Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Perspectives on European Migration: England's Medieval Immigrants (November 10)

Please join us in the new opened National Churchill Library and Center (GW's Gelman Library, 1st floor) for our next GW MEMSI event:

Perspectives on European Migration: 
England's Medieval Immigrants 
November 10 2016 at 4 PM
Professor Sarah Rees Jones (History, University of York) 

Between 1330 and 1550 the record-keeping habits of English royal government preserved the names, nationalities and other personal information about over 65,000 aliens living with the kingdom. Those people came from all parts of Europe, and occasionally from beyond. They were received with varying degrees of warmth, appreciation, suspicion and hostility. Sometimes they were given special rights; other times, they were subjection to close regulation. Throughout, they fulfilled a very wide range of functions in the economy and society. You were probably never more than ten miles from an alien in late medieval England. In this presentation and discussion, Sarah Rees Jones will share the capabilities of a new database, 
England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550: Resident Aliens in the Late Middle Ages (www.englandsimmigrants.com), as well as exploring some of the wider research that has been enabled by the new resource. The implications are never more timely than now, with 'Brexit' dominating the political agenda in the United Kingdom and debates about immigration raging in many countries across the western world. Participants are actively encouraged to bring other time periods, and their own perspectives, to this debate, and thus to appreciate the deep and multiple historical reverberations of a 'problem' too often assumed to be only a contemporary phenomenon.


The event is free and warmly welcomes anyone who wishes to attend. The National Churchill Library and Center contains some fascinating displays of materials taken from the Churchill archive and is a space that welcomes inquiry especially into Britain's global present and past. For admission to the library, you will need to present a picture ID at the Gelman entrance and inform the desk attendant that you are attending an open-to-the-public event at the Churchill Center. 



Friday, October 7, 2016

REFUGE: A Symposium (October 28)

From Patience Agbabi, "The Refugee Tales Walk"
October 28 2016

REFUGE  

a symposium

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room [Gelman Library 702]  
3 PM

A wide-ranging conversation on global migration, refugees, crisis, pedagogy, performance, and home -- medieval to early modern to contemporary. Featuring:


‘I thought I forget in this life but I never forget’
Modeled on The Canterbury TalesThe Refugee Tales (Comma Press, 2016) is an anthology of poems and stories based on recorded interviews with refugees, asylum seekers and those who support them. Patience Agbabi is celebrated for her own retelling of Chaucer’s original, Telling Tales (Canongate, 2014). She will read ‘The Refugee’s Tale’, in which a woman is forced to leave her native Sudan to forge a new life in the UK. Agbabi views her work as a collaboration, a crown of sonnets incorporating many phrases from the original interview, privileging the voice of the refugee.

Pamela L. Troyer
At What Cost? -- Contemporary Analogues to a Medieval Tale
Non-medievalists do not always understand how relevant medieval studies is to immigrant and refugee students working to get a college education. They assume that this period is perversely arcane to students who are not of European descent and who do not have English as a first language. To test this assumption, I have introduced Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale to a number of unexpected and unsuspecting readers. So far I have found that the experiences of the displaced and marginalized in my community are directly analogous to the traumas that affected people in the Middle Ages. Refugee and immigrant students find Custance's peripatetic suffering plausible and accessible. Professionals find analogies to Custance's story in the Immigration and Nationality Act, Pulitzer-prize-winning journalism, and immigration art. Nonetheless, when I submitted an article on the project to a journal, one blind reviewer wrote that these reader experiences are "counter-educational" and "all about getting people to talk -- whatever the cost." I'm not sure what the cost is. And to whom or to what?

Motion Sickness
Movement disorients bodies. When shaken, bodies seek stable refuge – whether the bodies in question comprise shipwrecked sailors, strife-torn nations, dislocated asylum-seekers, or confused students. Three experimental revisions of classical literature – Caroline Bergvall’s Drift (2014), which mashes up “The Seafarer” with the Left-to-Die boat of Algerian refugees; David Hadbawnik’s new translation of Virgil’s Aeneid (2015); and Stephen Collis’s “The Lawyer’s Tale” (2016) revision of Chaucer – show stories responding to unsettling movement. Motion sickness results from the conflict between a body’s need for refuge and the sea’s disorienting flux.

