New Chaucer Society: Call for Future Forward Session for summer Expo 2021

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    Robert J. Meyer-Lee

    NCS Expo, Future Forward Call for Nominees, #NCSExpo2021

    Organisers: Seeta Chaganti; Bobby Meyer-Lee; Emily Steiner.

    Whether in the context of long-term social justice commitments or in response to shifts in global politics over the last few years, medievalists have found themselves facing questions about the relation – or lack thereof – between their organizing work and their scholarly engagements. To some extent, this question pertains to academics in all fields: those who are also organizers note the sometimes stark contrasts between the activist and academic communities to which they belong. But the role of organizing in the medievalist’s life holds special complexity. For while scholars in more contemporary fields can often create mutually reinforcing continuities between their scholarship and relevant activist practices, this dynamic can be challenging for medievalists to reproduce. The 2021 Future Forward session aims to create conversation about this longstanding reality in light of current political situations. The session is slated to take place online on Monday 19th July 2021, 14:30BST/08:30EST

    Questions we hope to consider include:

    • How do our expertise and methodologies as medievalists contribute to our social justice goals?

    • What experiences do we have in which our premodern objects of study shape our interventions into present injustices?

    • How does the field acknowledge these? Conversely, what happens when our scholarship and social justice aims are unrelated or even limit and undermine each other? And how do we negotiate between reform from within institutions and the abolitionist discourses that interrogate institutions and hierarchies themselves? Some of these institutions not only play defining roles in many of our lives but also find their origins in medieval cultures.

    • Are some of the antagonisms or simple lack of connections between our activist and scholarly commitments, and between the institutions that enable each, fundamentally irreconcilable? And, inasmuch as they might be reconciled, how might emerging critical emphases in medieval studies serve not simply to improve medievalist scholarship but also to re-make medieval studies as a discipline, one that would more saliently orient its work toward contemporary racial, economic, environmental, gender, disability, and other forms of justice? What challenges have we faced, historically and recently, in making this vision a reality?

    The format for this event will consist of a one-hour panel, in which speakers will interview each other, followed by 45-minute breakout group discussions for all audience members.

    Nominations and self-nominations should be sent to NCS President Anthony Bale ( by Monday 25th January 2021, and can include a supporting statement of up to 200 words.

    This topic was also posted in: CLCS Arthurian, CLCS Medieval, LLC Chaucer, LLC Middle English.
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