarding their processional display and
function. This session aims to gather scholars investigating the visual
component of such celebrations in order to advance an overlooked area of

Accordingly, the Student Committee of the International Center for
Medieval Art seeks papers that consider “images in action” for a
sponsored session at the 2011 International Medieval Congress in Leeds.
Potential avenues for inquiry include, but are not limited to: how did
the images interact with the audiences? How did the audiences interact
with the images? In what ways were the objects activated by their
inclusion in such occasions? How did the images engage with or impact
the physical space encompassed by the routes? What were the religious,
political, economic, etc. implications of these interactions?

As a committee that addresses the concerns of all members with student
status (undergraduates, graduates, interns, etc.) we welcome submissions
from students and established scholars alike. To submit, please send an
e-mail including a brief vitae and an abstract of no more than 500 words
to Melanie Hackney (
by 31 July 2010.

/** Following the composition of the session, the Student Committee will
propose it to the International Center of Medieval Art for sponsorship
consideration. If the proposal is accepted, participants will be
eligible for partial Kress Foundation funding./



The Group for the Study of Early Cultures at the University of California,
Irvine invites submissions for its Third Annual Graduate Student

Friday & Saturday, January 21-22, 2011
Keynote Address by Paul Strohm (Anna Garbedian Professor in the Humanities
at Columbia University)

Our contemporary understanding of interiority is tied to a sense of
domestic life, personal psychology, and the separation of public and
private spheres, all which suggest a model of human existence and
interaction that hinges on the delineation of what is ‘inside.’ This
conference revitalizes notions of the interior in premodern contexts,
ranging from the ancient era, through the medieval and early modern
periods, and into the eighteenth century. We define “interiority” loosely
as any terrain, such as conscience, mind, psyche, soul, or spirit, that
positions itself within a subject. Given this openness, we invite papers
across a variety of disciplines that investigate interiority in any of its
manifestations—literary, historical, visual, dramatic, legal, spiritual,
or philosophical—in early cultures. Fundamentally, we seek to question and
mobilize the borders between the interior and exterior as vital spaces of
containment and definition.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Religious Interiors: How do the concepts of the sacred and profane hinge
on an inner life? Can spiritual interiors conflict with one another? Do
dream visions and experiences of the sublime affectively challenge the
delineation of the interior?

Interior Bodies: Are interior spaces altered in concert with new
discourses of the body, disease, anatomy, and medical knowledge? Do
seemingly ‘exterior’ changes in consumption practices (food, goods,
clothing) rework internal awareness? How is queerness performed or
experienced within premodern interiority?

Political Interiors: Through what means do royal, national, and local
subjects construct interiorities? Does state power depend on constructing
interiority in its subjects? How do indigenous and colonial tensions
engage with sovereign interiority?

Textual Interiors: Do literary works contain interiorities through the
incorporation of authorial voice, as in memoirs or confessions? Are new
interiorities modified through translation?

Metaphorical Interiors: In what ways do material containers, such as
chambers, closets, or caskets, stand in for psychic interiors? How do
performed scenes gesture to, or create, a sense of interiority in their
spatial configuration?

All interested graduate students, from any university and discipline, are
welcome to submit a one-page abstract on any topic related to the self.
For more information. please visit the conference website at the Group for
the Study of Early Cultures at

Deadline for abstracts: September 15, 2010

Please limit the length of abstracts to no more than 300 words. Send
abstracts and CVs to

The Group for the Study of Early Cultures focuses mainly on fields that
investigate pre-modern societies, including but not limited to: Classics,
Late Antiquity, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, 18th Century
Studies, East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Islamic Studies.
We are also interested in a wide range of disciplinary approaches to Early
Cultures, including literary studies, history, art history, drama, visual
studies, sociology, culture studies, anthropology, political science,
philosophy, and religious studies. For more information about our
organization, please visit our website:

Studies in Medievalism and Medievally Speaking

For next year's Kalamazoo Congress, Studies in Medievalism and
Medievally Speaking will be organizing three venues:

I. Nineteenth-Century Medievalisms;
II. Teaching Medievalisms (A Roundtable);
III. Makers of the Middle Ages: Papers in Honor of William Calin.

