“Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo...” Thus begins the Vulgate rendition of Jeremiah’s Lamentations, a prophetic book in which memorializing lost political and religious wholeness takes the form of a complex temporality in which present lament for the past reaches forward even into the future. Laments—and their liturgical, poetic, and artistic relations—marked particularly crucial moments associated with ends and what’s left after things are over: death and apocalypses, survivors and remnants.
Indiana University Medieval Studies Institute announces its Spring Symposium, to be held April 4-6. On the topic of lamentation, the symposium would like to pose a broad range of possible questions: What social, political, ethical, or aesthetic purposes do laments or their figurations serve? Who—or what, for that matter—is allowed to lament? Where and when is lament appropriate? Who or what is one allowed to lament for? What places or people(s) have laments left out?
Potential paper topics include, but are not limited to:
-Laments over loss of cities, battles, or leaders
-Religious laments and commentaries
-Apocalyptic visions; utopian visions
-Love complaints and their parodies
-Melancholy; enjoying mourning
-Tragic drama; performing lament; embodied affects
-Illustrations of sorrow in funerary art and manuscript illumination
-Ceremonial observances like funeral orations and eulogies
-Survivor stories; captive narratives
-The process of mourning and grief as understood in the Middle Ages
-Non-human lament or sorrow
-Lament, spatiality, and temporality; spaces reserved for lament, burial, or grief
Abstracts for twenty-minute papers are welcome from scholars across all fields relevant to the study of the Middle Ages, broadly conceived. In keeping with the Medieval Studies Institute’s interdisciplinary mission, we invite submissions in areas including but not limited to art history, history, language, literature, musicology, philosophy, and religious studies.
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