The Tales After Tolkien Society will be sponsoring two sessions at the Kalamazoo ICMS, May 14-17th, 2015: one of papers, and one round table. Twenty-first century popular culture is structured by genres; they shape its processes, products, and reception. Neomedievalisms permeate most if not all major pop culture genres, from historical, fantasy, and crime, to children’s, science fiction, and westerns. In these two panels, the Tales After Tolkien Society seeks to explore the profound ways in which genre influences contemporary representations an readings of the Middle Ages, and, conversely, how ideas about the Middle Ages might shape genres. Both sessions will ask, for example, how contemporary social and cultural trends and concerns intersect with the medieval in genre fiction.
Proposals from scholars and professionals at any stage of their careers with an interest in these topics are welcomed. People of color, LGBTQ people, and members of other marginalized groups are encouraged to propose papers. Submissions must follow the rules as set out by the Medieval Institute http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html An abstract of 250-300 words accompanied by a Participant Information Form, available from the submissions website, should be sent to Helen Young at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 15, 2014. Submissions should clearly state which of the following panels they are intended for.
Session of Papers: Martin and More: Genre Medievalisms
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels are among the most visible and popular medievalist works in the present day, but they are not the be-all and end-all of genre medievalisms. The session of papers, focused on genre fiction, seeks in-depth explorations which focus on a single twenty-first-century work, series, or author’s corpus. They may consider Martin’s work, compare and contrast it with that of another author, or examine a completely different contemporary literary re-imagining of the Middle Ages. Questions which might be considered include, but are not limited to the following. How do genre conventions shape the use of medieval material and vice versa? How do technological developments and the explosion of multi-media genre products including film, television and video-gaming engage with literature? How do representations of race, gender, and class intersect with medievalism in contemporary fiction genres? Papers examining cross- and multi-genre works are welcomed, as are interdisciplinary approaches.
Round Table: From Frodo to Fidelma: Medievalisms in Popular Genres
The round table aims to compare and contrast the medievalist conventions and practices of a wide range of genres, which might include but are not limited to not fantasy, children's television, crime, role-playing games, and romance literature, examining examine genre conventions, phenomena and trends. By doing so, the session seeks seeks to identify cross-genre trends, as well as to highlight the multiplicities of contemporary medievalisms. Presentations focusing on the medievalisms of a single genre – which may be loosely or closely defined – across a decade or more of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries are sought. Tightly focussed explorations of, for example, medievalism and gender, violence, race, or dis/ability in a given genre or across multiple genres are also welcome. Presentations may take a single work/series/corpus as an example, but these should illustrate broader points about the given genre. Papers in the session witll be 7-10 minutes in length.