Please disseminate this information so that I may receive many
excellent proposals for contributions.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


RULERS OF THE SOUTH SAXONS BEFORE 825 has moved. The reconstructed
history has been retitled RULERS OF THE SOUTH SAXONS, http//

and the entire paper has been revised and rewritten. Each period, Ancestral
Sussex, The Aellean Warlordship, The Cissan Kingdom, The Devolvement, The
Realm of the Two Dynasties and Sussex as a Mercian Province, is given its
own hypothesis followed by its own conjectural timeline. There is an
introduction to present the timescale and additional paragraphs at the end
before reaching an improved bibliography. The paper is now only 34,500
words (it was 62,000) and is therefore much more user friendly. Please come
and visit, and send me any of your observations.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Rijcklof Hofman (transcription), Pádraic Moran (digital edition)

St Gall MS 904 is a copy of Priscian's monumental Institutiones
Grammaticae (Foundations of Grammar) written in 851. It contains c.
9,400 marginal and interlinear glosses. About one-third of the glosses
are in Old Irish (the remainder in Latin), making the manuscript an
important resource for Celticists. It is also a valuable witness for
language teaching and scribal culture in the ninth century.

Rijcklof Hofman published about half of the glosses in print in 1996,
but now the full text of all of the glosses is available for the first
time, online. The digital edition also incorporates the underlying text
of Priscian (thanks to, links to
manuscript images (via, and other resources.

Comments, criticisms, suggestions especially welcome!

14th International Congress of Celtic Studies

The 14th International Congress of Celtic Studies
will take place at NUI Maynooth in Ireland 1-5
August 2011. In the past this has been an
excellent forum/contact point for Anglo-Saxonists
whose interests touch on the medieval Celtic
world and such scholars would be very welcome at
this Congress. I realise, of course, that this
will clash with your own biennial conference in
Madison, Wisconsin, but for those unable to
attend it the Celtic Congress may be an interesting alternative.

Our website is and I would be
grateful if this could be brought to the attention of your members.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kalamazoo 2011: Symposium on Teachers and Students in the Middle Ages

Kalamazoo 2011: Symposium on Teachers and Students in the Middle Ages
(May 12-15, 2011)

The Medieval Studies Program at Southern Methodist University invites
contributions to a session on medieval teachers and students for the
46th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 12-15, 2011,
Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The richness of recent work on medieval rhetoric and grammar
demonstrates a growing scholarly interest in the content and form of
teaching in the Middle Ages. Rita Copeland and Ineke Sluiter’s
_Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric: Language Arts and Literary Theory, AD
300-1475_ (2009), Marjorie Curry Woods’ _Classroom Commentaries:
Teaching the Poetria nova across Medieval and Renaissance Europe_
(2010), and the special issue of _New Medieval Literatures_ on
“Medieval Grammar and the Literary Arts” edited by Copeland,
Chris Cannon, and Nicolette Zeeman (2009) reveal an understanding
that the intellectual products of the Middle Ages, whether literary,
philosophical, or even musical, were intimately bound up with the
basic classroom pedagogy used to teach grammar and rhetoric. If the
subjects studied throughout the Middle Ages are essential to
understanding the intellectual and creative legacy of the period,
then the teachers and students who transmitted
and engaged with these ideas bear further examination as well.

We seek papers that address the complex relationships and encounters
between teachers and students, using a variety of methodological
approaches. We hope to bring into conversation scholars working in a
broad spectrum of fields, such as literature, art history, music,
history, philosophy. Papers might focus on: representations of
teachers and/or students in art and literature, historical teachers
and students, the role of emotions and affect in teaching, child and
adult learners in the Middle Ages, and the ties of violence and love
between teachers and students. We also invite papers that use
material from a variety of genres, including but not limited to art,
hagiographies and other vitae, letters, grammatical texts and
pedagogical dialogues.

Please send abstracts and a completed Participant Information Form
by September 15 to Irina Dumitrescu at idumitrescu(at) .

Sunday, July 11, 2010

1st Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group
after the end: medieval studies, the humanities, and the post-catastrophe
4-6 November 2010
University of Texas at Austin

Call for Papers -- Organized Sessions

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Textus CFP

Dear Friends,

The journal Textus -- the official publication of the Italian
Association for English Studies -- will devote its 2011 literature
issue to *Between Italy and the British Isles – dialogue and
confrontation from the dawn of vernacular literatures to the Act of

*If you are interested, please see the complete call for papers below.



