Call for Papers – Researching, Teaching, and Learning the Middle Ages through Popular Culture: Medievalism and All That

Researching, Teaching, and Learning the Middle Ages through Popular Culture: Medievalism and All That

The World Languages and Cultures Department of Elon University and the Modern Language Department of Université Grenoble Alpes are pleased to invite submissions – in English or in Italian – for a conference on “Researching, Teaching, and Learning the Middle Ages through Popular Culture: Medievalism and All That.” The conference will take place at the Accademia Europea di Firenze (Via Camillo Cavour, 37) on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 January 2019.

In addition to presentations selected through this call for papers, we are pleased to confirm keynote lectures by:

  • Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri (Università degli Studi di Urbino)
  • Matteo Sanfilippo (Università della Tuscia)

Call for Papers

(Link to the PDF: Link to the Word Document:

At least since the beginning of the Nineteenth century, the “dream of the Middle Ages” (Umberto Eco) has captivated Western culture in many ways. Throughout the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, literary medievalism has known a growing popularity, and new media and forms of entertainment have been progressively involved in various forms of recollection – whether celebrating or deprecating, or simply reinterpreting – of the Middle Ages. For example: the popular novel and genre narrative; radio and television; but also political discourse and different forms of nationalist discourse.

These various appropriations have brought about a complex array of medieval revivals that are often influenced by technological developments and interactive media. Thus, nowadays we find de facto teaching, learning, and representation of the Middle Ages in: videogames; Facebook groups; “Twitter literature”; television series; advertisements; fan fiction spin-offs and crossovers; metal music; board games and so on.

This conference seeks to explore these particular forms of contemporary medievalism; to identify the images and narratives of the medieval period that appear in popular culture; to analyze and critique them and the mediums through which they are transmitted; and to consider how pop culture, interactive media, and technology can be utilized to renew and invigorate research, teaching and learning about Medieval Studies in secondary education and in higher education. Some of the questions the symposium will try to answer are:

  • What place and role do these new medieval mass cultural products have in the medieval canon?
  • How can these productions help scholars, teachers, and students to understand and contextualize the Middle Ages in our modern world?
  • How can they be leveraged to popularize, teach, and learn about the medieval period?
  • Is this contemporary kind of medievalism (sometimes referred to as “neomedievalism”) different from historical revivals in other periods?

We enthusiastically look forward to exploring these and other questions with you at the conference. And, thus, we invite proposals – in English or Italian – that explore the following topics:

  • Popular representations of medieval literature, history, and culture in a variety of mediums (cinema and television; video games; advertisements; comics; fan fiction; pop and rock music, etc.).
  • Innovative approaches related to medieval literature and culture to increase interest and enrollments in courses and programs.
  • Innovative approaches related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) regarding the products of “medieval mass culture”: engaged learning; digital literacy vis-à-vis consumption and production through various mediums; collaborative teaching; students as partners in the teaching and learning process; etc.
  • The limits and risks of this approach to Medieval Studies.

Please submit – in English or Italian – abstracts of 350 to 500 words including a select bibliography and a one-page CV to Dr. Brandon Essary ( and Dr. Filippo Fonio ( by Monday 30 July 2018.

Presenters will be informed of acceptance to the conference no later than Monday 1 October 2018.

***There will be a nominal registration fee for each conference presenter of approximately €50 ($60).***

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