“FLAWS”: a Medieval Research Conference, University College London

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The London Medieval Graduate Network welcomes submissions for research papers on “Flaws” for its 2014 annual conference, hosted by UCL. This inter-disciplinary conference examines how deliberate or mistaken defects, errors, limitations and imperfections have been perceived across the medieval period.

Flaws are something all researchers have to deal with; from flaws in our source material, to flaws in the approaches and theories we use. The late twentieth century witnessed a concerted effort from within the medieval discipline to challenge not only our theoretical approaches but also the validity of our disciplines themselves. These challenges encouraged researchers to be aware of the limitations of their evidence as well as mindful of the choices they make within their own research. As postgraduates and young researchers we are more aware than ever of the flaws which we face. We hope that this theme will give scope for the discussion of newer areas of medieval study, such as considerations of materiality, the built environment and psychological analyses, whilst also allow us to consider new approaches to more traditional discussions of the text, narratives and institutions.

Professor John Arnold (Birbeck) will give a keynote talk entitled, ‘Flaws in Medieval Belief.’

LMGN seeks to promote conversations and collaborations among medievalists in and beyond the London network. Following the success of last year’s conference, “In the Beginning”, hosted by King’s College, we are excited to invite proposals for 20-minute papers in any aspect of our theme of flaws. Submissions are open to postgraduate and early career researchers working in all medieval periods or academic disciplines.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Considerations of what flaws are and whether our conception of them changes over time
  • Flaws in medieval source material
  • Lost, damaged and concealed objects
  • Imperfections in the built environment
  • Flaws in our approach to the medieval past
  • Sin, erring and the dichotomies of right and wrong
  • Abstractions of behaviour from what was considered ‘ideal’ or ‘correct’
  • Flaws in government and the consequences of ‘bad rule’
  • Flaws in religious understanding and thinking
  • Punishments for perceived flaws
  • How legal systems or authorities address and correct flaws and imperfections in behaviour
  • Flaws and imperfections in art, manuscript illustrations and marginalia
  • Differentiating creativity and originality from error
  • Intentionality of flaws and errors
  • False attributions, past and present, of sources, influences or textual authorities

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words. Please send your abstract together with a short biographical note to londonmedgradnetwork@gmail.com by March 24 2014.

Image: Thomas Hoccleve’s ‘The regiment of princes’; British Library MS Arundel 38- via jothelibrarian.tumblr.com

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