Cornell University Sponsored Session (Kalamazoo 2017): Andrew and Matthias in Perspective: Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries in the City of the Cannibals (A Roundtable)

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Danielle Ruether-Wu
contact email: 

A Roundtable Session for the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 11-14, 2017)

Featuring a saint who walks invisibly through a foreign city and converts cannibals whose magic turns visitors into witless animals, The Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of Cannibals is a hybrid narrative that began in the Greco-Roman context of early Christianity and continued to transform in new cultural contexts, surviving in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Old Church Slavonic, and Anglo-Saxon. Since the primitive text is reconstructed from fragments and later versions bear traces of other cultural moments, scholars are always already in conversation with a complex process of appropriation and revision. This roundtable provides a venue for cross-disciplinary discussion of central problems and approaches to the apocryphon, bringing together insights and analytical tools from multiple fields while also potentially illuminating disciplinary blind spots and preoccupations.

Topics for consideration include but are not limited to issues of genre, register, and audience as well as questions of sanctity, authority, and otherness. We encourage scholars and audience members to explore such questions as: How does the work invoke, disrupt, and/or revise expectations of genre? How do elements of wonder and adventure square with possible theological or didactic goals? What kinds of intertextual practices are at work in the text and what role do they play in constructing sanctity and power? What communities and sects are scholars constructing as lenses through which to view the text and how can we break out of them? How can we confront our assumptions about shifting boundaries between magic and miracle, the familiar and the foreign, sanctity and profanity? How might theories, for example, Deleuze and Guattari’s process of becoming or rhizomatic thinking, help us move beyond such dualisms?

Presenters will each have 5-7 minutes to focus on any version or set of versions of the Andrew and Matthias tale. After the presentations, we will hold an informal discussion in which the audience will play a vital role. We encourage submissions from scholars of all levels of expertise and from any field with connections to the apocryphon.