Force, Resistance, and Mercy: Medieval Violence and Nonviolence
The Medieval Studies Institute of Indiana University invites proposals for its 30th Annual Medieval Studies Symposium,
April 6-7, 2018, in Bloomington, Indiana
Iron maidens, the Inquisition, the Crusades, witch burnings: these images of violence, both fact and fiction, are profoundly connected to the Middle Ages. Yet if in many popular conceptions, the medieval world is associated with brutality and suffering, the period also offers unique formulations of mercy, compassion, and the power of resistance. In exploring both medieval violence or nonviolence, this symposium seeks to examine specific structures of power and brutality but also to complicate the narrative of the violent Middle Ages.
We invite papers on any medieval discipline or region that engage issues of medieval violence and nonviolence: What functions did violence serve in the Middle Ages? How might acts of physical and rhetorical violence against othered groups (gendered, religious, cultural, racial, nonhuman) reflect larger concerns or anxieties within medieval culture? Is there a medieval aesthetic of violence? How does medieval music, art, theology, and literature glorify or critique brutality and/or suffering? How do medieval texts understand the uses and effects of verbal violence? How might medieval violence operate in a metaphorical sense, as violence done to texts or to the material past? What does nonviolence look like in the Middle Ages? Given the functions and pervasiveness of violence, what are some ways in which it is resisted and negotiated? What alternatives do medieval people or institutions offer to violence? How might medieval understandings of mercy or love act as a counter to violence? We also encourage papers on modern representations of the Middle Ages that consider to what extent and to what ends these medievalisms employ violence and nonviolence.
Please submit 200 word abstracts or complete sessions proposals to IUMestSymposium@gmail.com by November 1st, 2017.