Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Call for Papers -- Medieval Ecocriticisms

International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
May 14-17, 2015

Ecocriticism is a burgeoning area of study among a variety of fields in the humanities, and has gained particular traction among scholars of the Renaissance and Romanticism, as well as of recent literary texts and cultural artifacts.  Scholars of the medieval period have not been as quick to adopt environmentally sensitive ways of reading texts and visual images that survive from the period, but this is changing.

One important way that medieval ecocritics can engage with broader conversations about humanities and the environment is to consider what perspectives and insights the texts and material objects that survive from the medieval period can inspire, and how the study of environments of medieval period might influence the directions and conclusions of the broader field of ecocriticism. For instance, later ecocritics often assume that the Industrial Revolution occasioned a substantial shift in attitudes toward the environment.  Medieval ecocritics, however, might observe that even within pre-industrial texts, we can find a variety of ideas and ideologies about the environment, and some of those ideas might have enabled the changes that led to the industrial revolution and subsequent uses of the non-human natural world.

The proposed round-table session seeks short papers (five to eight minutes) from scholars across a variety of periods and disciplines within the broad scope of the medieval, that would show how environmentally inflected readings of medieval art, documentary and literary texts, and material artifacts can challenge and enrich contemporary studies of environment and ecology in the humanities.

The session is sponosored by Medieval Ecocriticisms. Send proposals to Heide Estes: heide.estes@agmail.com by September 15.

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