*/Textus/** XXIV/3 (Sep.-Dec.) – 2011*

*Literature issue

*Between Italy and the British Isles – dialogue and confrontation
from the dawn of vernacular literatures to the Act of Supremacy*

Editor: Alessandra Petrina (Università degli Studi di Padova)

Co-editor: John Law (Swansea University)

Call for Papers: 5 June 2010

Deadline for abstracts: 15 July 2010

Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 1 August 2010

Final version to the editors: 15 December 2010

Edited version to the publisher: 1 September 2011

This issue of /Textus/ focuses on Anglo-Italian relations, exploring
connections, analogies and exchanges in late medieval and early
modern history and literature in English.

In the transition between late medieval Latin and the dawn of
vernacular literatures, the literary map of Europe shows a number of
convergences, facilitated and made relevant by the development of
translation among the various vernaculars. Historical and political
events, together with the geographic collocation of the various
cultural communities, as well as linguistic variants, determine
cultural and literary influences. As recently noted by Alastair
Minnis, the concept of “vernacular” goes beyond language to
embrace literary traditions, the formation of the canon, cultural
history and the transformation of ideologies.

In this context, the study of the relation between Italian culture
and literatures in Middle and Modern English (including Scottish,
Welsh and Irish variants) has long been an object of critical debate.
Single, extremely significant Italian authors, above all Dante and
Petrarca, have been studied for the role they have played on the
formation of the English canon, and for their influence on major and
minor writers; and the relation between Italian literature and local
vernaculars associated with English (from Middle Scots to Irish) has
been investigated. Italian humanism has been a term of reference for
the study of contemporary and later literature in English. The events
associated with the Reformation have deeply marked the history of
Anglo-.Italian relations, and the vagaries of the circulation of
books and ideas.

Possible aspects that might be taken into consideration include
(though they are by no means limited to) the following:

- Italian culture and the development of the English canon

- Italophobia and Italophilia

- Observing Italy from outside

- Petrarch before Petrarchism

- Travelling topoi: images and concepts crossing geographical borders

- Italian humanism: a changing interpretation

- Translating and appropriating

- Universities: the network of international exchanges


Bartlett, Kenneth R., “The Strangeness of Strangers: English
Impressions of Italy in the Sixteenth Century”, /Quaderni
d’Italianistica/ 1 (1980): pp. 46-63.

Corbett, John, /Written in the Language of the Scottish Nation. A
History of Literary Translation into Scots/, Clevedon: Multilingual
Matters, 1999.

Einstein, Lewis, /The Italian Renaissance in England/. Studies, New
York: The Columbia University Press, 1902.

Ellul-Micallef, Patricia, “Italian Pride and English Prejudice: The
Reception of Otherness in the Renaissance”, /Journal of
Anglo-Italian Studies/ 6 (2001): pp. 87–101.

Höfele, A. and W. Von Koppenfels, (eds) /Renaissance Go-Betweens.
Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe/, ed., Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter, 2005.

Jack, R.D.S., /The Italian Influence on Scottish Literature/,
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1972.

Kristeller, Paul Oskar, “The European Diffusion of Italian
Humanism”, /Italica/ 39: 1962, 1-20.

Lawrence, Jason, "Who the devil taught thee so much Italian?". In
/Italian Language Learning and Literary Imitation in Early Modern
England/, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005.

Parks, George B., “The Firste Italianate Englishmen”, /Studies in
the Renaissance/ 8 (1961): pp. 197-216.

Skinner, Quentin, /The Foundations of Modern Political Thought,
Volume One: The Renaissance/, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,

Wallace, David, /Chaucerian Polity: Absolutist Lineages and
Associational Forms in England and Italy/, Stanford: Stanford
University Press, 1997.

Wallace, David, “Dante in Somerset: Ghosts, Historiography,
Periodization”, in /New Medieval Literatures 3/, ed. by D. Lawton,
W. Scase and R. Copeland, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999: 9-38.

ISAS 2011

On behalf of the ISAS officers, Advisory Board, and membership, it gives
me great pleasure to announce the official launching of ISAS 2011.

