Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Touching the Past (Again): Program and Registration link

Touching the Past (Again)
March 2 & 3
2019 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC

Dear friends,

Help us to celebrates TEN years of the flourishing of GW MEMSI by rethinking and revisiting our very first event, the inaugural symposium called Touching the Past. Though in profound ways 2008 seems like a different world at this vantage, the Institute remains steadfast in its foundational belief that possible futures are to be found in encountering the past anew. With an emphasis on advent and touch (widely construed: physical, emotional, cross-species, intertemporal), the symposium hopes to engender lively conversation -- and look forwards and back at once. The event includes some of the original presenters as well as many new voices.

All are welcome, but please register HERE if you intend to come. Registration is essential to having sufficient catering.

The complete program is below. Presentation abstracts may be found here.


Friday March 2
1:30 PM
Feel
Carolyn Dinshaw (New York University): Doing Medieval Sex Work in the 21st Century: John/Eleanor Rykener and the Last of the Cockettes
Julian Yates (University of Delaware): Sting
Erica Fudge (University of Strathclyde): Leaning Up Against the Flank of a Cow
Moderated by Alexa Alice Joubin

3:00 PM
Coffee


3:30 PM
Grasp
Joe Moshenska (University of Cambridge): Touching the Past, Playing the Past
Anthony Bale (Birkbeck, University of London): Being Margery Kempe
Ellen MacKay (University of Chicago): A History of Future Shocks: Jonah, Jamestown, and The Tempest's Preenactments
Moderated by Lowell Duckert

5:00 PM
Cocktail break

6:00 PM
Light dinner and revelry

Saturday March 3
9:30 AM
Breakfast  (included for all registrants)



10:30 AM
Press
Dorothy Kim (Vassar College): The Jew, The Ethiopian, and St. Margaret
Steve Mentz (St John's University and the Bookfish) : How to Act Human in the Anthropocene
Peggy McCracken (University of Michigan): Cold Stone, Warm Flesh: Pygmalion’s Touch
Moderated by Jonathan Hsy

12:00 PM
Lunch (included for all registrants)



1:30 PM
Hold
Stephanie Trigg (University of Melbourne): Sense of Touch: Absolutely Similar
Jesús Rodríguez Velasco (Columbia University): The Soul as a Time Machine
Cord Whitaker (Wellesley College): Touching the Past in the Harlem Middle Ages
Moderated by Holly Dugan

3:00 PM
Coffee


3:30 PM
Let Go
Closing discussion and charting of futures, with all panelists, moderators, organizers ... and you.

4:30 PM
Prosecco, chocolate and strawberries to celebrate ten years of GW MEMSI


Register for the symposium HERE.



Pictures used in this program are borrowed from the Dear Photograph project. Complete information (including photographers and background stories) may be found here.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Touching the Past (Again)

Touching the Past (Again)
March 2 & 3
2019 Pennsylvania Ave

Help us to celebrates TEN years of the flourishing of GW MEMSI by rethinking and revisiting our very first event, the Inaugural Symposium called Touching the Past. Though in profound ways 2008 seems like a different world at this vantage, the Institute remains steadfast in its foundational belief that possible futures are to be found in encountering the past anew. With an emphasis on advent, adventure, and touch widely construed (physical, emotional, cross-species, intertemporal) the symposium hopes to engender some lively conversation that looks forward and back at once. The event includes some of the original presenters as well as many new voices. All are welcome. Mark your calendar now!

    Carolyn Dinshaw, New York University 
    Doing Medieval Sex Work in the 21st Century: 
    John/Eleanor Rykener and the Last of the Cockettes
    In this talk I will re-visit the 1395 document that records the deposition of John Rykener, aka Eleanor, a paid sex worker caught in the act in London. I am especially interested in its afterlives in recent novels and performances. I will focus on the "dance attraction" put on in New York in 2015 by Rumi Missabu, one of the last surviving members of the legendary genderfuck performance troupe the Cockettes.

