IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 901: Medieval Academy of America Lecture: Beyond Textual Bounds - Rediscovering the Mediation of Medieval Sources (Language: English)

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 19.00-20.00

Sponsor:Medieval Academy of America
Speaker:Carol Symes, Department of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Abstract

In recent decades, scholars have established beyond doubt that lay people were making, using, and keeping documents without reliance on ecclesiastical institutions, even in the early Middle Ages. Yet until the advent of municipal archives in the 13th century, examples of everyday ‘pragmatic literacy’, especially in northern Europe, are preserved only by accident. Meanwhile, surviving indications of non-elite textual agency have often been dismissed as lingering relics of orality or as literary tropes – not least because official record-keepers had a vested interest in denigrating or denying the existence of alternative literacies. But in reality, the making of medieval texts was seldom hegemonic, and texts themselves were malleable: especially during the ‘documentary revolution’ of the 11th and 12th centuries. How might our reading of the historical record be radically altered if we dissolved the boundaries between text and context? How can we recover the embodied, material, performative, and affective processes through which texts were mediated? This presentation will consider how the evidentiary status of medieval sources might change as we learn to answer such crucial questions.

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Speaker: Carol Symes, Department of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Introduction: Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, Faculty of Icelandic & Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Iceland, Reykjavík