Two CFPs for Kalamazoo 2020

Hello, all!

Taking a brief hiatus from writing, writing, writing (on which, more later) to share these calls for papers for two sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (“Kalamazoo”) which will be of interest to those working in outlaw studies and Arthurian studies!

CFP: “Outlaw Epistemologies”
International Association for Robin-Hood Studies-sponsored session
ICMS “Kalamazoo” 2020

This session seeks to examine the epistemology of premodern outlaws and their afterlives. What do we know about outlaws, and how? How do we construct our knowledge of them into narratives, and based on what systems of thinking? Where there are competing systems affecting how outlaws are understood (a literary presentation that contradicts a political, or historical one, for example, or competing literary traditions from different viewpoints) how do we reconcile them and based on what evidence (or lack thereof?) How do outlaws evolve over time, and through what cultural, historical, sociological, or political pressures exerted upon them? Perhaps, through an intentional examination of the various epistemological traditions in which figures like Robin Hood, Fouk le Fitz-Waryn, Gamelyn, and Hereward the Wake originated and have evolved, we can better understand their complicated and ambiguous roles and receptions, and how and by whom they are used as persuasive means, and to what end.

Approaches might take one of the traditional epistemological views as their starting point–a historicist/ historiographic, empiricist, rationalist, constructivist, pragmatic, or skeptical approach to the problem of outlaw epistemology–or might branch into related views, such as the Deleuzian and Guattarian idea of the “rhizomatic network” that seeks to understand networks of relationships between figures or objects through their connection(s) with one another as semiotic chains, rather than through any clear and direct approach. Ultimately, we are after papers that posit in some meaningful way one or more systems or traditions of thought that have contributed to the origin, development, transmission, and/or reception of premodern outlaws in literature, art, and/or media (and the outlaws examined in these papers do not need to be English!)

Session format: 15-20 minute papers

Please send your 300-word abstract and completed PIF to Melissa Ridley Elmes at and Alexander L. Kaufman at by September 15, 2019.


CFP: “Medicine and Medical Practice in the Arthurian World”
International Arthurian Society-North American Branch-sponsored session
ICMS “Kalamazoo” 2020

The Arthurian legend is renowned for scenes of tournaments, jousts, and great battles; instances of poisoning; and rescues of damsels and battling of various monsters. All such episodes feature the damaging of one or more human bodies. When that occurs, what are the medicines and medical practices employed, who wields them, and how effective are they? While recent studies have examined the wounds, bleeding, and deaths of Arthurian figures, this session seeks to open a conversation on the medicines and medical practices used to intercede and provide relief and healing. Questions and approaches might include: is there a gendered component to healing practices in the Arthurian legend? Is there an ethics system, or are there competing ethical systems, at play in the use of medicines and medical practices in Arthurian texts? How do medicines and medical practices in Arthurian texts compare to their real-world counterparts? Are there contradictory representations of medicines and medical practices present in Arthurian texts and, if so, how should we understand those contradictions? Is there a relationship between a damsel’s purity and/or a knight’s worshipfulness and how effective medicine or medical practices are in their hands as practitioners or on their bodies as patients? Do medicine and/or medical practices ever depend upon in whole or part an intervention by God or some other supernatural figure and, if so, how should we understand the intersection of science and religion in those moments? Is there an epistemology of medicines locatable in Arthurian texts? Is there some pattern discernible in when medicines and medical practices do and do not work? How are medicine and medical practices portrayed in Arthurian films and television shows?

Session format: 15-20-minute papers

Please send your 300-word abstract and completed PIF form to David Johnson,, and Melissa Ridley Elmes,, by September 15.


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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