Dates: July 31-August 6, 2011
Place: Madison, Wisconsin
Theme: Anglo-Saxon England and the Visual Imagination
Submission Deadlines: September 15, 2010, with late abstracts accepted up
to October 15, 2010

Many many thanks to our host, ISAS President Jack Niles, who has been
extremely hard at work over the past year preparing for what is shaping up
to be an extraordinarily fine ISAS conference. A wealth of details on the
upcoming conference, including information on paper submission, keynote
speakers, accommodation, and excursions can be found at:

This link is also readily accessed through our own ISAS website at under 'conferences', thanks to Steve Harris, our ISAS

If anyone has questions about the conference, please don't hesitate to
contact our President Jack Niles at or myself at

The BABEL Working Group, "postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies,"

I'm a bit behind and once again trying to play catch up on announcements. This is one to note please:

The BABEL Working Group, "postmedieval: a journal of medieval
cultural studies,"
and the University of Texas at Austin will be co-hosting the conference this
coming November [4-6 November 2010], "After the End: Medieval Studies, the
Humanities, and the Post-Catastrophe," and there is still 2 weeks to submit
individual paper and session proposals. More full details on that here:

Given the contemporary debates and fretting over the future of the
humanities at
the very moment that so much work has been undertaken within the university to
dismantle traditional notions of the human, history, and time, the
moment seems
ripe for a vigorous conversation across fields and periods within the
humanities, in order to "reopen the questions of subjectivity, materiality,
discursivity, [and] knowledge" and also to "reinstall uncertainty in all
theoretical applications, starting with the primacy of the cultural
and its many
turns" [Teresa de Lauretis]. To that end, we have envisioned this
conference as
a sort of merger between pre- and early modern studies, cultural
studies, modern
studies, and queer & sexuality studies, and I hope some of you will consider
joining us for what I can promise will not be a typical conference, either in
terms of the sessions themselves, the plenary talks, or the planned social
events. Calls for papers for specific sessions being organized by
Laurie Finke &
Marty Shichtman, Jane Chance, and Anne Clark Bartlett can also be found here:

"Crises of Categorization"

"Crises of Categorization"
University of Toronto

Saturday, February 12, 2011*
* *
The University of Toronto, in partnership with the Anglo-Saxon
Studies Colloquium, invites submissions for the Seventh Annual
Graduate Student Conference of the Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium on
"Crises of Categorization."
Marjorie Garber defines crises of categorization as the “failure of
definitional distinction, a borderline that becomes permeable, that
permits of crossings from one (apparently distinct) category to
another,” in her work on the challenge of defining transvestism. This
recognition of the permeability of boundaries is particularly useful
in thinking through issues in the history and literature of
Anglo-Saxon England. For the 2011 ASSC Graduate Colloquium, we are
seeking papers which interrogate Anglo-Saxon systems of
categorization, both as they appear within the literature and
historical documents of the period and in terms of modern popular and
scholarly practices. In particular, the conference hopes to explore
points of cultural anxiety about and resistance towards hegemonic
practices of categorization.

Potential areas of investigation may include:

— Anglo-Saxon conceptions of time
— periodicity and historiography
— genre and stylistic practices
— negotiation of linguistic boundaries
— spatial discourse and practices
— representations of gender and sexuality

Please submit 250 word abstracts for 20-minute papers * by 15
November 2010. * Please include academic affiliation, e-mail address,
street address, phone number, and audio-visual requirements.
Abstracts may be sent to

— Peter Buchanan and Colleen Butler, conference organizers

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The West Virginia University Press is proud to announce Volumes 11 and 12 in our Medieval European Studies series

The West Virginia University Press is proud to announce Volumes 11 and
12 in our Medieval European Studies series:

MES 11:

Cross and Cruciform in the Anglo-Saxon World: Studies to Honor the
Memory of Timothy Reuter is edited by Sarah Larratt Keefer, Karen Louise
Jolly, and Catherine E. Karkov (PB: 978-1-933202-50-1 | $44.95) and is
the third and final volume of an ambitious research initiative begun in
1999 concerned with the image of the cross, showing how its very
material form cuts across both the culture of a society and the
boundaries of academic disciplines*history, archaeology, art history,
literature, philosophy, and religion*providing vital insights into how
symbols function within society. The flexibility, portability, and
adaptability of the Anglo-Saxon understanding of the cross suggest that,
in pre-Conquest England, at least, the linking of word, image, and
performance joined the physical and spiritual, the temporal and eternal,
and the earthly and heavenly in the Anglo-Saxon imaginative landscape.

