Vulnerability: 10th Annual Medievalists @ Penn Graduate Conference

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Medievalists @ Penn
contact email: 

Keynote Speaker: Masha Raskolnikov, Cornell University

Conference date: Saturday, March 17th 2018, University of Pennsylvania

This conference aims to think of vulnerability as a state of being that precedes but does not necessarily entail violence, a condition that is temporalized, oriented toward a future that is potentially hazardous. To be vulnerable is to be under threat. What are the methods by which the Middle Ages constructed and maintained states of vulnerability? As a corollary, if we think of vulnerability as entailing threat, what are the methods by which people or things are constructed as threats? What did it mean for medieval people to be living under threat?

We invite 15-20 minute papers from a wide range of scholarly disciplines, including History, Art History, Musicology, Literary Studies, Religious Studies, Critical Race Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The construction of race and alterity

  • Gendered vulnerability and issues of care or protection

  • Ecological threat and disaster

  • Class, resource scarcity, and economic precarity

  • (Dis)Ability and illness

  • Trials, court cases, and legal actions

  • War and political conflict

  • Heresy and threats posed by religious orthodoxy

  • Vulnerable and damaged material texts or objects

  • The positions of medievalists in modern society

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words as attachments to pennmedieval@gmail.com by January 15, 2018. Submissions should include your name, paper title, email, and institutional and departmental affiliation. Papers will be due March 10, 2018 for distribution to faculty respondents.