"Mater(ia) familias: Family Matters"
April 1-2, 2011, University of Pennsylvania
From the nuclear to the royal to the holy, families fill the Middle Ages. As a dominant structuring principle of society, the concept of the family knits together the prevalent social, political and economic relations attending the formation and development of the medieval subject. As an ideological construct, the family motif pervades all spheres of cultural expression, from theological and philosophical debates to literary creations, visual productions and musical compositions. As a taxonomizing unit, the notion of family organizes our understanding of language, of material texts and of literary categories. This year’s theme asks us to probe and complicate the questions of gender, structure and power raised by the idea of the family in order to illuminate the complex discursive relations at the heart of medieval society.
Our conference invites submissions concerning one or more formulations of the idea of family. Proposals might look at actual families, whether functional or dysfunctional, real or supernatural, or seek to theorize more abstract concepts of family in relation to linguistic groups, manuscripts and textual transmission. As per our group's mission, we welcome a plurality of perspectives from across all fields of study in recognition of the profound interdisciplinarity of our common object of inquiry: the Middle Ages.
Topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:
- text and manuscript families
- families of believers
- divine families, the Trinity
- monastic orders
- gender roles
- supernatural/monstrous families
- genre and canon formation
- arranged marriages
- marriage as economic transaction
- kinship structures
- nontraditional/non-nuclear families
- sibling rivalry
- conduct manuals, didactic texts
- wills, legacies, inheritances, posterity
- language families
- ruptures, estrangement, long distance relationships
- childbearing and childrearing
Please send 300-word abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2011