Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
7th -8th of February 2011.
Otherness in medieval society could be defined in many ways, typically by outward signs of difference. In a society where animals were polysemous and good to think with, it is unsurprising to find them regularly deployed in constructions of otherness. This meeting of the Medieval Animal Data Network (MAD) aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to consider the diverse use of animals in constructions of otherness. It encompasses not only conceptualised difference, but also physical societal differences expressed in the varied treatment of real and imagined animals. The meeting also encompasses the use of animals to emphasise contrast more broadly, such as the juxtaposition between good and evil, or positive and negative features. Key topics include, but are not restricted to:
• Animals as paradigms for the known and unknown.
• Animals used to define the normative and the forbidden/deviant.
• Animals used in defining alternative world views.
• Breaching and enforcing societal boundaries through specific forms of animal exploitation (e.g. the consumption of horses and dogs in Christian contexts; the consumption of pork in Jewish and Muslim contexts).
• Animals as symbols of oppressors and the persecuted.
Data and approaches may come from analyses of medieval art, material culture (zooarchaeology) and texts. The aim of the conference is to create an interesting cross-discipline forum for exploring a fundamental dimension of medieval European society.
Please email proposed paper titles and abstracts of 200 words, with accompanying name and institution details, to either Mónica A. Walker Vadillo (email@example.com) or Alice Choyke (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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