Jonathan Hsy
Storytelling Ethics: The Refugee Crisis in Words and Images
How are academics activists, and how are activists academic? This talk explores how academic and para-academic communities use art to respond to the global refugee crisis. How do artists, academics, and activists come together to tell migration stories and to build empathy with people whose life experiences seem entirely alien? I consider the collaborative, mobile Refugee Tales Project (based in the UK), JE SUIS AVEC EUX / I AM WITH THEM (a “photo manifesto for refugees” by Paris-based photographer Anne A-R), and online podcasts associated with the historical database "England’s Immigrants 1330-1550.”

RESPONSE

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

5th Annual Shakespeare Lecture: Kathy Rowe (Provost, Smith University)

The George Washington University’s Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare  
Annual Shakespeare Lecture and reception with


Dr. Katherine Rowe

Virtual Globe Theatres (Playgoing in a Networked World)

Friday, September 9th  3:30-5:30 pm
Post Hall, GWU Mount Vernon Campus
Free and open to the public.
Free shuttle to Mount Vernon campus (more information available here)

Please join us as we celebrate the start of the academic school year with our fifth Annual Shakespeare Lecture.

Dr. Katherine Rowe is Provost and Dean of Faculty at Smith College. She is the author of Dead Hands: Fictions of Agency, Renaissance to Modernco-author (with Thomas Cartelli) of New Wave Shakespeare on Screenand editor of Evans Shakespeare Edition of MacbethA scholar of literature and media history, she is co-founder of Luminary Digital Media, a social reading platform that is bringing literary works to mobile devices, including iPad apps of the Folger Library Shakespeare editions.
Generously sponsored by GWU’s Medieval & Early Modern Studies Institute 

For more information contact: Holly Dugan, hdugan@gwu.edu


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

GW MEMSI 2016-17 Calendar



For a complete GW MEMSI calendar with up to date information about all our 2016-17 events, follow this link.





The GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (GW MEMSI) was founded in 2008 by faculty and students in the departments of English, History, Political Science, Spanish, Italian and French. We have quickly grown to include twenty-three professors and numerous students in seven departments, making us the largest humanities initiative at GW. Our mission is to bring fresh critical perspectives to the study of the literature and culture of early Europe within a global perspective, connecting the past to the present.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

PLAY @ #Kzoo2016

If you are attending the International Congress of Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI this week, please come to the GW MEMSI sponsored session on PLAY (Friday May 13 at 1.30 PM in Bernhard 209). Interesting swag and inventive presentations! Bring your ludic lunacy!


Playing with Style in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Eric Weiskott, Boston College
Eric Weiskott is Assistant Professor of English at Boston College. His research centers on meter and poetics (what makes poetry tick). His first book, English Alliterative Verse: Poetic Tradition and Literary History, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. His articles have appeared in Anglo-Saxon EnglandELHModern PhilologyYearbook of Langland Studies, and elsewhere.

Play / Time
Julian Yates, Univ. of Delaware
Julian Yates is Professor of English and Material Culture Studies at University of Delaware. He is the author Error, Misuse, Failure: Object Lessons from the English Renaissance (Minnesota, 2003), which was a finalist for the Modern Language Association’s Best First Book Prize in 2003; What’s the Worst Thing You Can Do To Shakespeare? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), co-authored with Richard Burt; Object-Oriented Environs in Early Modern England (Punctum Books, 2016), co-edited with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen; and Of Sheep, Oranges, and Yeast: A Multispecies Impression which will appear in the University Minnesota Press’s posthumanities series in spring 2017.

Orm Plays on Twitter
Carla María Thomas, New York Univ.
As a Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellow in English at New York University this year, Carla María Thomas has recently (and successfully) defended her dissertation on late twelfth-century English homiletic verse. She will be a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at NYU next year as she continues to think about the development of English septenary meter and remediation in works like the Ormulum and Poema Morale for her book. Her talk today comes from her ongoing project of completing the first full translation of the Ormulum into Modern English, which she used to tweet and continues to share on her blog.

