Wednesday, August 24, 2016

CFP: Teaching the Edda and Sagas in the Undergraduate Classroom (Roundtable)

by Ilse Schweitzer
Call for presenters for roundtable session at International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI (May 11-14, 2017)
In this roundtable session, participants will share short papers detailing their most innovative strategies, approaches, and experiences incorporating the medieval Icelandic Edda and sagas into university-level curricula and coursework. The Poetic andProse Edda, among the most thorough and valuable textual sources for our understanding of Norse myth, are rich with possible teaching applications, from lessons in cosmogony to poetic structure and language. Likewise, the Old Norse sagas recount, in deceptively spare style, the history of the Scandinavian conquest of Iceland and beyond, the fragile creation of a new society, and the omnipresent threat of violence and feud, set against natural and supernatural dangers. While these texts can spur dynamic and memorable class discussions, medievalists in traditional academic departments may not have regular opportunities to incorporate the Icelandic material into our syllabi. Further, as more medievalists find ourselves teaching further afield from our areas of expertise, we may be responsible for creating and covering courses in rhetoric and composition, or introductory courses in literature, history, and humanities, without much opportunity to offer a specific course in Icelandic literature, history, or culture.
Presenters may address such topics as how they have used the Edda and/or sagas in “conventional” literature courses, special topics classes, and surveys of medieval literature (which texts they have chosen to teach, and why); how these texts can be used to teach rhetoric and composition; which texts might be incorporated into an Old Norse translation course; how much historical, cultural, and legal background may be necessary in order to properly contextualize a saga for an undergraduate audience; how we can help our students to navigate the challenging linguistic and stylistic aspects of these texts; how texts can be taught in a mythology, history, or sociological course to reflect how a society defines and understands itself; how these texts can be presented in various theoretical frameworks (gender and sexuality studies, environmental studies, postcolonial studies, etc.); how teaching the Edda and sagas offer opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and research; how instructors have brought pop culture incarnations of these texts into coursework. Participants are encouraged to share assignments, syllabi, reading lists, resources, and activities with the panel and with our audience. 
To propose a short paper, send an abstract of about 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here) to by September 14, 2016. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions.

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