Friday, January 25, 2019

CFP, CML Symposium. Moving Forms: The Transformations and
Translocations of Medieval Literature (Athens, Sep 11-13, 2019)
by Kristin Bourassa
.... Call for Papers. Moving Forms: The Transformations and Translocations of
     Medieval Literature.

The movement of people and books across space and time - mobility and
portability – were driving forces of medieval European literary and
intellectual culture. Men and women, clerical and secular, constructed
extensive social networks and communities through travel, written
communication, and the exchange of texts. Shared literary practices and forms
occurred at the regional and transregional levels, defining local identities
and forging links between people separated by distance and time. Around the
North Sea and Baltic littorals, legends from the Norse sagas, for instance,
were taken up by writers. On a larger scale, people from north-western Europe
to China exchanged stories of Barlaam and Josephat, while tales of Alexander
are found from India to Ireland; in both cases, transmission was facilitated
by the movement of people along the Silk Road. Rather than a full picture,
often we are left with a set of trails, traces and clues that challenge us to
create narratives out of the fragments.

*This symposium aims to contribute to the understanding of medieval
literature through the development of methodologies which examine the
intersection of social networks and communities with literary forms.* We
welcome papers that attend to the agency of people (men and women), genres
(literary, scientific, philosophical, legal etc.), modes (verse, poetry,
prose), styles, texts and manuscripts (book types, layouts, images) in
creating literary links across space and time. Building on the practices of
both comparative literature and entangled history, the symposium will open up
connections between literary cultures often considered to be separate. At the
same time, and of equal importance, it will be alert to the absence of
connections, to discontinuities, exposing the diversities and ruptures of
medieval literature, as well as the commonalities.

By following the movement of forms and tracing social connections from
Antiquity to the Renaissance, we will interrogate both geographies and
chronologies of medieval European literature. Always keeping the intersection
of the social and the formal in view, the symposium will move back and forth
between small and large scales of time and place: the local, the
transregional, the European, and the Afro-Eurasian. Issues of morphology,
scale and periodization will be central to discussion, enabling conversations
across a wide range of material to gain traction. The symposium will bring
together methodological and theoretical contributions, addressing the
intersection of people and forms; we welcome papers that work on large scale
typological models as well as papers that address broader issues though
closely-worked case studies.

Questions to consider include:

 * How do we move from specific examples to writing/formulating larger
   narratives, from the micro to the macro, from the close up to the
   panoramic, without falling into generalizations?
 * What are the advantages and disadvantages of existing methodologies that
   account for the movement of objects, texts and people through space (e.g.
   histoire croisée, actor network theory, global history, etc.)?
 * How does medieval Europe fit into a wider Afro-Eurasian space? How does
   Europe divide into and participate in regional geographies?
 * How conscious were medieval people of new forms as a dimension of cultural
 * What role does the modern historical imagination have to play in
   recreating social networks and formal encounters?
 * How do medieval theories of cultural movement (e.g./ translatio imperii
   et studii/, spoliation, etc.) enable us to explain the transmission of
   literary forms?

.... Format

The symposium will meet over three days, with each day including 3 panels
with three speakers. Papers will last 20 minutes and be followed by 45
minutes of discussion per panel. Since the substantial discussion following
the papers is as important as the papers themselves, papers will not be
allowed to overrun. Each session will have a respondent/moderator who will
read papers in advance of the session and launch the discussion of their
session through a short reflective invitation. For this reason, we ask that
all papers be given in English. Speakers are asked to frame their research in
ways which are simultaneously sophisticated /and/ inviting of exchange with
colleagues working across the literatures of medieval Europe (including
Byzantium, and Islamic Spain and Sicily) and its neighbours. We welcome
proposal for individual papers and for panels.

There will be a modest amount of preparatory theoretical reading in advance
of the symposium.

.... Publication

We anticipate publishing extended versions of a selection of papers from the
workshop in a special issue of /Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European

.... Venue

The symposium will take place in the Danish Institute at Athens, conveniently
located in the Plaka. There are many tavernas, cafes and restaurants nearby.

.... Cost

There will be no charge to attend the symposium. There will be a charge to
cover the cost of the symposium dinner. Delegates are responsible for
covering the cost of their travel and accommodation. A small number of
bursaries will be available for PhD students and early career scholars, for
further information contact Kristin Bourassa ( [4]).

.... Abstracts

*Please send short abstracts (250 words) and a brief CV (1/2 page) to George
Younge ( [5]) by 1st March 2019. Panel proposals
should include overview (100 words) and abstracts and CVs (as above) for all

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