Call for Papers

54nd International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, May 9 to 12, 2019)

Deadline for submission of paper proposals is September 15, 2018


Roundtable: Periodization I: Do we need it?  Send 250-word abstracts to Katie Little

Paper panel: Periodization II: What can we do about it?  Send 250-word abstracts to Eric Weiskott

The traditional periodization of the Middle Ages no longer seems as helpful as it once was. In recent years, medievalists have begun to question and to chip away at some of the concepts that have shaped this period: the implied modernity and superiority of the Renaissance, a sense of homogeneity (religious, economic, and cultural), and Eurocentrism.  At the same time, the growing marginalization of medieval studies and the humanities more generally at the institutional level have made questions about the identity of the medieval period all the more pressing.  
These two sessions will provide a forum for reconsidering the question of periodization and identifying a path forward.  We seek brief papers for the roundtable and longer papers for the paper panel that might take up one of the following areas of inquiry from any disciplinary perspective:  
  • What is the relation between temporality and spatiality, ‘medieval’ and ‘Europe’? Do some regions require a different periodization?  
  • What are the negative or positive implications of divisions for a particular subfield, approach, author, or text? That is, does periodization prioritize certain kinds of texts, artifacts, or regions over others?
  • What role do, or should, programs or institutes of medieval studies play in addressing periodization?
  • If periodization is an institutional and/or intellectual problem, what can be done about it?
  • Are there alternative approaches to periodization, such as through the climate (Anthropocene) or social/ economic shifts (urbanization) or religious change (Reformation)?  
  • What can we learn from the history of periodization and from different disciplinary perspectives on it? 
Call for Papers for the 54nd International Medieval Congress – Sessions on Periodization

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