"For the ankres was expert in swech thyngys": Enclosure in Medieval Literature (1)

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Stacie Vos, UC San Diego
contact email: 

The 2020 pandemic has required everyone to think about the boundaries of self and body in new ways, but these questions were already at the center of medieval devotional texts from the Ancrene Wisse to the Shewings of Julian of Norwich, and even The Book of Margery Kempe, in which Margery seeks harbor wherever she goes. 


This session asks for presentations related to enclosure and isolation in medieval art, history and literature, especially works that influence prose writings in the vernacular. 


What did cloistered living offer to nuns and anchoresses, and what did the cloister offer to the outside world?


Inspired by innovative historians such as Caroline Walker Bynum and Jeffrey Hamburger, this session seeks papers that work across territories, whether geographical, chronological, or disciplinary.


What does the cloister teach us about Christian materiality, and how does this materiality shape the traditions that may not yet be associated with devotional practices?


Where, in medieval literature, do we find surprising uses of metaphors of enclosure, for men and women?


*There is a high likelihood that virtual participation will be allowed or even required; please feel free to submit your abstract regardless of your ability to travel to Kalamazoo this spring.