Approaches to the Late Medieval City - 10/30/09

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Columbia University Medieval Guild

The Columbia University Medieval Guild with the support of Columbia Department of English and Comparative Literature is pleased to announce its 20th Annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, "Approaches to the Late Medieval City," taking place on 30 October, 2009.

The aim of this conference is to explore the place of the city in late medieval life and thought. Medieval cities were spaces of exchange, conflict and creativity, drawing together multiple ways of acting in and thinking about the world. Medieval scholars have approached the city in a variety of ways – through the interconnections of literatures, performances, political contexts, modes of defining identity, and forms of authority. We invite papers from a variety of critical perspectives, methodological approaches and disciplines in order to develop a multi-dimensional understanding of the late medieval city. How does the city shape late medieval social life and forms of creativity? How do cultural imaginings of self, community and nation, and the social organizations that are their practical counterparts, shape the city in turn? What continuities or fissures can we map in the spaces, times, ideas and practices of late medieval cities?

Topics of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:

Institutions: religion; education and universities; kingship; the state and national identity

Associational Polity: social contest and revolt; factions; guilds; religious fraternities; emerging and obsolete identities or classes

Intersections: mercantile, literary and global connections between cities; cosmopolitanism; translation; conversion; trilingual England

Performances in the City and of the City: court ceremonies; ritual; city genres and narratives of the city; Corpus Christi and other city entertainments

Documents and Manuscript Culture: uses of the archive; reading practices; textual production; textual communities; patronage

Spatial Configurations: city geography and the city in geography; city versus country; architecture and space

Temporality: relationships to a real or imagined past, present and future; clock time; chronicles

Please send your proposal (no longer than 300 words) for a 15 to 20-minute paper to the organizers at by August 15th 2009. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional affiliation (including department), email address, mailing address, and telephone number. Please also indicate if you would be willing to moderate a panel.