We would like to present a call for papers for the following two sessions on medievalism and the modern Middle Ages for the 2018 Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI:
1. “Can These Bones Come To Life?” 1: Authenticity in Re-construction, Re-enactment, and Re-creation
We invite historians, scholars of literature, archaeologists, musicologists, theater historians and performers, as well as recreationist-performers such as dancers, musicians, historical fencers, brewers, and textile researchers to submit papers for a unique interdisciplinary session on the insights into history that can be gained from attempts to reconstruct medieval arts, as well as the historiographical issues involved in such work. For this year’s first session, we would like to examine the fraught idea of “authenticity” in all its meanings, from the sense of “verisimilitude to a historical artifact” usually used in reenactment circles; to whether a performance of a piece of music, dance, or fencing match can ever be “authentic”; to the philosophical sense of “authenticity” in the sense of “being true to one’s (socially constructed) self” and its implications for the place of medievalist hobbies in the modern habitus (including ideas of race, class, and gender); to the ways in which an idea of “authentic” national culture can be used to turn such activities to troublesome ends.
2 “Can These Bones Come To Life?” 2: Authority in Re-construction, Re-enactment, and Re-creation
For our second session, we would like to interrogate the idea of “authority.” Who is an authority in recreation/reenactment? What is an “authoritative” recreation? How can authority be gained or lost? How does this either correspond to, or challenge, academic notions of authority? When should academics step in to challenge incorrect or troublesome ideas? Possible subjects for papers include sociological examinations of the peerage system or idea of “renown” in the Society for Creative Anachronism, the dismissal of scholarly authority the historical martial arts movement in favor of a “do it yourself” model, and the permeable boundaries between scholars and performers in early music, dance, and theater. Is authority of academic medievalists on the wane, in favor of a vision of a Middle Ages ruled by self- (or crowd-) appointed authorities and the entertainment industry? Finally, how do scholarly claims to “expertise” match with our living in a post-factual world?
Note that all papers will have the opportunity to be published in our ongoing series of proceedings.
Please send abstracts of up to 300 words, current CV, and the Participant Information Form (available on the Congress’ Submissions page, http://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to ken -at- kenmondschein dot com by September 10, or sooner if possible.