    Peggy McCracken, University of Michigan
    Cold Stone, Warm Flesh: Pygmalion’s Touch
    Moving among accounts of Pygmalion in the Roman de la rose, the Roman de la rose moralisé, and the Ovide moralisé, this paper puts metamorphosis, creation, and materiality into relation. Inspired by recent research on stone (Cohen!) and by work in new materialisms, I focus on the vivifying effect of affect, refracted in medieval Pygmalion narratives through translation, historicization, and moralization. I argue for metamorphosis as a conceptual category through which to view material transformation and the potential vitality—and even subjectivity—of objects, but also as a category that—in its medieval versions—calls for ethical engagement.   

    Julian Yates, University of Delaware 
    Sting
    To touch. Ouch! That hurt. Let’s try it again. Touch again. Retouch. Hmm. Strange energy this. Not sure where it’s coming from. Might all just be a repetition compulsion or it might be a game of fort / da. It might prove to be something else entirely. I mean why is it that I keep returning to the same sentences by Shakespeare? Sentences that pass as something we call a character—a character stung by the past, stung in the way that a bee stings—though I hear no telltale buzz, just a voice asking “Is not this a lamentable thing?”

    Steve Mentz, St John's University (and the Bookfish
    How to Act Human in the Anthropocene
    This now is out of joint. That’s what Anthropocene means: not that humans control the world, but that we have tangled our contacts with personal and geological time. Living in Anthropocene disorder requires inventing new ways to act human while being posthuman. Guidance comes from the real and imagined past, from Hamlet’s acting lessons to global pirate utopias to the salt-water Maelstrom off Norway. This lesson structures itself with three verbs: act, embark, swim. 

    Anthony Bale, Birkbeck University of London 
    Being Margery Kempe
    In this paper I will consider what is at stake in our potential identifications with Margery Kempe and how this relates to my recent work on Kempe and her Book. The paper will draw on Dinshaw's work on Kempe in her Getting Medieval, and relate this to my experience of working on a translation and edition of Kempe's Book (Oxford University Press, 2016), my research into Kempe's pilgrimages, and subsequent work on Kempe's scribe, Richard Salthouse. I will then consider the possibilities and limitations of embodied research in terms of working on a figure such as Kempe.

    Stephanie Trigg, University of Melbourne
    Sense of Touch: Absolutely Similar
    This paper will attempt to work through the complex rituals of touch involved in handling medievalist objects, with particular reference to the manuscript facsimile. In their intricate and artificial materiality, facsimiles combine the modern technological sophistication of accurate reproduction with the sensory, affective appeal of the medieval. Facsimiles are simulations: hybrid objects that blur the distinction between past and present, between the medieval and the medievalist, and between the professional and the amateur reader. This paper will explore some of the distinctive rituals and decorums that have developed around the way we handle these medievalist books.

    Dorothy Kim, Vassar College
    The Jew, The Ethiopian, and St. Margaret
    In the Early Middle English St. Margaret, Margaret is marked as a heathen by her blackened skin. This text changes the standard version of St. Margaret’s life by converting the dragon she fights into a Jew and making Margaret herself black, correlating with the other visitor to her jail cell—the blaoman, or Ethiopian. This talk works through theories of appropriation and conversion and the logics that allow this vita to practice complete bodily/religious/racial conversion, even when legal and religious discussions disallowed Jewish converts from becoming fully Christian. The talk will also consider the politics of the crusades, theories regarding blackface, and  the stakes of racial biopolitics during a time when England had crusader colonies.

    Erica Fudge, University of Strathclyde 
    Leaning Up Against the Flank of a Cow
    This talk will look at the act of milking - the everyday physical contact women had with cows, and cows had with women - in order to think about how attending to this task today (in the library not the yard) might impact our understanding of the nature and meaning of ‘family’ in early modern England.

