Kalamazoo CFPs 2012

With apologies for cross-posting:
CALL FOR PAPERS
MEARCSTAPA Session for the International Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan
May 10-13, 2012
Session I: “You’re So Juvenile: Monstrous Children in Medieval Culture”
In the medieval tradition, monsters serve as warnings, omens, portents, signs of the threshold between Us and Them, Here and There. Patrolling the borders of what is known and unknown, they signify all that humankind most fears and all that is possible beyond human understanding, good, bad and ugly in nature. As such, monsters inevitably are portrayed as decidedly non-human figures. But what about monstrous children? The presence of children problematizes the traditional Us-Other binary presented by most medieval monsters by normalizing them: children/offspring signify families; families signify communities, and this brings monsters into the realm of humanlike existence. How should we read, see, and interpret such figures, given the traditional view of the monstrous as inhuman? Do monstrous children underscore the difference of monsters, or do they provide a new, more encompassing view of monsters as more like humans than we want to believe? Are the offspring of monsters, themselves, automatically monstrous? What in the case of monstrous offspring raised by humans, or of human offspring raised by monsters? If a monster is baptized, is it then rendered human? Perhaps the standard taxonomy needs to be re-examined in light of the presence of monstrous children.
Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu)
Deadline for submissions to this session: September 15.
Any papers not included in this session will be forwarded to the Congress Committee for possible inclusion in the General Sessions.
Note, paper proposals will appear on the Mearcstapa blog: http://medievalmonsters.blogspot.com/
CALL FOR PAPERS
MEARCSTAPA Session for the International Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan
May 10-13, 2012
Session II : “Eye of the Beholder: Perspectives on the Monstrous”
Monstrosity, like beauty, lies entirely in the eye of the beholder. It is a trait assigned from the outside, which reveals as much about the namer as the named. For this session, we invite papers that explicitly tackle the issue of perspective in designation of the monstrous. Central questions which might be considered include: To what degree are medieval authors and artists reflective about the relative nature of monstrosity; to what degree do they gloss over this problem; and to what degree do they seem not to consider it as such, at all? Who is granted the power to name the monster? How were real groups impacted by external designations of monstrosity? In essence, we wish to examine the issue of cultural relativism as it impacts the construction of monsters in the Middle Ages. This session will be headlined by John Block Friedman, author of the seminal The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought, who will start off the discussion on cultural relativism with a look at the Middle French Secrets de l’Histoire Naturelle.
Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Asa Simon Mittman (asmittman@csuchico.edu)
Deadline for submissions to this session: September 15.
Any papers not included in this session will be forwarded to the Congress Committee for possible inclusion in the General Sessions.
Note, paper proposals will appear on the Mearcstapa blog: http://medievalmonsters.blogspot.com/

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