This volume is divided into three sections. The first section of the
collection focuses on representations of “The Cross: Image and Emblem,”
with contributions by Michelle P. Brown, David A. E. Pelteret, and
Catherine E. Karkov. The second section, “The Cross: Meaning and Word,”
deals in semantics and semeology with essays by Éamonn Ó Carragáin,
Helen Damico, Rolf Bremmer, and Ursula Lenker. The third section of the
book, “The Cross: Gesture and Structure,” employs methodologies drawn
from archaeology, new media, and theories of rulership to develop new
insights into subjects as varied as cereal production, the little-known
Nunburnholme Cross, and early medieval concepts of political power.

Cross and Cruciform in the Anglo-Saxon World: Studies to Honor the
Memory of Timothy Reuter is a major collection of new research,
completing the publication series of the Sancta Crux/Halig Rod project.
Cross and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies in Honor of George
Hardin Brown, Volume 2 of Sancta Crux/Halig Rod, remains available from
West Virginia University Press.

MES 12:

Perspectives on the Old Saxon Heliand: Introductory and Critical Essays,
with an Edition of the Leipzig Fragment is edited by Valentine A. Pakis
(PB: 978-1-933202-49-5 | $44.95). Heliand, the Old Saxon poem based on
the life of Christ in the Gospels, has become more available to students
of Anglo-Saxon culture as its influence has reached into a wider range
of fields from history to linguistics, literature, and religion. In
Perspectives on the Old Saxon Heliand, Valentine Pakis brings together
recent scholarship that both addresses new turns in the field and
engages with the relevant arguments of the past three decades.
Furthering the ongoing critical discussion of both text and culture,
this volume also reflects on the current state of the field and
demonstrates how it has evolved since the 1970s.

Perspectives on the Old Saxon Heliand is the perfect complement to James
E. Cathey's Hêliand: Text and Commentary (MES 2 | PB:978-0-937058-64-0 |
$44.95) offering for the first time in English a well-edited, fully
annotated text of large segments of the poem. The commentary portion of
the book consists of an interweaving of interpretation and philological
consideration. This work presents the reader with explanatory commentary
that encompasses both the scientific and the poetic and treats them both
with equal felicity. The volume also contains a compact and serviceable
grammar of Old Saxon (with appropriate comparison to Old English
accidence for each paradigm) and an appended glossary defining all of
the vocabulary found in this edition of the Hêliand.

To order or learn more about these or other books in the series, as well
as other Medieval books (Reading Old English and The Post-Modern
Beowulf), see

3rd Annual Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference of the Institute for Medieval Research

3rd Annual Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference of the Institute
for Medieval Research, University of Nottingham Constructing and
Transmitting Identities

6 November 2010 Textual and Material
Perspectives in the Medieval World

The recent interest in 'identity politics' is testament to the enduring
importance of the construction and expression of identities in the
present and the past. Whether consciously or unconsciously, individuals
and groups in contemporary and medieval societies were constantly
formulating, evolving and accumulating their sense of self. They defined
their 'life-world' in multiple spheres, from the cultural, political and
religious to the economic, material and ethnic.

Recognising the usefulness of an interdisciplinary approach to the
question of identity, this conference encourages contributions from
postgraduates from a wide range of disciplines, incorporating
archaeological, historical, literary or sociological methods. Research
will be presented either in the form of a paper presentation or a
poster, and should address how medieval identities were constructed,
manifested and transmitted. It is hoped that a wide range of themes and
source materials, from literature to material culture, will be utilised.
Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

- Material culture and its study in social history and archaeology
- Architecture
- Music and theatre
- Gender, sexuality and the body
- Politics and trade
- Interaction between different cultures
- Art, iconography and heraldry as visual markers of identity

We welcome abstracts of c. 200 words for both paper presentations and
posters, not exceeding 250 words. Abstracts should be sent to Teva Vidal
( by 1 August, 2010. Papers should be 15-20
minutes in length. Posters should fit onto one A1 format sheet. A poster
session will be held to give presenters the opportunity to elaborate on
their posters, but we will also accept submissions for posters for
display only.

