CfP: Medieval Studies Conference, May 2023, Two Sessions on Pre-Modern Islamicate Lit.

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The Great Lakes Adiban Society seeks abstracts for two sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 11-13, 2023. Abstracts are due before Sept. 15, 2022, via the ICMS website.

Panel One: Translation in Islamicate Contexts: Portals, Frames, and Epistemes, ID# 3707

When—and when not—to translate? Historically, many of the landmark texts of Islamic knowledge and tradition, notably the Qur'an and Sa'di’s Gulistan, were studied in the original language. Other influential cycles, like fables, stories of the Prophets, romances, and narratives of travel and history, were repeatedly translated and adapted into new forms and genres. In the past, translation was part of the everyday processes of literary production and circulation, and today translation strategies continue to open meaning among texts geared for both specialists and the wider public, from monographs to comics or films. This panel intends to explore these complex dynamics by posing the notion of translation as the transmutation of epistemological, corporeal, and literary frames between worlds and ways of knowing.

The Great Lakes Adiban Society seeks papers that consider both translation in and translation of the pre-modern Islamicate world. Multilingual writers working across traditions were constantly “moving” topics, ideas, and motifs from one context to another, bridging time, space, materials, and even the senses themselves. Through this approach, we aim to host a variety of scholars studying Islamicate literary, visual, historical, and material traditions of the pre-modern world for a discussion on how translation both broadens and creates epistemological and artistic frames.

The format for this panel is blended: both in-person and virtual. If you cannot visit Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2023 we encourage you to apply. 

Before September 15, 2022, apply here for Translation:


Panel Two: Prosimetrum in Islamicate Literatures: Bridges, Representations, and Dialogues, ID#3711 

Islamicate prosimetra constructed productive and complex links between poetics and politics and across visual and textual registers to structure memory, community, and civic life. The admixture of prose and poetry in Islamicate writing is so widespread that it often becomes invisible — a textual feature we simply take for granted. Says the poet,

From salons to serais, both base and sublime

the bounds of genre blurred.

As speech both measured and unrhymed

built bridges with the word.

Within these contexts, scholarly boundaries of genre often blurred, as history, lyric, prose, and panegyric easily inhabited the same textual, auditory, and visual registers among authors composing for the court, the Sufi hospice, or the literary marketplace. 

The panel seeks papers that both unpack the interaction of prose and poetry and consider the broader uses of prosimetrum among single works, scribal traditions, and performative settings. By exploring these aspects of prosimetra as a form of conceptual bridge-building, we hope to generate a discussion that will help scholars approach the use of this textual form with newfound insight and appreciation. To facilitate a broad engagement with Islamicate prosimetra from the pre-modern world, this panel has an interdisciplinary focus, seeking scholars with backgrounds in languages, literature, music, history, art, religions, and philosophy.

This panel will be in-person.

Before September 15, 2022, apply here for Prosimetra: