Gender and Medieval Materialisms MLA2015

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Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship
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Gender and Medieval Materialisms
Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship Sponsored Session
MLA 2015

Much recent critical work has explored the importance of things, insisting that the non-sentient object is as constitutive of our reality as human meaning-making apparatuses. This turn resists a humanist dualism that insists matter is an inert substance that can be ethically and uncritically imprinted or formed by human wills. The idea that matter is merely the passive stuff to be molded into human--and therefore signifying--forms underpins the view of the environment as "natural resources," land as "territory," and crafted
objects as "products" for consumption. The critical turn toward the materiality of things attempts to un-write this logic through multiple discourses that bring into focus the material structures, objects and practices that constitute culture, society, and even thought. Some of the discourses that engage this issue include: Postcolonial work on the age of the Anthropocene (the geological epoch in which humans significantly impact ecology and the environment), Ecocriticism, Vital Materialism that sees quasi-agency as a property inherent to all things, Agential Realism, Speculative Realism, Object Oriented Ontology, Thing Theory, Feminist theories of embodiment and cyborg existence, Queer human/non-human affinity or kinship, etc.

This panel calls for papers that take up medieval art, literature, or history by way of gender and any of these materialist lenses. We welcome readings, manifestoes, and performances that highlight the gendered materiality of medieval practices of making and living, the material remnants of the past in the present, or the way in which medieval materialisms can be brought to bear upon a postmedieval future.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Gender and Medieval theories of materiality
Things in medieval literature
Medieval objects as vibrant matter
Thing-power in medieval art/literature
Contemporary material practices to understand medieval things
Material economies of medieval art/literary objects
Material ecologies of medieval art/literary objects
Medieval bodies as things/medieval things as bodies
Embodied practice of art/lit/ritual
The Agency of medieval objects
The temporality of medieval objects and/or scholars encountering them
Queer medieval matters

Please send abstracts of 250 words to by March 18, 2015