Calls for Papers/Aug 04, 2017

Women, Memory and Literacy: New Approaches

Women, Memory and Literacy: New Approaches lead image

Women, Memory and Literacy: New Approaches, 25th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2–5, 2018

“The ability to write is not always the same thing as the ability to compose and comprehend in a fully textual way, for indeed one who writes (a scribe) may simply be a skilled practitioner […] Similarly, learning by hearing material and reciting aloud should not be confused with ignorance of reading[…]” (Mary Carruthers)

We seek to examine the variety of ways through which women engaged with medieval literary culture, and the role played by oral tradition and memory in what modern scholarship terms medieval literacy and the production of medieval texts, particularly in by women.

The goal of the panel(s) is to discuss different aspects of female literacy among the religious and the laity,  and rethink female literacy in a way that would shed light on how medieval women actively engaged with the literary culture, both sacred and secular, of their time and place.

We wish to table the suggestion that it may be time to move beyond the modern-day mechanical notion of literacy as movement of hands and eyes on a page.

We welcome papers on subjects including but not limited to:

  • Gendered memory
  • Writing from memory
  • Acoustic/auditory reading and recollection
  • Lay literacy
  • Mnemonic triggers
  • Personal memory, self-fashioning and identity
  • Rethinking the terminology of literate and illiterate
  • The image of the reading woman

We invite papers dealing with any discipline, region and medieval period, which would tackle the subject from a variety of angles.

Einat Klafter, Tel Aviv University