Exploring Resistance through Medieval and Early Modern Culture

deadline for submissions: 
January 10, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Early Modern Colloquium
contact email: 

Exploring Resistance through Medieval and Early Modern Culture deadline for submissions: January 10, 2018 full name / name of organization: Early Modern Colloquium, University of Michigan contact email: earlymodcolloq@gmail.com 

The Early Modern Colloquium at the University of Michigan

invites abstracts for papers for their interdisciplinary graduate student conference,

"Exploring Resistance through Medieval and Early Modern Culture,”

at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, March 16-17, 2018


with keynote lectures by:


Carla Della Gatta (USC) and

Kathryn Schwarz (Vanderbilt)


and panel responses from the medieval

and early modern faculty at the University of Michigan.


The challenge to resist structures of oppression both within and beyond the academy is particularly exigent in our current moment. From nearly unavoidable discussions of religion and totalitarian rule, medieval and early modern scholarship has a rich tradition of focusing on the restrictions a society can face and the resistance movements and revolts that result from circumscription. Enriching our discussions of religion, sovereignty, discourses, institutions, etc. more recent work has acknowledged the necessary inclusion of gender, sexuality, race, empire, class, and ethnicity. Kathryn Schwarz, for example, urges us to reconsider our thoughts on women’s willful participation in patriarchal agendas. For her, female conformity in the early modern period can function as a destabilizing and threatening force to ‘heterosocial hierarchy.’ Carla Della Gatta, with a keen interest in the cultural-linguistic divide, uses her training in early modern drama to analyze contemporary Latinx-themed Shakespearean productions. More, her work questions the security of the “ivory tower” and examines the effects of institutional reform and the current political climate on the Humanities and the teaching profession.   

Inspired by these scholars, we want to expand the dialogue on medieval and early modern forms of resistance. This year’s conference provides an occasion for us to think through the role of medieval and early modern humanities scholarship in wider resistance efforts. We will ask: What forms did resistance take in the medieval and early modern world? How can research on medieval and early modern topics broaden our understanding of resistance as a concept? How can it aid us in enacting resistance through our scholarship? How can thinking about artifacts, institutions, and representations from these periods help us engage more effectively in resistance today?  What methods, spaces, and conceptual tools can help us resist, or understand resistance, through our work in medieval and early modern studies?

We invite fifteen-minute presentations by graduate students in any discipline that engage productively with the concept of resistance. Relevant projects might address one or more of the following topics:

  • Discourses and institutions
  • Print, media, censorship
  • Religion, conversion, heresy
  • Art, literature, representation
  • Law and criminality
  • Nation, location, sovereignty
  • State formation, jurisprudence
  • Science, technology, natural law
  • Sexuality, chastity
  • Empire, race, slavery
  • Revolution, reform
  • Language and translation
  • Pain, pleasure


This conference will also include a special session co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Drama Interest Group, "Performance Studies and Resistance." Abstracts for this session may:

  • Examine sites of critical resistance in the intersections of medieval and early modern performance studies and performance studies more broadly.
  • Map moments of resistance in and around medieval and early modern performances.
  • Offer resistance to entrenched assumptions or practices in medieval and early modern performance studies.


Please submit 250-300 word abstracts papers to the Early Modern Colloquium (earlymodcolloq@gmail.com) with the subject line “EMC Conference” by January 10, 2018.