CFP - Panel Looking for Participants

full name / name of organization: 

The Babel group, which produced its first edition of Postmedieval this year, is holding a conference in Austin, TX 4-6 November 2010. MEARCSTAPA ( is proposing a panel and looking people who might be interested in participating.

The CFP below was inspired by the articles in Postmedival, which draw Katherine Hayles' work on posthumanism into dialog with medieval scholarship. We are looking for 3-4 panelist who would be interested presenting as a group. Please note, per the Babel group's invitation, this panel will not be in the usual format of 3 papers followed by questions. Rather, participants will present short presentations followed by discussion. If all participants are willing, papers in the panel will be circulated amongst other panel participants prior to the conference to facilitate discussion and debate.

The conference is:
after the end: medieval studies, the humanities, and the post-catastrophe 4-6 November 2010 University of Texas at Austin

Following Jeffery Jerome Cohen's meditation on stones and Susan Signe Morrison's call for a fecopoet[h]ics in the inaugural edition of Post/medieval, this panel is an exploration the boundaries of the inanimate. How do we understand the inanimate objects that make up our world as (1) stones, bridging the gap between our frailty and their seeming eternity, as (2) waste products to be eliminated from consciousness, or finally as (3) tools, whose existence would seem predicated upon the use of man? In what ways does our relationship with things define our relationship with ourselves and others? How do we define the inanimate objects in our environment, and how does this definition in turn restrict or expand our understanding of the human? How might the brass horse in the "Squire's Tale" or the Mechanical Turk be understood as bridging the boundary between the inanimate and animal studies or orientalists perspectives? How might Graham Harman's Tool-being be understood in terms of the speaking objects in the Book of Exeter or the Dream of the Rood? If things are simply part of the architecture of our environment, invisible if functioning correctly, why then do tools come to have voices? If an object is only genuinely visible to us when broken, why does the fantasy of magical objects persist in romances and epics? Finally, how can these examples from medieval literature shed light on our present relationships with things?

If you are interested in participating, please submit a brief (100 word) abstract to

The CFP can also be found on the MEARCSTAPA blog: