conference 2022

The 2022 New England Medieval Consortium conference will meet on 8 October 2022 at Colby College (Waterville, ME). We are cautiously planning for an in-person event.

Medieval Ecologies

This conference will provide an opportunity for medievalists working across a range of disciplines and geographic areas to join in conversation about premodern ecologies and their literary historical representations, as well as their material and cultural entanglements. We interpret “ecologies” broadly as interaction and interrelation within and between human, animal, and material worlds. Accordingly, we invite papers that may ask such questions as: How can the textual and material evidence of the past inform our understanding of human interactions with the natural world, including anthropogenic impacts, practices of care, cultivation, environmental remediation, and the longue durée of environmental change? How can ecocritical approaches enrich our understanding of the Middle Ages? What do the philosophical and theoretical perspectives of premodern thinkers offer to the environmental humanities? How might medieval ways of knowing the world shape understandings of contemporary environmental crises? Might premodern epistemologies and ontologies disrupt contemporary understandings of biodiversity, practices of care, and our interconnectedness to animal, vegetal, and fungal critters?

We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers, as well as pre-organized panels of three papers. Please send abstracts of 300 words to Megan Cook (mlcook@colby.edu) and Anita Savo (asavo@bu.edu) by 1 June 2022.

Our keynote speaker will be Jeffrey J. Cohen, Dean of Humanities at Arizona State University and former co-president of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Dr. Cohen’s pathfinding scholarship includes Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman, which received the 2017 René Wellek Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association; Earth, authored with Lindy Elkins-Tanton; and The Cambridge Companion to Environmental Humanities, edited with Stephanie Foote. With Julian Yates he is currently writing Noah’s Arkive: Towards an Ecology of Refuge, a project that questions the story of Noah’s ark as a master myth for understanding and intervening in climate change.

Colby College is located in Waterville, ME, and is easily accessible by car, plane, or bus. To learn more about the campus and its environs, see https://www.colby.edu/visitors/.

*

The 2023 New England Medieval Consortium conference will meet on 25 March 2023 at The College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA).

*

According to NEMC’s regional rotation, the 2024 conference will meet at an institution in eastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island.