Graduate Medievalists at Berkeley (GMB) invites papers for a session at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, to be held May 14-17, 2015, that place the discipline of Medieval Studies in conversation with the theoretical concept of transnationalism.
The past decade has seen an increased attention to writers and works outside of siloed national canons. In contemporary literary studies, this attention has produced the “transnational turn” in English departments and a burgeoning body of scholarship on the francophonie in French departments. For medievalists, whose objects of study predate the nation-state and invariably emerge from a state of Latin-vernacular diglossia, this cross-disciplinary drive has produced a wealth of new insights: from Keith Busby’s provocative suggestion of a medieval francophonia to Alfred Thomas' and Michael Van Dussen’s respective studies of Anglo-Bohemian relations, meaningful new connections across premodern borders continue to emerge.
Very little work in Medieval Studies has explicitly engaged with the concept of transnationalism, however, even as medievalists have increasingly embraced other modern theoretical approaches such as postcolonialism and feminism. This panel looks to pose questions such as: what does it mean to describe transnationalism in a period before the nation-state? How can scholarship on the movement of medieval peoples, languages, and cultures across pre-national borders contribute to conversations and debates about transnationalism? Is it possible to speak of transnationalism before the nation? Given that recent work on contemporary transnationalism, such as Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih’s seminal volume on “minor transnationalism,” has framed itself as a corrective to the oversights and limitations of postcolonial studies, how might a transnational perspective be useful in thinking about “postcolonial medievalism” and postcolonialism’s currency in Medieval Studies throughout the last decade and a half? What does explicit engagement with transnationalism have to offer medievalists – perhaps alongside other approaches and methodologies, or in place of them?
We welcome papers that address any aspect of the Middle Ages through the lens of or in relation to transnationalism, as well as those that engage in broader metacritical reflection on the place of transnationalism in the discipline of Medieval Studies.
Please send abstracts of 500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline:September 15th.
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