CFPs and What Else?

Some might have noticed that the research group isn’t organizing many conferences at the moment – it’s because we’re all busy writing our thesises, books, articles, etc… But luckily the medieval gaming universe isn’t boring like us – there are many exciting CFP related to gaming topics in the wider sense of play inthe Middle Ages, and new play centred publication series, and job opportunities here at the German Historical Institute where a game related PhD project could very well fit in! So please have a look if anything’s up your alley:

  1. La Poésie en temps de guerre : représentations du conflit et construction de l’identité à la fin du Moyen Âge, organized by Daisy Delogu (University of Chicago) and Laëtitia Tabard (Le Mans Université); University of Chicago Center in Paris, March 29-30, 2019; Those interested in presenting their work are asked to provide a paper proposal of no more than 300 words by November 1 2018. More details BELOW.
  2. Theatre in Wartime. Actors, Authors, Audiences, 27-28 May, 2019, Ecoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan (CREC Saint-Cyr) Université Rennes 2 (CELLAM, Tempora), Full call in english and French, Dealine 15 Nov 2018.
  3. Summerschool DHIP: Wahrnehmung und Darstellung von Grenzen und Grenzräumen in der Vormoderne (9.–18. Jahrhundert); 21.–24. Mai 2019 am DHIP, more info and CFP here.
  4. AUP has launched a new series called “Cultures of Play, 1300-1700”, and this is how they discribe it (text from their homepage: “Cultures of Play, 1300-1700 provides a forum for investigating the full scope of medieval and early modern play, from toys and games to dramatic performances, from etiquette manuals and literary texts to bulls and tractates, from jousting to duels, and from education to early scientific investigation. Inspired by the foundational work of Johan Huizinga as well as later contributions by Roger Caillois, Eugen Fink, and Bernard Suits, this series publishes monographs and essay collections that address the ludic aspects of premodern life. The accent of this series falls on cultural practices that have thus far eluded traditional disciplinary models. Our goal is to make legible modes of thought and action that until recently seemed untraceable, thereby shaping the growing scholarly discourses on playfulness both past and present.”
  5. The German Historical Institute seeks to fill two positions for early career researchers (in the course of a PhD project). The thematic focus is free as long as it fits into the research interests of the Institute – to which play and games in the Middle Ages totally does! The persons are required to work part-time in the redaction of the Institute. Here is the call in German (only).

1. La Poésie en temps de guerre : représentations du conflit et construction de l’identité à la fin du Moyen Âge

organized by Daisy Delogu (University of Chicago) and Laëtitia Tabard (Le Mans Université); University of Chicago Center in Paris, March 29-30, 2019;

This conference will bring together scholars of late medieval literature, history, and art history in order to examine the poetic transformations occasioned by the multiple wars that traversed Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – notably, but not uniquely, the so-called Hundred Years War – a period which demonstrates a marked degree of originality and creative freedom.

One feature of this period is the emergence of what we might call a littérature engagée, one that decries the violence wrought by the enemy as much as the ambition and self-interest of the French nobility. Calls for peace and texts that mourn collective losses both strive to (re)create communities able to withstand the foreign (and eventually civil) wars that rocked France for many decades. A second feature that we can observe is the purposeful transgression of generic boundaries. The fifteenth century in particular witnesses the combination of genres and forms that might seem not only unrelated, but even antithetical. Prosimetra and mixed verse-form works (which often exploit the flexible form of the dit), texts that inscribe historical events in pastoral settings, works that string together sequences of dream visions and debates, all speak to the sense of poetic license that characterizes this period of French literature. The establishment of poets in the political realm is accompanied by a transformation – both thematic and formal – of the lyric tradition, as evidenced for instance by the reorientation of (or turn from) courtly poetry and romantic themes, the emergence of original forms to stage conflict or to encode political concerns, and the composition of verse chronicles and eyewitness accounts – often by individuals situated – in military or diplomatic terms – at the heart of political conflicts. A final quality of the literary production of this era relates to questions of social and political identity. While some writers sought to reinforce the unity of the kingdom of France, others traced their political boundaries elsewhere. Notably, the relative weakness of the kings of France, and a fortuitous succession of powerful dukes of Burgundy, gave rise to a rich literary culture in the French language, but shaping and celebrating a distinctively Burgundian political identity. Similarly, other literary works composed in French likewise affirmed local identities. Overall, the porous and shifting political and literary boundaries of the later Middle Ages proved to be both destabilizing and liberating.

The vitality of this poetic production, bearing the searing mark of the political realities of its moment, asserts its importance vis à vis the demands of war, and requires us to interrogate the role and the stakes of poetry at a time when social and political upheavals create new publics, and modify the conditions of literary production as well as the circulation of texts. Poetry constitutes a strategic production of language intended to have effects (which may be affective, political, poetic) upon its readers. Poetry also participates in a prestigious cultural economy, and was therefore an ideal vector for shaping the identities of an elite (and politically powerful) segment of medieval society. Poetry was a flexible instrument, able to incorporate and deploy disparate literary norms, and placed at the service of both broad or universal identities (e.g. French, Christian), and highly localized ones (e.g. Lorraine-ian, Breton). We see poetry playing an active role in rituals of commemoration, foundation, or mourning, but also taking part in military action, whether as song or exhortation to troops. Often viewed as “occasional poetry”, or dismissed as propaganda or partisan writing, (how) can the poetry produced from conflict surpass this context? How does poetry act upon its publics in times of war? What can we learn about medieval reception of literary texts? How can imaginative works produce knowledge, shape political action, or inform ethical positions? These are some of the questions we hope to explore over the course of the conference.

We intend to make possible a confluence of diverse perspectives provided by scholars from disparate disciplines and methodologies that will allow us collectively to shed new light on the rich and varied production of this period, and its relationship to and effects on individual, poetic, and political identity, questions of concern to our present moment as well. Indeed, in many respects the later Middle Ages bears a resemblance to our own age: the ravaging and displacement of populations by warfare and the disruptions produced thereby, the articulation of competing claims for local or nativist vs broad identity, the calling into question of political boundaries, the exposure of the fragility of political authority, are visible in both periods. For this reason, the study of the literary production of the later Middle Ages is not only significant in and of itself, but also for what it can teach us about the ways in which textual and visual signs shape the political imaginary.

Lines of inquiry for proposals may include (but are not limited to):

  • the historical context of poems, poets, or specific manuscript witnesses
  • the visual and material aspects of texts, such as illuminations and mise en page
  • the organization of the manuscript (what material is included, in what order, in relation to what paratextual elements?)
  • connections between poets and/or poems
  • textual reception and its relationship to the conditions of warfare

The format of the conference will consist of 2-3 person panels of 20-minute papers followed by a formal response, and then by a question and answer period.

Those interested in presenting their work are asked to provide a paper proposal of no more than 300 words and a short cv to Daisy Delogu (ddelogu@uchicago.edu) and to Laëtitia Tabard (laetitia.tabard@univ-lemans.fr) by November 1 2018.


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