Six degrees of separation? However non-medievalist you might be—or un-/a-/anti-/post- and so on—if you’re in language, literature, and cultural studies then you’re at most three degrees of separation away from the medieval. Elsewhere in the literary / literate humanities and liberal arts too; and in mathematics, medicine, the sciences, environmental studies, law, education, and some of the social sciences. All that’s needed is curiosity, goodwill, and a little imagination. You might be surprised to find that you or your area has been medievalist or transmedievalist all along, or that you become a medievalist: always a delightful and enriching revelation.
Next year’s Modern Language Association Convention, in Chicago, has “textual transactions” as its grand overarching theme. That can include, at a conference-wide level, medievalising transformations and transformations of the medieval. As the MLA is badge-sharing with the AHA (historians) there’s further opportunity for translations, transmutations, and transcendences. (A first nice transformation would be if the MLA—so as to better express its current reality, having as it does members all over the world and being the home of the International MLA Bibliography—were to change its name from “the MLA of America” to “the International MLA.”)
Three degrees of medievalist separation:
- the more-or-less immediately medieval and medievalist, plus some more inclusive (or less exclusive) sessions
- extended list including that which is interesting from a medieval point of view, the medievalisable, the médiéval malgré lui, the nous n’avons jamais été modernes, and the transmedievalistishesque, as an annotated PDF of the CFP list for all sessions
- the full CFP for all sessions, online at MLA
(1) the medieval and medievalist = 100+ CFP
(2) the medieval, medievalist, and medievalisable = 300+ CFP