    Ellen MacKay, University of Chicago 
    How To Know Things Without Words: 
    The Tempest's Preenactments, Jamestown's Reenactments, and the Scholarly State of Embodiment-Based Inquiry
    This paper takes up two performative iterations of the Sea Venture's wreck and recovery--one in Shakespeare's The Tempest, and the other in the heritage cultural exhibits at Jamestown, Virginia, to consider the ethical force of acting things out in vernacular history and academic historiography. By focusing on an episode that confutes the difference between performing the past and rehearsing for tomorrow, my aim is to put to question the virtue that accrues to the former and the mistrust to the latter. At the same time, I wish to keep in the repertoire of teaching and learning a rich and deliberate practice of going through history's motions.

    Jesús Rodríguez Velasco, Columbia University 
    The Soul as a Time Machine
    In one lecture delivered in 1910, Henri Bergson suggested that the soul is what allows the body to live time, to travel across the past and across the future. Taking the lead from this idea, I will focus on texts and debates on cognitive processes, law, and temporality taking place in the Mediterranean during the central Middle Ages, in order to better understand the soul as a time machine. 

    Joe Moshenska, University of Cambridge 
    Touching the Past, Playing the Past
    This paper will begin with a set of objects, installed on the staircase of an English stately home; a series of medieval wooden sculptures of saints measuring around eighteen inches in height, their simple appearance conceals a tangled historical trajectory.  After being removed from the nearby parish church at the Reformation, these objects were given to children as dolls before being reclaimed and ensconced in their current location.  This progression – from sacred thing to plaything to art thing – is by no means unique; numerous once-holy objects were given to children in this fashion.  In this paper I argue that the object of iconoclastic child’s play opens up new perspectives from which to understand our relationship with the tangible traces and texts of the medieval and early modern past.  These multifunctional and polychronic objects suggest that the way that an object has been handled – from reverent to desecratory to playful touch – multiply its forms of significance in the present.  I will ask whether we might seek to touch the past differently if we considered various surviving objects and texts in terms of their ‘toy potential.’

    Cord Whitaker (Wellesley College) 
    Touching the Past in the Harlem Middle Ages

    W.E.B. Du Bois writes that every African-American lives a “double life…as a Negro and as an American, as swept on by the current of the nineteenth while yet struggling in the eddies of the fifteenth century.” Taking into account the Victorian popular medieval revival’s effects on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatures, this talk examines the use of medievalism by Harlem Renaissance writers such as Du Bois, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Claude McKay in order to cross temporal, disciplinary, and racial boundaries. This talk will examine how the writers of this modern literary movement, with their contemporary political aims of racial justice, touched the medieval past in order that they might engender the future they desired.


    Thursday, October 5, 2017

    The Future of the Past: Race, Inclusion, Change

    The Future of the Past: Race, Inclusion, Change

    Monday October 16 @ 3 PM
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room, Gelman Library 7th floor
    Reception to follow at the One Washington Circle Hotel

    please register here

    This symposium brings together six medievalists and early modernists for a wide ranging conversation about institutional and canon transformation, especially in in a time of intolerance; the challenge past materials pose to current racial fantasies and formations; the inhibiting factors that the unthought whiteness of the fields present; how to forge a way forward to more inclusive memberships, institutions, shared endeavors. Our hope is to sustain and intensify the energy of two recent conference sessions, "The Color of Membership" at the Shakespeare Association of America and "Whiteness in Medieval Studies" at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. This symposium welcomes everyone who would like to attend but you must register here.

    Presenters:
    Cord Whitaker, Wellesley College (and blogger at In the Middle)
    Mirage's Shimmer and the End of the White Middle Ages
    Cord J. Whitaker teaches medieval literature and the history of race at Wellesley. His articles on medieval romance, religious conflict, and race have appeared in journals such as the JEGP and the Yearbook of Langland Studies. He is the editor of “Making Race Matter in the Middle Ages,” an acclaimed issue of postmedieval. Whitaker is currently completing a book project on race and rhetoric in late medieval English literature and beginning another on Harlem Renaissance medievalism. He blogs at whatisracialdifference.com, the Albright Institute’s The Spoke, and In the Middle.

