CFP (Kalamazoo): Teaching Medieval Studies at Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities

full name / name of organization: 
National Endowment for the Humanities and Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies; Organizer: James M. Palmer
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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies (JMIS) jointly sponsor a roundtable on "Teaching Medieval Studies at Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities" at the 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 13-16, 2010.

In recent years, medievalists at high Hispanic- and African-American serving institutions have discussed both the negative difficulties and the positive challenges of offering medieval studies on their campuses. We have noted that students, especially minority ones, may perceive a lack of real connection to literatures, languages, and histories, that they do not feel they "own." There may be, therefore, challenges to maintaining enrollment in medieval courses at institutions with diverse student populations, and in keeping those courses in rotation in small colleges and universities. Conversely, the task of teaching medieval history and literature to minority students raises new and potentially productive intellectual questions: for instance, about the function of our disciplines in contemporary society, and about the social and ideological underpinnings of these disciplines in the past. The diversification of the classroom, in terms of both ethnicity and class, may destabilize old paradigms, and point towards new models of intellectual inquiry.

Topics covered by roundtable panelists could include (but are not limited to):

1) How to attract students of diverse backgrounds to courses in medieval studies.

2) How might we connect medieval texts to the scholarly concerns of African American, Latino, or diasporic studies?

3) How do we increase students' interest in a historical period which appears superficially to be removed and irrelevant to contemporary concerns?

4) How can we use this challenge to create opportunities for innovative teaching and research, for generating new paradigms and for rethinking the social function of the university?

Because this is a roundtable, participants may present a paper in another session. Speakers will likely have no more than 5-7 minutes each. Submission Details: Please send a very brief abstract of approximately 100-150 words to James M. Palmer at by September 15, 2009. Along with a title for the presentation, please send a completed Participant Information Form, which can be found at: