Friday, October 5, 2007

Theorizing the Early Middle Ages


Theorizing the Early Middle Ages, March 27-30 2008, Pacific University,

Theorizing the Early Middle Ages is an interdisciplinary conference
designed to foster and even invent cross-disciplinary, theoretical
discussion and exchange concerning the sex/gender system, concepts of
space, ritual, and other aspects of early medieval studies (c. 500-1000)
that lend themselves to theoretical analysis within its various
historical, material, liturgical, and literary contexts. The conference
planners ideally seek contributions from literary scholars, queer
theorists, architectural historians, art historians, paleographers,
medical historians, political historians, social historians, church
historians, and economic historians interested in the application of
theoretical analysis of “Dark Age” cultural, sex/gender, and class
systems. Equally, the organizers are looking for theoretically
adventurous submissions, ones arguing for the full inclusion of the
early medieval era within broader works on sexed, medical, and
architectural bodies, spaces, images, and behaviors. Proposals that
focus on “Dark Age” clerical and warrior bodies, wealthy and servile
bodies, and male and female bodies would be especially welcome.
Plenary Speakers:
Theorizing the Early Middle Ages will showcase two plenary speakers:
• Professor and Loyola Faculty Scholar, Allen J. Frantzen (Loyola
University Chicago). Professor Frantzen’s research interests include
Old and Middle English literature, literary history, history of
sexuality, gay and lesbian studies, literary theory and criticism,
textual criticism, gender and domestic space. Notable publications:
Before the Closet: Same-Sex Love from Beowulf to Angels in America
(Chicago, 1998); Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice, and World War I
(Chicago, 2004); the electronic edition of the Anglo-Saxon penitentials
available at; and a collection of essays co-edited
with archaeologist John Hines, Caedmon’s Hymn and Material Culture in
the World of Bede (West Virginia, 2007).

• Professor Dame Janet (aka ‘Jinty’) Nelson (King’s College,
University of London). Professor Nelson’s research interests include
women and gender, gendering the Carolingian court, sexuality and gender
trouble among the Carolingian nobility and royalty, and competitive
corporeal styles between monks and knights. Notable publications:
Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe (London, 1986); The
Frankish World (London, 1996); and Rulers and Ruling Families in Earlier
Medieval Europe (London, 1999).

The Venue:
Pacific University is a forward-thinking, private institution known for
providing comprehensive liberal arts and professional education.
Pacific's main campus is located in Forest Grove, Oregon, a distinctive
location that offers the best of many worlds. It combines the vibrant
metropolitan life of nearby Portland, the charm and serenity of the
fertile Tualatin Valley, and the stark beauty of the Oregon Coast. As
part of the conference activities, the organizers will host an opening
reception at McMenamins (a local brewery), and arrange a dinner at a
local vineyard, a second dinner at Pittock Mansion in downtown Portland,
and a trip to the Oregon Coast. Paper Abstracts:
If you would like to read a paper at Theorizing the Early Middle Ages,
please send a two-hundred word abstract along with a current CV to:

Lynda Coon
Department of History
Old Main 416
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Or by e-mail:

Deadline for submitting abstracts: November 1, 2007. The organizers
will have a complete schedule for the conference by late January 2008.
Please contact us if you have any questions or need additional

Conference Organizers:
Lynda Coon (History, University of Arkansas,

Beth Hudson (Willamette University,

Martha Rampton (History, Pacific University and Director, Center for
Women and Gender Equity, Pacific University

Kim Sexton (Architecture, University of Arkansas,

Conference Sponsor:
History Department
Pacific University
2043 College Way
Forest Grove, Oregon 97116
Phone: 503 352 2772

Fax: 503 352 3195

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