    Sierra Lomuto, University of Pennsylvania
    Medievalist Otherness: The Stakes of the "Global" in Medieval Studies 
    Sierra Lomuto is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently finishing her dissertation, Exotic Allies: Mongol Alterity in the Global Middle Ages, which traces the racial construction of Mongols within thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Latin Christian and Middle English texts, and its influence on early English colonialism. Her new research project will examine how contemporary humanitarian projects have engaged with the medieval past, particularly Chaucer, through which she hopes to reveal a counterpoint to the violent misappropriations within white supremacist movements. She co-organized the Whiteness in Medieval Studies workshop at ICMS last May and is an active member of the Medievalists of Color group.

    Kim F. Hall, Barnard College
    Invisible Blackness: What Does our Intersectionality Look Like? 
    Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and a Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College where she teaches courses in Early Modern/ Renaissance Literature, Black Feminist Studies, Critical Race Theory and Food Studies. She is the author of Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England, Othello: Texts and Contexts and The Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Gender and Material Culture in Seventeenth Century England (in production with UPENN Press. Professor Hall was the Barnard Library’s inaugural “Faculty Partner of the Year (2014) and 2015 winner of the College’s Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy for the Digital Shange Project. In 2016, Diverse Issues in Higher Education named her one of “25 Women Making a Difference in Higher Education and Beyond.” She is currently working on the book project, 'Othello Was My Grandfather': Shakespeare and Race in the African Diaspora, for which she has received grants from the NEH, the National Humanities Center and the Schomburg Center for Research in African-American Culture.

    Erika T. Lin, CUNY Graduate Center
    Institutional Structures and Cultural Change: Race, Affect, Community, and Performance
    Erika T. Lin is an Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of Shakespeare and the Materiality of Performance, which won the 2013 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies. She is currently writing a book on seasonal festivities and early modern commercial theatre, a project supported by a 2014-15 Andrew W. Mellon Long-Term Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America and is the Program Committee Chair for the SAA's 2019 meeting in Washington, DC.

    Wan-Chuan Kao, Washington and Lee University
    The Path of Totality: Precarity, Territoriality, and the Vitality Contour of Whiteness

    Wan-Chuan Kao is Assistant Professor of English at Washington and Lee University. His research interests include Chaucer, gender and sexuality, affect, and whiteness studies. His articles have appeared in Studies in the Age of Chaucerpostmedieval, and Journal of Lesbian Studies. Wan-Chuan is currently working on a monograph titled White before Whiteness that examines late medieval representations of whiteness across somatic and non-somatic figurations.

    Arthur L. Little, UCLA
    Marginalia, In-citation, and the Theoretical Critical Future of Early Modern Race
    Arthur L. Little, Jr. is Associate Professor of English at University of California, Los Angeles.  He is the author of Shakespeare Jungle Fever:  National Imperial Re-Visions of Race, Rape, and Sacrifice (Stanford) and Shakespeare and Race Theory (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, forthcoming); he is also the editor of White People in Shakespeare (in progress).  Of relevant interest here, he recently published an essay on “Re-Historiczing White Melancholia” (Shakespeare Quarterly, 2016), and recently organized and presented on a Shakespeare Association of America plenary, “The Color of Membership” (2017).


        Thursday, September 21, 2017

        The Middle Ages, the Crusades, & the Alt Right: A Symposium

        The Middle Ages, the Crusades, & the Alt Right: 
        A Symposium
        Fri, October 13, 2017
        10:00 AM – 5:00 PM EDT

