Presentist, Historical, and Unveiled Identities from Beowulf to the Eighteenth Century

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Mark Kaethler / Medicine Hat College
contact email: 

This survey panel aims to establish dialogues between experts in early literatures. The confluence of epochs facilitates cross-historical discussion and provides a means for thinking about ways to teach early survey courses in university or college classrooms. This panel focuses on identities (racial, gendered, sexual, or mediatized, etc.). In recent years, scholars have labelled efforts to locate early forms of contemporary identity in early literature as presentist, an approach that tends to overlook differences between historical eras by prioritizing current concerns. However, are presentist methods actually flawed? And does any effort to trace earlier forms of current interests automatically constitute presentism? The panel preoccupies itself with presentism and historicism but offers a third category to think through a middle ground between these two approaches: unveiling. If we are only now comprehending a previously neglected aspect of identity politics, then does that mean that we are also only now recognizing its presence (rather than presentism) in earlier centuries? Panelists are invited to explore these questions in poetry, prose, or drama from the Anglo-Saxon period to the eighteenth century and to integrate praxis-based experiences and/or methods of teaching these findings in the classroom.

ACCUTE is the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, but its membership extends beyond Canada; the society meets annually at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, which moves from one Canadian university to the next each year. This year's meeting will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the University of British Columbia. Congress hosts various other organizations as well and will take place from June 1-7 in 2019. Please visit the Congress website for more information:

Please submit your abstract and information by 15 November 2018 through the ACCUTE Proposal Submission Form:

If you have questions, please contact Mark Kaethler at