Call for Papers – Religion and (the Master) Narrative: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Medieval and Early Modern Belief and Practice

Religion and (the Master) Narrative: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Medieval and Early Modern Belief and Practice

University of Colorado Boulder | Second Annual CMEMS Conference
October 22-24, 2015

Recent scholarship on medieval and early modern religion has begun to question fundamental categories and to destabilize the meaning and chronological divisions between medieval Europe and Reformation Europe, the pre-Christian and the Christianized. A more complex and nuanced portrait of belief and practice has emerged. Where there was once a monolith – the homogeneity of medieval and Catholic Christianity – now we have a sense of the vitality of popular movements (cults of saints, poverty, Apostolic, and women’s movements) interfaith exchanges (among Jews, Muslims, Christians), and heresies (Wycliffites and Cathars). In addition, the Reformation has come to be seen less as an end to the Middle Ages than inextricably connected to it, another manifestation of religious reform. This conference seeks to bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to ask how we might best understand medieval and early modern religion and the narratives generated to explain religious change and continuity. Given that the legacy of the Middle Ages and Reformation persists in our own time, this topic is pressing and particularly timely. To this end, bringing medieval and early modern ideas about religion into conversation with twenty-first century accounts of secularity and religiosity, globalization, and religious plurality is one of the overarching goals of this conference.

Plenary Speakers Include:
Sarah Beckwith (English, Duke University), Kenneth Mills (History, University of Toronto/University of Michigan), Nina Rowe (Art History, Fordham University) and John Van Engen (History, University of Notre Dame)

We invite abstracts for papers (20-minutes in length). Potential lines of inquiry may include: the language(s) and categories of belief and practice (including visual languages); changing narratives of religious reform; the translation and/ or interpretation of religious texts; the creation and proliferation of images and material objects; drama, ritual, and performance; defining or redefining the Reformation; the relationship between gender and religious practice; the relationship between Jews, Muslims, and Christians; the dissemination of doctrine and theology among elites and non-elites; narratives about individuals or groups in text and image (one thinks of saints’ lives and foundation narratives as well as art concerning these); narratives that define or defy heresy; images and structures that index religious skepticism or heterodoxy; the printed image and religious dissent; religion in the early modern New World. We also welcome papers that address how narratives about medieval/ early modern religion have informed and continue to inform our contemporary moment.

Submission Deadline for Abstracts: May 15, 2015
Abstracts (of 300 words) accompanied by a brief biographical paragraph should be sent to: Anne E. Lester, Department of History, OR Katie Little, Department of English, More information can be found at

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