Loving your Arms (Before the NRA): Heroes and Their Weapons (Kalamazoo 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Rebeca Castellanos, Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch
contact email: 

54th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 9-12, 2019

Loving your Arms (Before the NRA): Heroes and Their Weapons

Sponsored by the Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch

Organized by Rebeca Castellanos (Grand Valley State University)

Romance epics and other medieval narratives showcase knights with tender feelings for their weapon of choice. They report that the Cid’s “entire body rejoiced”, and that “he smiled from his heart” upon recovering the swords, Colada and Tizona. Charlemagne also has a special relationship to his famous Joyeuse, as had Rainouart with his tinel or Bradamante with her lance. These weapons also merit detailed descriptions and even monologues directed to these objects. What do the textual and paratextual relationships between hero and arms represent? How do we read the audience’s attitude towards weapons, and the hero’s endearment to his own arms? If we think of objects as signs “referring to something other than themselves,” as Ian Woodward claims, what do arms tell us about the hero/weapon and its culture? This panel seeks papers from diverse perspectives, including object oriented ontology, material culture studies, visual culture, affect theory, and any other relevant approaches that examine the relationship of male and female warriors with their weapons.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form to session organizer Rebeca Castellanos (castellr@gvsu.edu) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.