Medieval Celtic sessions at MLA 2020

PROPOSALS DUE March 15, 2019

  1. Migration and the Diaspora

From our vantage point in Seattle in 2020, far adrift from the Celtic ‘homelands’, CLCS Celtic invites papers that consider the concept of migration and the place of the diaspora in Celtic-language texts and in Celtic Studies more broadly.

Historical or fictional, migration is a regularly occurring theme in Celtic texts from the medieval to the modern periods. In recent history, migrations have carried Celtic languages and narrative traditions far afield. Scholars, moreover, have advanced the study of Celtic languages and literatures from diasporic outposts since the founding of the discipline.

Papers could consider shifting relationships to and perspectives of the homeland/region; shifting perspectives of the self as Gael/Welsh/Breton/Celt; loss of home, exile, and/or renewal; Celts on the continent, in the Americas, or elsewhere; indigenous peoples’ experience of the Celtic diaspora; Celtic peoples and colonization/post-colonial studies; the immigrant experience in the early modern and modern eras; the exportation and adaptation of popular ‘Celtic’ culture; Celticism and Celticists in the diaspora; or the place of diaspora studies within Celtic Studies.

Submit 250-word abstracts for 15-minute papers to Natasha Sumner ( and Melissa Ridley Elmes ( by March 15.

  1. Arthurian Archipelagos

The CLCS Celtic and Arthurian forums are proposing a joint-sponsored special session based on the concept of Arthurian Archipelagos. The governing concept of “archipelago,” understood as a loosely related chain of islands connected by water (much like the British Isles where the Arthurian legend originated), asks us to think “archipelagically”—to bring together loosely-connected ideas, texts, and concepts that link to one another across a broader or more far-flung area than we might otherwise consider. Papers may also think geographically, broadening the purview of the “Arthurian world” by considering Arthur in Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, the Americas, India, Asia, Australia—as if the landmasses of this world might be viewed as sets of archipelagos. Papers may also emphasize the very real, smaller archipelagos of the North Atlantic, focusing on motifs in Arthurian literature like sea travel, islands, boats, navigation, etc.—or, in the digital realm, thinking of the Internet as a sea, of digital data points as archipelagos in a virtual Arthurian world. To focus our ideas, the session emphasizes “archipelago” as a metaphor for a particular methodology, expanded geographical purview, or motif study. We are open to studies focusing on the Arthurian legend in any time, place, or format.

Submit 250-word abstracts for 15-minute papers and a short bio to Melissa Ridley Elmes ( and Molly Martin ( by March 15.

Panel co-sponsored by the Celtic and Arthurian CLCS forums. This panel is not guaranteed.

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