The Return to Medievalism in the 21st Century
Lauren Beck (Mount Allison University)
Ailén Cruz (Australian National University)
With many signs that modernity and the eminence of western culture may be in decline, it is timely to consider alternatives to modernity that may improve (decolonization) or complicate (medievalism) our current cultural inheritance, particularly its relationship to medievalisms, and medievalist practices and ideologies. Although contemporary western culture and society are shaped by the modern and colonial, fewer scholarly connections have been made between the period that preceded modernity, and its impact on contemporary ideology, practices, and culture at large.
This volume seeks to explore the medieval roots of contemporary trends in several aspects of western life, including healthcare and wellness practices, identity constructions, and perspectives on the non-human. We welcome proposals from all disciplines, including but not limited to the arts, economics, media studies, political sciences, critical theory, philosophy, and urban planning. The four themes for this edited collection will be as follows:
What medieval practices have influenced contemporary practices and attitudes in the healthcare and wellness industries? Might medievalism in health and wellness practices be interpreted as a distrust of institutions? Which demographics benefit most from the appropriation of these traditions? Might these practices speak to an oversimplification of our understanding of their medieval counterparts?
Non-human, eco-criticism, bioethics
How has medieval ideology on the non-human contributed to current ontological constructions? Do contemporary interpretations further or challenge these medieval presuppositions? Why might the appropriation of medieval media (i.e. bestiaries, medieval art as the base for memes, etc.) be alluring for contemporary creators and their audiences?
Have certain aspects of medieval religious fervor resurfaced in contemporary society? What might this resurgence, as well as the new hallmarks they bear, indicate? How could medieval methods of information interpretation relate to current dissemination and the growing number of extremist manifestations?
How might women, people of colour, and other minorities be impacted by a decline in modernity that seems to collide at times with the ascent of medievalism? What does this trend toward medievalism foreshadow for western culture and society? Who benefits and who loses from neomedievalism? How do medieval race constructs impact contemporary society? What successful genres (i.e. within literature, entertainment, music, etc.) bear the mark of medieval ideology?
Please send a 500-word abstract, along with a short biography to:
Dr. Lauren Beck (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Ailén Cruz (email@example.com)
Lauren Beck holds the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter at Mount Allison University. She pursues research intently focused on questions of race, gender, and visuality in the late medieval and early modern periods. Her recent books include Illustrating el Cid, 1498-Today (2019) and Firsting in the Early Modern Atlantic World (2019).
Ailén Cruz received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2020 and is currently a Lecturer at the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics for the Australian National University. Her research focuses on the resurgence of the medieval bestiary in contemporary Hispanic literature. Her articles on this research are forthcoming in Hispanic Review and Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos.