In recent years, many scholars have sought to escape the kind of disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological strictures that force a choice of allegiance between attention to historical context and attention to formal structure. This turn has taken a particular interest in the simultaneous necessity for historicist and formalist approaches to the study of reform movements, a necessity that results from reformers’ own defining engagements with both history and form. Almost all medieval reformers deployed the past--whether immediate or distant--through narratives of origin, degeneration, and nostalgia in order to justify their programs of correction and renewal; they discovered the "materia” for these narratives not only in events but also in earlier forms of artistic and cultural production, ritual, government, social life, economy, and education. Indeed, it was these very forms that reformers sought to correct, revise, or resurrect. Despite the broad extent of reformers’ own attention to form, historicist scholarship’s return to questions of the relationship between form and reform has tended to focus almost solely on literary movements and on "literariness.” This conference seeks to open that discussion to emerging scholars of the Middle Ages across the disciplines, both to explore these historical moments of change (or perceived change) and to revisit the critical trends that shape our understanding of these moments.
We invite proposals for papers that explore the ways medieval reform movements--a term we understand broadly--categorized, appropriated, used, critiqued, and transformed the forms they inherited. We welcome papers from all disciplines, including literature, linguistics, philosophy, history, art history, classics, musicology, and film. Topics may include but are not limited to:
*Literature (Poetic Meter/Genre/Narrative)
*Canonicity (The Form of the Bible/Patristics)
*Forms of Government
*Education (Trivium-Quadrivium/Universities/Education of the Laity)
*Forms of Social Life, especially Monasticism and Apostolic Living
*Economy (Trade/Guilds/Numismatics/Material Culture)
Please submit a 250-word abstract for a 20-minute paper to Jacob Hobson (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 11 November 2012 and kindly include your academic affiliation, email address, street address, phone number, and any audio-visual requirements. We very much look forward to inviting you to campus, and we are excited about the rich discussion that will ensue.
Organized by Erik Born, Kenneth Fockele, Marcos Garcia, Jacob Hobson, and Jennifer Lorden.
Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Department of English, UC Berkeley Program in Medieval Studies, and Graduate Medievalists at Berkeley.