6-9 July 2015
Congress Programme 2015: Special Thematic Strand: 'Reform and Renewal'
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Call for Papers/Sessions - International Medieval Congress 2015
The IMC seeks to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Paper and session proposals on any topic related to the European Middle Ages are welcome. However, every year, the IMC chooses a special thematic strand which - for 2015 - is 'Reform and Renewal'. The theme has been chosen for the crucial importance of both phenomena in social and intellectual discourse, both medieval and modern, as well as their impact on many aspects of the human experience.
The changes brought about by deliberate individual and collective interventions demonstrate the impact of reform and renewal on the development of spirituality, ideologies, institutional and socio-economic realities, literary and artistic expression, and a sense of shared identity amongst communities. Change could be justified by referring rhetorically to a 'restoration' or 'renewal' of a perceived former reality. Monastic and ecclesiastical groups regarded spiritual and institutional reform as closely interconnected. Secular rulers invoked divine will and natural order to validate interventions in political and socio-economic structures. Innovators in literary and artistic spheres referred to a desire to return to a more 'authentic' or 'original' intellectual, spiritual, or aesthetic experience. In reality, reform and renewal could be profoundly radical but could also be more ambigiuous, remaining virtually unnoticed by contemporaries. Medieval commentators' tendency to append positive and negative connotations to accounts of reform and renewal continues to impact upon modern discussions of both phenomena and their rhetorical uses.
Areas of discussion could include:
- Justifications for reform by ruling or dissident groups (e.g. oligarchies, heretics, parliaments)
- Memories of reform: historiographical justifications
- Changing evaluations of reform and renewal: medieval commentaries and modern scholarship
- Relevance of reform and renewal as terms to describe change across different periods, regions, social layers, and landscapes
- Renewal without reform: intentional change that was not presented as a reform
- The individual as agent of reform/renewal: charismatic leaders, innovators, and bureaucratic reformers
- Collectivities as agents of reform and renewal
- Significance and/or impact of individual, social, political, and institutional reform/renewal as well as impact on individuals and societies
- Religious and/or ideological renewal
- Reform and renewal in literary and artistic production: genre and style reforms, reformist literature
- Reform and renewal in manuscript production, translation, and dissemination
- Medieval rhetorics of reform and renewal
- Physical remains of reform or renewal: architecture, texts, iconography
- Reform as renovation or continuity: maintaining continuation of structures, continuation of knowledge, or 'Back to basics'
- Reform in education / moral renewal
The Special Thematic Strand 'Reform and Renewal' has been co-ordinated by Steven Vanderputten (Vakgroep Geschiedenis, Universiteit Gent).