        This symposium, aimed primarily at bringing together scholars and journalists, will explore some aspects of popular contemporary nostalgia for the Middle Ages, specifically the Crusades and ideas about Race. Recently, scholars and journalists alike have begun to discuss the appropriation of medieval imagery - the "Deus Vult" cross, Viking nostalgia, etc. - by white supremacists groups, such as the so-called "Alt Right." Discussions here will center around where those ideas come from, what the real Middle Ages was like, how universities are reacting to this newfound interest, and how these modern groups are themselves evolving.
        The event is open to the public, but seating is limited. Per GWU Library policy, attendees will have to show an ID to enter.
        Panels will include:
        The Crusades & Modern Politics
        • Prof. Susanna Throop (Ursinus College)
        • Prof. Suleiman Mourad (Smith College)
        Race & the Academy
        • Sierra Lomuto (Univ. of Pennsylvania)
        • Prof. Cord Whitaker (Wellesley College)
        The Nostalgia of the Alt Right
        • Jacob Siegel (Vice)
        • Elizabeth Bruenig (Washington Post)
        • TBA

        If you would like to attend, please register HERE:

        Monday, August 21, 2017

        Annual Shakespeare Lecture: Jonathan Hope




        Please join us for the George Washington University’s Medieval & Early Modern Studies Institute's 
        Annual Shakespeare Lecture and reception with Dr. Jonathan Hope

        Friday, September 8th

        Monstrous Devices or Shakespeare Machines? 
        Can computers read Hamlet for you?

        4-5:30 pm, Post Hall (on GWU's Mount Vernon Campus)
        Free and open to the publicfree shuttle to Mount Vernon campus (more information available here)

        Please join us as we celebrate the start of the academic school year with our sixth Annual Shakespeare Lecture and reception. All are welcome.

        In this talk, Professor Hope will explore how computers, digital texts, data visualization, and statistics are changing the ways we read Shakespeare. In it, Professor Hope takes up questions like: How are Shakespeare's plays different if we convert them into bags of words instead of books of pages or speeches on stages? What if we count the words instead of reading them? What if machines allow us to read everything his contemporaries printed at the same time we read Shakespeare? In doing so, Professor Hope shows how readily available tools can provide an "in" to texts that might surprise your professors and reveal how everything people tell you about Shakespeare's inventive vocabulary is wrong. Using these tools we'll see instead how surprisingly average Shakespeare turns out to be. 

        Dr. Jonathan Hope is a professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and a contributor to the Mellon-funded, interdisciplinary project Visualizing English Print. He is the author of numerous books, including Shakespeare and Language: (Arden 2010), Shakespeare's Grammar (Arden 2003), and The Authorship of Shakespeare's Plays (Cambridge UP 1994). His teaching and research focuses on the intersection of language and literature: he uses techniques from linguistics to explore literary texts as evidence for the linguistic history of English.  
        For more information contact: Holly Dugan, hdugan@gwu.edu


        All events this year celebrate the tenth year of the Institute's flourishing at GW. Thank you for your decade of support!

        Monday, June 12, 2017

        GW MEMSI 2017-18: Big Events!


        Please mark your calendar now for a symposium and a celebration as the GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (GW MEMSI) celebrates ten years of community-making and capacious welcome.


        Monday October 16
        The Future of the Past: 
        Race, Inclusion, Change
        International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room, Gelman Library 7th floor
        3 PM

        This symposium brings together six medievalists and early modernists for a wide ranging conversation about institutional and canon transformation, especially in in a time of intolerance; the challenge past materials pose to current racial fantasies and formations; the inhibiting factors that the unthought whiteness of the fields present; how to forge a way forward to more inclusive memberships, institutions, shared endeavors. Our hope is to sustain and intensify the energy of two recent conference sessions, "The Color of Membership" at the Shakespeare Association of America and "Whiteness in Medieval Studies" at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. This symposium is open to everyone who would like to attend and features:

        Cord Whitaker, Wellesley College (and blogger at In the Middle)
        Mirage's Shimmer and the End of the White Middle Ages
        Cord J. Whitaker teaches medieval literature and the history of race at Wellesley. His articles on medieval romance, religious conflict, and race have appeared in journals such as the JEGP and the Yearbook of Langland Studies. He is the editor of “Making Race Matter in the Middle Ages,” an acclaimed issue of postmedieval. Whitaker is currently completing a book project on race and rhetoric in late medieval English literature and beginning another on Harlem Renaissance medievalism. He blogs at whatisracialdifference.com, the Albright Institute’s The Spoke, and In the Middle.