DisPlay of the Medieval Artefact
Elaine M. Treharne, Stanford Univ.
Elaine Treharne is Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford University, where she is also Co-Director of the Center of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Director of Stanford Text Technologies. She has published two dozen books and fifty or so articles on Old and Middle English manuscripts and literary culture. Her most recent book is The Very Short Introduction to Medieval Literature (OUP, 2015), and she’ll shortly publish Text Technologies: A History (StanfordUP, 2016) and The Phenomenal Book. She is the co-editor for the Oxford Textual Perspectives series.

Interplay
Allan Mitchell, Univ. of Victoria
J. Allan Mitchell is a member of the Medieval Studies Program and the Interdisciplinary Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Becoming Human: The Matter of the Medieval Child (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Ethics and Eventfulness in Middle English Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Biopolitics: Law, Life, Land, Love" at Crip Ecologies

Please join us this Thursday April 7 at 4:45 PM in the Jack Morton Auditorium (GW School of Media and Public Affairs, at the corner of H & 21st streets NW) for the GW MEMSI sponsored roundtable: 

Biopolitics: Law, Life, Land, Love 


  • Julia Watts Belser, Georgetown University, "Body, Land, Catastrophe: Lodging Loss in Ancient Jewish Disaster Narratives"
  • George Edmondson, Dartmouth College, "Physionomos"
  • Randy Schiff, SUNY Buffalo, "Elitist Body Disciplining: Animalized Exception and Population Management in Medieval Romance"
  • Sharon O’Dair, University of Alabama: "Chronic Living, Chronic Dying."
  • Jen Boyle, Coastal Carolina University, "Is There Love in the (Queer) Telematic Embrace?"

The roundtable is part of the Crip Ecologies Conference and its full schedule may be found here. Like the conference as a whole, this roundtable is free and welcomes all who wish to attend.



Friday, February 19, 2016

Drew Daniel Feb 25; "Premodern Disorder" Feb. 26

Please join us for this lecture and discussion. The event is free and welcomes all who wish to attend.

February 25 
Drew Daniel
Johns Hopkins University

"The Trouble with Comedy: From Aristotle to Zoolander"

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room [Gelman Library 702, GW Foggy Bottom Campus]
4 PM
Professor Drew Daniel of Johns Hopkins University will deliver a lecture on "The Trouble with Comedy." An expert in early modern England and a polymath, Professor Daniel is the author of The Melancholy Assemblage: Affect and Epistemology in the English Renaissance (Fordham, 2013) as well as many articles and essays. He is also one half of the electronic duo Matmos.


February 26
Premodern Disorder: 
A GWMEMSI Graduate Student Conference
Attendance is open to all! Please come and show your support for new work in the field. Keynote speakers are Sharon Kinoshita and Drew Daniel. Complete description and information may be found here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friday January 29: Elizabeth Scala, "Feminism and the F-Word"

Please join us for this lecture and discussion. The event is free and welcomes all who wish to attend.


Elizabeth Scala
University of Texas-Austin

"Feminism and the F-Word"

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room [Gelman Library 702, GW Foggy Bottom Campus]
3 PM


Elizabeth Scala, a renowned scholar of medieval literature, feminism and desire, presents a lecture on "Feminism and the F-Word." Professor Scala is an editor of the groundbreaking journal Exemplaria: Medieval / Early Modern / Theory, the co-editor of the collection The Post-Historical Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and the author of the books Absent Narratives, Manuscript Textuality, and Literary Structure in Late Medieval England (Palgrave 2002) and Desire in the Canterbury Tales (Ohio State University Press, 2015).

Monday, January 4, 2016

Spring 2016 Events

Please join us at these events during the spring semester. 
All are free and welcome anyone who would like to attend.


January 29
Elizabeth Scala
University of Texas-Austin

"Feminism and the F-Word"

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room [Gelman Library 702, GW Foggy Bottom Campus]
3 PM
Elizabeth Scala, a renowned scholar of medieval literature, feminism and desire, presents a lecture on "Feminism and the F-Word." Professor Scala is an editor of the groundbreaking journal Exemplaria: Medieval / Early Modern / Theory, the co-editor of the collection The Post-Historical Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and the author of the books Absent Narratives, Manuscript Textuality, and Literary Structure in Late Medieval England (Palgrave 2002) and Desire in the Canterbury Tales (Ohio State University Press, 2015).


February 25 
Drew Daniel
Johns Hopkins University

"The Trouble with Comedy"

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room [Gelman Library 702, GW Foggy Bottom Campus]
4 PM
Professor Drew Daniel of Johns Hopkins University will deliver a lecture on "The Trouble with Comedy." An expert in early modern England and a polymath, Professor Daniel is the author of The Melancholy Assemblage: Affect and Epistemology in the English Renaissance (Fordham, 2013) as well as many articles and essays. He is also one half of the electronic duo Matmos.


February 26
Premodern Disorder: 
A GWMEMSI Graduate Student Conference
Attendance is open to all! Please come and show your support for new work in the field. Keynote speakers are Sharon Kinoshita and Drew Daniel. Complete description and information may be found here.


April 7-8
Crip Ecologies
GW MEMSI will sponsor a roundtable at this year's Composing Disability conference, "Crip Ecologies." The session is called "Biopolitics: Law, Life, Land, Love" and includes


May 11-14
Play
International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
GW MEMSI will sponsor a roundtable on "Play" with

We wish you the best for the beginning of the spring semester and hope to see you at these events!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Futures of the Past Program

Please join us for "Futures of the Past" on Friday October 30. A complete program for the symposium may be found here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

CFP Premodern Disorder, A Graduate Student Conference @ GW



Premodern Disorder

GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute 
Graduate Student Symposium

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Keynote Speakers:

Sharon Kinoshita, Professor of World Literature & Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz

Drew Daniel, Associate Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University

Premodern Disorder invites graduate students of medieval and early modern literatures to examine failures of taxonomies, outbreaks of disorder, and manifestations of the incomprehensible. Topics under investigation may include:
  •   Affect, emotion, and humoral theory
  •   Translation, globalization, and cultural-contact
  •   Apocalypse and catastrophe; or premodern ecologies
  •   Taxonomies, animality, agentic objects
  •   Monstrosity and the body
  •   Economics, politics, and religion
  •   Waste and dirt; or cleanliness and the home
  •   Allegory and utopianism
Visit the conference website: https://premoderndisorder.wordpress.com/ for more information, as well as a complete Call for Papers. 

Abstract submissions and Panel Proposals by October 30, 2015 (note extended deadline) to amontroso@gwmail.gwu.edu


Monday, September 21, 2015

Futures of the Past October 30

Futures of the Past

A symposium featuring groundbreaking books in medieval and early modern studies 
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room [Gelman Library Room 702]
GW Foggy Bottom Campus

Friday October 30 10 AM - 5 PM


The symposium is free and welcomes all who wish to attend, but you must preregister (HERE)

9.30 Morning Coffee


10.00-11.30 Seeing and Moving

Introductions by Heidi Stoa

Kim F. HallBarnard College
Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Race and Gender in Early Modern England (forthcoming). Presentation title: "'I didn’t think I would feel like this’: Early Modern Race Studies and its Discontents"
In 2014, Kara Walker, an African American artist known for her installations using paper silhouettes and drawings which grapple with sexuality, colonialism and slavery in American history, created the installation, A Subtlety: The Marvelous Sugar Baby. The installation purported to be an homage "to enslaved and unfree labor from the cane field to the kitchen,” but, as spectators interacted with the sculptures and posted images of themselves under the hash tag #karawalkerdomino, it became evidence of an ongoing divide in white and black America about the role of race and slavery in the US as well as the focus for discussions over the responsibility of (black) artists when dealing with race. This paper discusses the audience’s divergent responses to the enormous installation as a way of thinking about the current state of early modern race studies. I see in the black anger at the installation and in the oblivious responses by other spectators, a dynamic similar to that in the ongoing discussions of the presence and meanings of race in early modern literary studies. More broadly, the paper speaks to the different investments we bring to the archive and the ways Black lives matter differently for black scholars in archival and scholarly spaces often deemed “white.”

