Thursday, August 17, 2017

Join Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP) at Kalamazoo2018! Proposals are due September 15.

The Language of Race in Medieval English Literature

Organizers: Robert J. Meyer-Lee and Renée R. Trilling, for the Journal of English and Germanic Philology
As much recent work has shown (e.g., Geraldine Heng in Literature Compass 2011), the category of race has a long continuous history that reaches back through the Middle Ages and beyond. Nonetheless, like all such fuzzy social concepts of long duration, precisely how that category functioned in social practice (that is, what it meant) has shifted along the vectors of time and place, making the relation between the category as we understand it now and how it was understood in the texts that we study an important area of research. The very volatility of the category in the present, and especially the abusive misappropriation of medieval ideas about race in some quarters, make this area of research especially urgent.

As the principal evidence we have for medieval ideas of race is of course linguistic, this session is interested in new work on the words and phrases in specific medieval literary texts that establish the category of race: among other things, the session is interested in the network of relations to other categories (e.g., social, ethical, religious, biological, political) that those words and phrases convey; the particular literary function of the words and phrases in their local textual contexts; and in synchronic and diachronic considerations of the relation of the words and phrases to their historical and linguistic contexts. We hope to receive submissions that individually or as a group span the Old English / Middle English divide, so that as a whole the session may examine the continuities and changes in the language of race in English across the medieval period.

The Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP), from the University of Illinois Press, has been publishing studies of medieval English, Germanic, and Scandinavian languages and literatures for over a hundred years. Since 2004 the medieval period has been the journal’s primary focus. Its published mission statement is the following:

JEGP focuses on Northern European cultures of the Middle Ages, covering Medieval English, Germanic, and Celtic Studies. The word "medieval" potentially encompasses the earliest documentary and archeological evidence for Germanic and Celtic languages and cultures; the literatures and cultures of the early and high Middle Ages in Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia; and any continuities and transitions linking the medieval and post-medieval eras, including modern "medievalisms" and the history of Medieval Studies.

JEGP’s current editors are: Robert J. Meyer-Lee (Agnes Scott College), Renée R. Trilling (University of Illinois), and Kirsten Wolf (University of Wisconsin).

Renée R. Trilling
Associate Professor of English, Medieval Studies, and Critical Theory
Associate Editor, JEGP
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801

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