This message has been checked for viruses but the contents of an attachment
may still contain software viruses which could damage your computer system:
you are advised to perform your own checks. Email communications with the
University of Nottingham may be monitored as permitted by UK legislation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

*Iconoclasm: The Breaking and Making of Images

*Iconoclasm: The Breaking and Making of Images
University of Toronto, March 17–19, 2011
Keynote Address by Carol Mavor (Manchester) (others to be confirmed)*

The 22nd annual conference of the Centre for Comparative Literature
at the University of Toronto in March 2011 will focus on the idea of
Iconoclasm, the breaking of images and the making of icons.
The word “iconoclasm” is weighted with a long history of religious
significance, from the Byzantine war on religious icons of the 8th-
and 9th-centuries and the Protestant reformation in the 16th century,
to the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan in the 21st
century. But the idea of destroying or defacing images, especially
images that convey aspects of cultural dominance or, conversely, pose
a threat to that dominance, is as often political as religious: think
of the Chinese Cultural Revolution or graffiti moustaches. Political
iconoclasm, unlike religious iconoclasm, does not object to
representation as such but rather to certain images that have been
granted the status of icons. However, any act of desecrating symbols
of authority itself often takes on iconic status: take, for example,
photos of the pulling down of statues from Romania to Iraq.
Iconoclasm need not be visual and material and can also take abstract
and intellectual forms. Subversive, transgressive, blasphemous
writing is also iconoclastic in inspiration and function. Moreover,
the power associated with images in general and iconic images in
particular has often inspired writers to subdue the power of images
or to wrest it for themselves. The ekphrastic contest between
literature, or verbal representation, and images, or visual
representation, is very often iconoclastic in nature.
Contemporary media culture floods us with images and alters their
impact, creating ever more sophisticated organized cults around them,
such as celebrity, high art, advertising, the news, etc. Just as the
word “icon” has acquired new meanings, ranging from signs for
computer applications to logos and celebrity, so, too, iconoclasm,
the urge to deface, destroy, or alter images, takes on wholly new
We wish to examine a wide range of iconoclastic moments in order to
understand the political, ethical, and aesthetic stakes involved in
challenging the signifying power of the iconic image. Is there a
tradition of iconoclasm or is the modern icon and thus modern
iconoclasm something new? Is iconoclasm even possible, or does it
always participate in the forces of iconicity, creating, in effect,
iconoclastic icons? Subjects that are of interest to us include but
are in no way limited to:
— Classical/Antiquity (pre-5th century CE)
o Idol Worship and Biblical Images
o Mythology: Symbols, Images of Gods, Heroes, etc.
o Epic Narratives and the Performance of Lyric Poetry
o Ekphrastic imaginings
— Medieval (5th–15th centuries)
o Theories of the Imagination and Images; representations of other worlds
o Sight/Insight
o Iconography; religious iconoclasms and iconoclasts
o Mystery/Miracle plays
— Early Modern (15th–17th centuries)
o The Politics of Appropriation, Assimilation, Domination in Conquest
and Colonial documents
o Man and his God: The Vatican; The Reformation; the Council of Trent;
o Staging the World: early modern drama
o Iconic Genres: The “invention” of the Novel; Poetry and the
re-telling of myth and religion
— 18th and 19th centuries
o Innovations in Media and Technology
o Ignitions of the Enlightenment
o The rise of Decolonisation and Postcolonialism
o The turn to Revolution, the pull of Evolution
o The Gothic, the Sublime, and Romance
— 20th century to present:
o Iconoclastic genres: The reinvention of the novel (re-imagining the
novel-as-icon); Poetry’s Image/Imagination (Dadaism, Futurism,
Concrete Poetry, etc.)
o Magical Realism, Surrealism, Realism, the Fantastic
o Iconography, Fetish Images, Pop Culture, Film
o Trauma, Terrorism, Disasters, Ruins
o Icons in the Digital Age
— Theoretical Concerns
o Negative Dialectics; the question of the Negative
o The Epistemology of the Iconic Closet: Queer Icons and the
Reinvention of Tradition
o Moving through and beyond Ekphrasis
o Benjaminian Auras
o Unstaging the World: “poor theatre”; “theatre of cruelty”; “holy
theatre”; postdramatic performance art; Theatre of the Opressed, etc.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by September 10,
2010 to .
Include full name, email, affiliation, status (student, faculty,
independent scholar), a 50-word bio, and AV requirements.

Please check our website for updates:
The 2009 issue of Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval
Studies is now available at The
theme of this year's volume was 'Monsters and Monstrosities in the Middle
Ages'. We are delighted to offer all our readers three diverse
articles and three book reviews on essential works relating to this

To celebrate the fifth issue of Hortulus and to help maintain our website,
we are pleased to announce the launch of print copies of all five volumes
of the journal. These may be purchased at

Many thanks from all the staff at Hortulus.