Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1.       Anatomizing Melancholy and Reliving Depression (a roundtable)
This session will be open to a diverse range of approaches, but we will be particularly interested in medievalists’ open experiences of mood disorders and how their work on the Middle Ages has helped, hindered, or informed their experience of depression—and, naturally, if and how modern experiences of depression help us understand the experience of melancholia. By exploring these issues transhistorically, I hope that this roundtable will both further our understanding of medieval melancholia and contribute to efforts among contemporary medievalists to foreground mental health issues in the academy that are increasingly affecting our colleagues and students.

2.       Getting Down with Anglo-Saxons: Depression and Related Conditions before the Conquest
 The second session will be a panel of three or four papers that focuses on the phenomenology of “depressive states” in Anglo-Saxon England. Our goal will be to identify, if possible, commonalities between negative mental/emotional states in Anglo-Saxon society and culture that allow us to formulate and perhaps explain a pathology of mood disorders that is specific to this time and place, just as modern-day depression is thought to be a product of our social and cultural environments. Following on from the work of scholars like Leslie Lockett and Antonina Harbus, this session builds upon recent work in cognitive approaches to Anglo-Saxon culture, as well as tapping in to current trends in the burgeoning field of the “history of emotions.”

Please contact Chris Abram ( with proposals or requests for further information.

Associate Professor of EnglishUniversity of Notre Dame 

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