Representation of the Cultural, Political and Natural World in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, Nov 13-14, 2009 (due August 31)

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University of British Columbia Committee for Medieval Studies
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CFP: 38th Annual Medieval Studies Workshop, University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada, 13-14 November 2009

Writing the World: Representation of the Cultural, Political and Natural World in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

'What can we know of the world? What quantity of space can our eyes hope to take in between our birth and our death? How many square centimetres of Planet Earth will the soles of our feet have touched?' (Georges Perec, Species of Spaces, p. 78).

'… perceiving that the earth is a form of writing, a geography of which we had forgotten that we ourselves are the authors.' (Georges Perec, Species of Space, p. 79).

Geography is, literally, the writing of the earth. Texts - literary, historical, visual, musical and others - construct the world and its inhabitants for their audiences, permitting vicarious experience of places and spaces both known and unknown. From the Hereford Map to Shakespeare's "fair Verona", such representations are never neutral, never uninflected by cultural discourse. Rather they articulate worlds awash in ideological discourse, resplendent in the wonder of difference. From the accounts of real-world travellers to imaginary fictions of distant lands, European literature, art and historical discourse engages with the perpetual production of people and places both near and far, quotidian and exotic.

Papers dealing with any aspect of 'writing the world' through text, image, music or any other form of art are solicited, especially those which engage with the continuities and differences in the manner in which the world is 'written' in the various periods and loci of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Topics of interest might include, but are in no way limited to: depictions of / interactions with nature; geography; ethnography; travel literature; ecocriticism; animals; cultural difference; the other; cartography / mapping; etc.

Selected papers from the workshop will be collected as part of a thematic volume of proceedings to be published with a major North American University Press.


The Committee for Medieval Studies at the University of British Columbia solicits contributions for the 38th Annual UBC Medieval Workshop, to be held on Friday the 13th and Saturday 14th November 2009. The conference will be held in the verdant environs of Green College on the beautiful UBC campus in Vancouver, Canada.

Proposals should be sent to Robert Rouse ( by August 31st, 2009.