New England Medieval Consortium 2024: “Books and Transgressions”

New England Medieval Consortium 2024: “Books and Transgressions”

9 November 2024
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA
local organizing committee: Tina Montenegro and Eric Weiskott

This conference will provide an opportunity for medievalists working across a range of disciplines and geographic areas to join in conversation about premodern cultures of the book, boundarycrossing, and the law and other normative cultural expressions. Given this year’s conference location at a Jesuit, Catholic university, and our keynote speakers, we particularly (but not exclusively) invite submissions focused on regions other than England, including the Middle East; language traditions other than English; and religious cultures.

We interpret “transgressions” broadly, including the notions of access, trespass, and desire.

Accordingly, we welcome papers from medievalists in any discipline, concerned with any region or polity of Europe, Asia, or Africa. Papers might consider any of the following subtopics, or others:

  • books whose form, content, or provenance is transgressive;
  • textual cultures: books, authors, texts, audience expectations;
  • the codification of law and law-books;
  • transgression and sin in medieval philosophy and theology;
  • etiquette, diplomacy, or cultural norms, or remediations or contestations of these in written texts;
  • stylistic norms (e.g., poetic and rhetorical precepts) and their transgressions in writing or thevisual arts;
  • modern theoretical or methodological approaches to medieval texts;
  • vernacularity in literature, religion, or the visual arts as a mediation of cultural transgression;
  • the transgressive potential of medieval studies in the present day;
  • heterodoxy, heresy, or the function of the written word in regulating the boundaries of orthodoxy

We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers. Please send abstracts of 300 words to by 15 June 2024.

Our keynote speakers are Dr. Ariane Bottex-Ferragne and Dr. Ahmed El Shamsy. Professor Bottex-Ferragne is Assistant Professor of French at New York University. Her presentation is provisionally entitled “Rules of Transgression in Medieval Poetry: Lessons from a Forgotten Bestseller.” Professor El Shamsy is Professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Chicago. His presentation is provisionally entitled “Authors and their Audiences in Medieval Arabic Book Culture.”

The 2024 conference marks the quinquagenary (fiftieth anniversary) of the founding of the NEMC. As the conference returns to Boston College for the first time since 1981, we hope to make it an especially festive occasion. With our theme of “Books and Transgressions” and with our two invited keynotes, we also propose to expand, geographically, disciplinarily, linguistically, and conceptually, what “the Middle Ages” has signified to our colleagues and students. Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, MA, and is easily accessible by car, plane, or bus. To learn more about the campus and its environs, see

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