International Medieval Congress

IMC 2022

29th annual International Medieval Congress

~ Borders ~

The IMC provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Proposals on any topic related to the Middle Ages are welcome, while every year the IMC also chooses a special thematic focus. In 2022 this is Borders’.

Medieval borders have preoccupied scholars for several decades in various guises. The term border’ designates a wide variety of phenomena: physical geographical limits, that can be signalled by border markers or natural features, points where toll has to be paid, political boundaries, that vary from points in space to linear and fortified military fronts, ways of controlling space, frontier zones, borderlands, porous zones of encounters and contact, ways of limiting community and identity, ideological and metaphorical delimitation including discourse and representation, bordering practices, the process of creating and performing borders, and borderscapes to capture fluidity and change over time.

This strand seeks to bring together medievalists of all fields interested in both the theory and practice of borders in all their variety, from physical boundaries and material borders to dynamic social and spatial relationships. Borders can be linked to power and the formation of states, to definitions of self and other, to violence and military engagement, to belonging and becoming, to material and symbolic construction, to relational and perspectival production of space, to mapping and discourse, to experience and theory, to negotiation and performance. Borders can also be found in frescoes, textiles, clothing, ceramics or coins, with practical, symbolic or aesthetic functions. Borders are also subject to evolution and significant change over time not just between the medieval and modern, but within the medieval period.

Themes to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:

  • Political and military borders
  • Living in border zones
  • Medieval and Modern perceptions, descriptions, and conceptualizations of borders
  • Delimiting borders, border markers
  • Border maintenance
  • Encountering and experiencing borders
  • Bordering practices
  • Borderscapes in the longue durée
  • Symbolic borders
  • Belonging and exclusion
  • Mapping borders and border zones
  • Border institutions
  • Materiality of borders
  • Border and power
  • Migration
  • Medieval imagery of borders
  • Transnationalism
  • Political, social, cultural, religious performance of borders
  • Village and parish boundaries
  • Boundaries between town and countryside and within towns
  • Practices of delimitation
  • Blurring boundaries such as human/​animal, animate/​inanimate, gender, age, status, religion
  • Self and other, boundaries of the self
  • Fluidity and fixity of borders
  • Borders in manuscripts
  • Material and visual borders
  • Processual and performative turns and medieval borders
  • Disciplinary boundaries
  • Paratexts as borders
  • Borders of the body
  • Transcending and reaffirming boundaries between life and death
  • Borders, boundaries, frontiers

The IMC welcomes session and paper proposals submitted in all major languages.

The Special Thematic Strand Borders‘ will be co-ordinated by Nora Berend (Faculty of History / St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge).

Find Calls for Papers: Check out our curated Twitter moment of Calls for Papers for IMC 2021 sessions or round tables here.

Don’t forget to read our Participation and Acceptance Criteria before submitting your paper or session proposal.

Submit your Paper, Session or Round Table proposal here.

Paper proposal deadline: 31 August 2021

Session proposal deadline: 30 September 2021

Format: Coronavirus restrictions permitting, we are planning, to host an in-person gathering in Leeds, with virtual involvement possible for those who are unable to attend in person. You will be asked when submitting your proposal about whether you would prefer to present your paper or session in-person or virtually. It is important that you let us know your preference, as this information will inform our planning of both virtual and in-person elements.

You can find out more about how to submit a paper or session proposal by reading our handy guide.

Tolkien-related sessions

4 July 2022 12:15 utc — view in local time

№ 141: J.R.R. Tolkien: Medieval roots and modern branches

Andrew Higgins, organiser; and Kristine Larsen, moderator/chair

This session will address wider topics and new approaches to Tolkien’s medievalism ranging from source studies and theoretical readings to comparative studies (including Tolkien’s legacy).

full listing ☞

4 July 2022 15:15 utc — view in local time

№ 241: Tolkien and Medieval poets: A session in memory of Richard C. West

Andrew Higgins, organiser; and Andrew Higgins, moderator/chair

This session is in memory of medievalist and distinguished Tolkien scholar who we sadly lost in 2020: Richard C. West. Richard wrote some of the most important and influential early scholarship on Tolkien including his seminal 1975 essay The Interlace Structure of The Lord of the Rings’ which demonstrated how the narrative interlace structure used by medieval authors influenced Tolkien’s work. In memory of Richard’s scholarship papers in this session will explore the influence and impact of works of medieval poetry and poets on the creative thought, process, and works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

full listing ☞

4 July 2022 20:00 utc — view in local time

№ 441: Tolkien as a Gateway to Interdisciplinary Teaching: A round table discussion

Andrew Higgins, organiser; and Andrew Higgins, moderator/chair

Participants include Deidre Dawson, independent scholar; and Dimitra Fimi, Senior Lecturer in Fantasy and Children’s Literature (English Literature), University of Glasgow.

This round table discussion will feature talks by teachers on how they have used the works of Tolkien to introduce and engage students with new fields of study and disciplines. Short papers and discussions will explore how teachers have used the works of Tolkien as a gateway for students to explore and become passionate about other areas of study.

full listing ☞

6 July 2022 10:00 utc — view in local time

№ 1033: Borders between life and death in Tolkien’s legendarium

Andrew Higgins, Organiser; and Sara Brown, moderator/chair

Papers in this session related to the thematic strand of the conference papers will explore themes around metaphysical borders and liminal spaces between life and death in Tolkien’s works and their influences.

full listing ☞

6 July 2022 12:15 utc — view in local time

№ 1133: Family, orientation, transgression, and crossing borders of Middle-earth

Andrew Higgins, organiser; and Andrew Higgins, moderator/chiar

Papers in this session will explore broader topics around different types of less evident borders found in Tolkien’s creative thought and writing. They can include orientations and borders that are encountered and crossed (or not) in various types of social interactions and relationships in Tolkien’s legendarium including social, linguistic, racial, and sexual.

full listing ☞

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date recorded 📅2022-01-24
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