Uses of the Past: Cultural Memory in and of the Middle Ages: The 29th Annual Indiana Medieval Studies Institute Spring Symposium

deadline for submissions: 
December 21, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Indiana University Medieval Studies Institute

Uses of the Past: Cultural Memory in and of the Middle Ages

The Twenty-Ninth Annual Spring Symposium of the Medieval Studies Institute of Indiana University

3–4 March, 2017

Indiana University, Bloomington


How is the past used (and abused) in the middle ages? To what purposes is it deployed in personal, social, religious, and political formation? And how has the medieval served as a foundational past for identities and practices in post-medieval periods? Recent scholarship demonstrates the importance of the past in the creation of medieval identity. In the words of Walter Pohl and Ian Wood, the past could be used “to create legitimacy, explain inclusion and exclusion, establish precedent, provide orientation, exemplify moral exhortation, inspire a sense of what was possible and what was not, to negotiate status, to argue about the right norms or to imagine the future.” Moreover, the medieval past has become a touchstone of current cultural memory, deployed in constructing the past of our own present moment.


The Medieval Studies Institute of Indiana University welcomes scholars from a range of disciplines and objects: history, literature, music; material artifacts and spaces; religion, politics, and law. We are especially interested in papers that explore global perspectives on cultural memory and the use of the past.


Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by January 15th, 2016