Vernacular Devotional Cultures Sessions - 9-12 May 2019 - 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Vernacular Devotional Cultures Group
contact email: 

Vernacular Devotional Cultures Group

ICMS 2019

The Vernacular Devotional Cultures Group is organizing the following three special sessions at the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo in May 2019. The VDCG sponsors sessions on medieval mystics and mysticism and showcases recent scholarship on vernacular spiritual traditions in medieval Western Europe.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a completed Participant Information Form to Dr Catherine Annette Grisé ( by 15 September 2018. Electronic submissions are preferred.

Contact Information:

Dr. Catherine Annette Grisé
Associate Professor
Dept. of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L9 

1) Marguerite Porete and her Contemporaries (Session of Papers)

This session will on the French Beguines, with particular focus on Marguerite Porete, who began her spiritual authority as a Beguine, but was burned for heresy in 1310. We wish to explore how Marguerite's female vernacular theology and Beguine mysticism provided both a space for female mystical discourse and, in turn, a challenge to established medieval patriarchal theologians.

2) Early Print Culture and The Many Faces of Reform (Session of Papers)

This session draws on member interest in pre-Reformation print culture and provides more context for the wide appeal of devotional texts in early print. While the printing presses were an influential forum for major reformers, they were also used as a tool by Catholics who advocated for adaptations of conservative practices and for the promotion of current lay trends. Furthermore, Humanist agendas brought a number of recovered religious texts and new ideas into print that changed the devotional landscape. We welcome papers that explore the way in which vernacular devotional literature intersects with any one of these issues.

3) Vernacular Spiritual Writings: Adaptations and Contexts (Session of Papers)

This session will focus on manuscript contexts for devotional writings in the vernacular. Many treatises are excerpted, adapted, and anthologized to suit new circumstances. The adaptors/ translators change texts for the situations of their new audiences—in some cases, dramatic changes are made, in others small adaptations occur. In this panel, we invite papers that trace such changes to help us better understand the evolving devotional landscape and the roles that audiences and other contextual factors played in the ways that source materials were used.