Coll Thrush, University of British Columbia
Indigenous London: Native Travellers at the Heart of Empire (forthcoming)
My book Indigenous London (Yale University Press, fall 2016) frames that city’s history through the experiences of Indigenous children, women, and men who travelled there, willingly or otherwise, from territories that became Canada, the US, New Zealand, and Australia, beginning in the early sixteenth century. This presentation focuses on the question of memory, one of the six “domains of entanglement” that serve as the book’s structure (the others are knowledge, disorder, reason, ritual, and discipline). I will examine the experiences of early modern visitations by Indigenous people, from Inuit captives to Powhatan emissaries and Mohegan missionaries, to show the ways in which these lives have been remembered in descendant communities, even as London has in many ways forgotten its own empire. In doing so, I hope to challenge the teleological apparatus and narrative estrangement that so often renders Indigenous and urban histories as mutually exclusive.


11.30-12.45 lunch (included for those who pre-register). 
Rome Hall 771 (Academic Center, directly across the street from Gelman)


12.45-2.15: Incorporating and Inscribing

Introductions by Abigail Gloria Robertson

Henry S. Turner, Rutgers University
The Corporate Commonwealth: Pluralism and Political Fictions in England, 1516-1651 (forthcoming)
I’ll be presenting arguments about the corporation in history and theory, illustrated with some key early modern examples, all focused on several problems: how to define the corporation, especially the limits of legal definitions and the points of intersection between law, philosophy, and literature; the nature of the corporation as a political entity: a “body politic,” as it was known: what makes it “political”? What definitions of the “political” does it suggest?; how to account for the ontology (the mode of being, agency, or substantive reality) that is attributed to corporations and to corporate persons; in general, the corporation as a problem of ontology, and especially of the ideas of the group and the group person; what literary ideas of personhood, personation, and personification can add to our understanding of the corporation as a fiction that is also at the same time real.


Julie Orlemanski, University of Chicago 
Symptomatic Subjects: Bodies, Signs, and Narratives in Late Medieval England (in progress)
The book I’m completing at present, Symptomatic Subjects: Bodies, Signs, and Narratives in Late Medieval England, takes as its starting point the explosion in English medical writing between 1375 and 1475. Widespread efforts to translate and compile medical knowledge produced new conditions of corporeal literacy, including keen speculation about the ways in which diverse causal forces (astrological, environmental, dietetic, hereditary, demonic, and divine, among others) affected how individuals appeared and behaved. Symptomatic Subjects examines the concatenations of embodiment, expressivity, and etiology set forth in medieval narratives. My remarks at “Futures of the Past” will introduce the book's project and then sketch three methodological conundrums I’ve encountered in writing it, conundrums organized under the rubrics, “Whose ‘symptom’?” “the proto-discourse of medicine,” and “the proto-discourse of literature.”


2.15-2.45 coffee and cookies


2.45-4.15 Inventing and Unfolding

Introductions by Corey Sparks
Patricia Clare Ingham, Indiana University
The Medieval New: Ambivalence in an Age of InnovationPresentation title: "Sustaining Ourselves in an Age of Innovation"
What might medieval culture of artistic copying offer us in today's age of unrelenting innovation? In this brief talk, developed from my recent book The Medieval New: Ambivalence in an Age of Innovation, I suggest some of the ways that an ethically-charged, medieval brand of newness might help us to claim a future for the Liberal Arts, past as well as present.

J. Allan Mitchell, University of Victoria
Because my book’s been out for a year I though I would use the occasion — as I am trying to do elsewhere — to broaden the argument and engage in some retrospection on the project of recovering a medieval humanness. It is perhaps to offer some counter-spin on “becoming human,” which can unfortunately read as a strong assurance of the inevitable eventuation of “being,” which is not my claim. My interest is in how fetal and infantile figures cause a kind of perpetual identity crisis for the human. It is about the past catching up with the future. I may also reflect on the particularity and generality of the “human” concept. The tricky part about writing about “becoming human" was to identify human matters without presupposing the category that my analysis was intended to unsettle. How to speak the “human” at all when the term is evidently so universalist, ungendered, under-specified? Here I might want to talk about the heuristic value of general concepts or abstractions, which are like other useful fictions capable of mobilizing thought or animating a problem. The intrigue inherent in the general concept suggests to me the possibility of abstracting without idealizing or reifying.


4:15-4:30 Closing remarks (presenters and audience)

4.30-5.30 Reception with wine and light fare
Gallery 102, Smith Hall of Art (Academic Center)

To register for this event, 
Registration ensures that we have enough food, coffee and wine for everyone who attends.