MLA 2023 CFPs!

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    Carissa Harris

    The Chaucer Forum warmly invites submissions for our MLA 2023 (San Francisco, January 5-8) sessions:

    Chaucer’s Ornamentalism and Gimmickry

    This roundtable session brings Anne Anlin Cheng’s concept of ornamentalism and Sianne Ngai’s work on the gimmick into conversation with Chaucer’s work. For instance, in The Squire’s Tale, Canacee’s yellow womanhood operates in tandem with the Mamluk Knight’s gifts of magical objects, which are premodern forms of the gimmick. Or, in Troilus and Criseyde, Troy signifies the East; Criseyde embodies the Oriental, decorative woman; and Pandarus epitomizes the labor-intensive and lubricating efficiency of the gimmick. We seek abstracts addressing any of the following themes: Chaucerian figurations of aesthetic congealment, decorative gesture, temporal abbreviation, labor-saving gag, (im)material devices, affective valuation, ornamental personhood, intersections among race/gender/aesthetics/capital. Abstracts can engage with Asiatic femininity and Marxist Orientalism; criticism as gimmickry; and/or premodern challenges to Cheng’s/Ngai’s historiographies. Please submit 250-word abstracts to Carissa Harris ( and Wan-Chuan Kao ( by March 18, 2022.


    The Information Premodern

    Can information studies help us understand, say, the meteorological disinformation that Nicholas passes to John in The Miller’s Tale, or the guidance for distinguishing mystical information from diabolical malinformation in the Epistle on Discretion of Stirrings?  From N. Katherine Hayles’ definition of the human as a “material-informational entity,” to Patricia T. Clough’s understanding of matter as “in-formational” (capable of “self-organization out of complexity”), contemporary philosophers are re-thinking the relationship among information, body, and identity. But Emily Steiner’s recent work makes a powerful case that Chaucer’s too was an age of information. We seek papers that explore how Chaucer and his contemporaries theorized and were shaped by information praxes as refracted through politics, ethics, (meta)physics, and phenomenology. Did their regimes of information correspond to our own (e.g., mis-/dis-/malinformation)? Papers may address intent, malice, violence, toxicity, interpellation, periodization, or aesthetics. Please send 250-word abstracts to Paul Megna ( and Wan-Chuan Kao ( by March 18, 2022.


    White Supremacist Terror and Narratives of Origin

    (Joint session with LLC Early American Forum)

    This roundtable session invites panelists to consider the weaponization of medieval literature (Chaucer and beyond) in white supremacist narratives of cultural and racial origin. How are medieval stories pressed into the service of contemporary political narratives, and what are their particular affordances? We seek abstracts for papers that might explore any of the following themes: the construction of white innocence, discourses of origins, European ‘indigeneity,’ degradation, (in)justice. Modern American, European, trans-Atlantic uses of the medieval past as an idyll: chivalry, religious crusade, or roguish freedom. Please submit 250-word abstracts to Megan Cook ( and Samantha Seal ( by March 18, 2022.

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