        Sierra Lomuto, University of Pennsylvania
        Medievalist Otherness: The Stakes of the "Global" in Medieval Studies 
        Sierra Lomuto is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently finishing her dissertation, Exotic Allies: Mongol Alterity in the Global Middle Ages, which traces the racial construction of Mongols within thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Latin Christian and Middle English texts, and its influence on early English colonialism. Her new research project will examine how contemporary humanitarian projects have engaged with the medieval past, particularly Chaucer, through which she hopes to reveal a counterpoint to the violent misappropriations within white supremacist movements. She co-organized the Whiteness in Medieval Studies workshop at ICMS last May and is an active member of the Medievalists of Color group.

        Kim F. Hall, Barnard College
        Invisible Blackness: What Does our Intersectionality Look Like?
        Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and a Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College where she teaches courses in Early Modern/ Renaissance Literature, Black Feminist Studies, Critical Race Theory and Food Studies. She is the author of Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England, Othello: Texts and Contexts and The Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Gender and Material Culture in Seventeenth Century England (in production with UPENN Press. Professor Hall was the Barnard Library’s inaugural “Faculty Partner of the Year (2014) and 2015 winner of the College’s Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy for the Digital Shange Project. In 2016, Diverse Issues in Higher Education named her one of “25 Women Making a Difference in Higher Education and Beyond.” She is currently working on the book project, 'Othello Was My Grandfather': Shakespeare and Race in the African Diaspora, for which she has received grants from the NEH, the National Humanities Center and the Schomburg Center for Research in African-American Culture.

        Erika T. Lin, CUNY Graduate Center
        Institutional Structures and Cultural Change: Race, Affect, Community, and Performance
        Erika T. Lin is an Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of Shakespeare and the Materiality of Performance, which won the 2013 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies. She is currently writing a book on seasonal festivities and early modern commercial theatre, a project supported by a 2014-15 Andrew W. Mellon Long-Term Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America and is the Program Committee Chair for the SAA's 2019 meeting in Washington, DC.

        Wan-Chuan Kao, Washington and Lee University
        The Path of Totality: Precarity, Territoriality, and the Vitality Contour of Whiteness

        Wan-Chuan Kao is Assistant Professor of English at Washington and Lee University. His research interests include Chaucer, gender and sexuality, affect, and whiteness studies. His articles have appeared in Studies in the Age of Chaucer, postmedieval, and Journal of Lesbian Studies. Wan-Chuan is currently working on a monograph titled White before Whiteness that examines late medieval representations of whiteness across somatic and non-somatic figurations.

        Arthur L. Little, UCLA
        Marginalia, In-citation, and the Theoretical Critical Future of Early Modern Race
        Arthur L. Little, Jr. is Associate Professor of English at University of California, Los Angeles.  He is the author of Shakespeare Jungle Fever:  National Imperial Re-Visions of Race, Rape, and Sacrifice (Stanford) and Shakespeare and Race Theory (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, forthcoming); he is also the editor of White People in Shakespeare (in progress).  Of relevant interest here, he recently published an essay on “Re-Historiczing White Melancholia” (Shakespeare Quarterly, 2016), and recently organized and presented on a Shakespeare Association of America plenary, “The Color of Membership” (2017).


        Friday and Saturday, March 2 & 3
        Touching the Past (Again)
        This event celebrates ten years of the flourishing of GW MEMSI by rethinking and revisiting our very first event, the Inaugural Symposium called Touching the Past. Though in profound ways 2008 seems like a different world at this vantage, the Institute remains steadfast in its foundational belief that possible futures are to be found in encountering the past anew. With an emphasis on advent, adventure, and touch widely construed (physical, emotional, cross-species, intertemporal) the symposium hopes to engender some lively conversation that looks forward and back at once. The event includes some of the original presenters as well as many new voices: