Uncharted Medievalisms: Revealing the Medieval in Popular Fiction and Games (Panel) (9/30/2020; NeMLA Philadelphia 3/11-14/2021)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Michael A. Torregrossa / Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Uncharted Medievalisms: Revealing the Medieval in Popular Fiction and Games (Panel)

52nd Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association

Marriott Downtown Philadelphia, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 11-14 March 2021

Paper abstracts are due by 30 September 2020

Session organized by Carl B. Sell and Michael A. Torregrossa and sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture.


As Umberto Eco once observed, “people like the Middle Ages,” and medievalism flourishes across the globe, with medievalist settings and ideologies used in popular, fictional settings that are widely known in their respective communities. However, critical exploration of these medievalisms has been lacking, save for the most common such settings, like Lewis’s Narnia, Le Guin’s Earthsea, Martin’s Westeros, and Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Consequently, this panel proposes to examine the extent to which medievalism is used by other, perhaps less well-trodden settings, including, but not limited to, the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, Chaosium’s rereleased Pendragon RPG, and Terry Brooks’s Shannara and Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth series; the Old World and 41st Millennium of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000; the video game realities of Diablo, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, and Warcraft; and similar popular shared worlds of other board games, comics, fiction, RPGs, and video games. Critical explorations of the ways that these settings use and add to medievalism(s), including the more famous worlds, are encouraged.


This session is a paper panel in traditional format, which will include 3-4 participants, reading a formal paper of 15-20 minutes (2500-3000 words) as set by the chair, followed by Q&A.

The direct link for this session is https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18676. Please contact the organizers at MedievalinPopularCulture@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.


Abstract submissions must be made through NeMLA’s official site. Applicants will need to login or create an account at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login. Submissions must begin with a paper title of not more than 100 characters (including spaces) and adhering to the following: capitalize titles by MLA formatting rules unless the title is in a language other than English; do not use quotation marks in the session title or abstract title itself but please use only single quotation marks around titles of short stories, poems, and similar short works; italicize the titles of long works mentioned in the paper title; and do not place a period at the end of the title. Submissions should also include an academic biography (usually transferred from your NeMLA profile) and a paper abstract of not more than 300 words; be sure to italicize or use quotation marks around titles according to MLA guidelines.

Please be aware that NeMLA membership is not required to submit abstracts, but it is required to present at the convention. In addition, note that it is permissible to present on (1) a panel (or seminar) and (2) a roundtable or a creative session, but it is not permissible to present on a panel and a seminar (because both are paper-based), on two panels or two roundtables (because both would be the same type). Further information on these and other policies can be accessed at http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers/submit.html.

Chairs will confirm the acceptance of abstracts before 15 October 2020. At that time, applicants must confirm the panel on which they wish to participate. Convention registration/membership for 2020-2021 must be paid by 9 December 2020.