Friday, August 11, 2017
“Social Justice” is generally understood as the quest for empowerment, equality, and equity in all matters of civics, law, and labor, and extending as well to nature and the environment. Many universities are focusing their curricula on 21st century themes of social justice due to the rising demand placed on academia to help make sense of the rapid pace of social change in the modern world. Following on recent Kalamazoo panels, of the last three years in particular, that have looked to medieval literature as a site to explore issues of contemporary urgency such as rape culture, misogyny, and ableism, this panel investigates how the great 14th-century poem Piers Plowman both treats issues of social justice in its own time and invites, in pedagogy, dynamic engagement with issues relevant to today' world. One particular site inviting such engagement between the medieval and the modern is labor. Piers Plowman asks questions about sustainability, gainful employment, disability as it relates to labor and access, the role of government and charity as it pertains to work, the integrity of labor, and a host of other issues. The session also welcomes broader constructions of Langland and social justice issues that mediate the medieval and the modern, such as: the rhetorics of patient poverty; the visibility of disability, reimagining class distinctions; the ethics of animal-human labor; and the ongoing relation between humankind and the natural world.
Michael Calabrese (email@example.com)
Department of English
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Elizaveta Strakhov yelizaveta.strakhov@marquette.
Assistant Professor of English
Marquette Hall 242
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881