Ecological Change panel (New Chaucer Society 2024)

deadline for submissions: 
September 22, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Ecological Change and Social Consequence in the Late-Medieval World (Lightning Talks)
contact email: 

Lighting talk session at the New Chaucer Society biennial congress in Pasadena, CA, 15 July 2024
Organizers: Taylor Cowdery (, Aylin Malcolm (, Andrew M. Richmond (

How did medieval communities characterize and grapple with ecological change—whether for the better or the worse? What social responses did they have to environmental disasters such as famine, or wildfire, or wastewater flooding? And what strategies, both local and global, did these communities adopt to reckon with the consequences of their shifting ecologies? This session invites lightning talk proposals that explore any aspect of the intersection of the environmental and the social across the medieval world. Potential topics might include the regulation and management of common resources (such as water and the roadways) or common hazards (such as waste) in the late-medieval city and countryside; the categorization and repercussions of work aimed at shaping landscape and social space; literary representations of urban socio-ecologies; or socio-literary responses to particular environmental catastrophes, such as the Black Death, the London fires of the thirteenth century, or the great famine of 1315–17. Contributors are also invited to reckon with the consequences of changes in our own interpretive methods and approaches, particularly in light of new developments in the digital humanities.

To submit an abstract, please see the guidelines at

Feel free to contact the organizers if you have ideas or questions.