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2015 Program

PROGRAM

4th BIENNIAL MEETING OF THE BABEL WORKING GROUP 

Kernan_Books_02

*all images from Sean Kernan, Secret Books

~ Off the Books: Making, Breaking, Binding, Burning, Leaving, Gathering  ~

[conference’s vision statement HERE]

9-11 October 2015

University of Toronto

Co-Sponsors

BABEL Working Group, Book History & Print Culture (UT), Centre for Comparative Literature (UT), Centre for Medieval Studies (UT), Department of Art (UT), Department of East Asian Studies (UT), Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies (UT), Department of English (UTSG + UTSC), Department of English and Drama (UTM), Department of French (UT), Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures (UT), Department of History (UT), Department of Visual Studies (UTM), Faculty of Music (UT), Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (UT), OBNS Lab (UT), The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, punctum books, School of Graduate Studies (UT), and Victoria University (UT)

Featured Speakers

micha cárdenas //

trans of color movement ∗ digital media ∗ performance ∗ poetry ∗ aesthetics ∗ bioart ∗ information sciences

Malisha Dewalt //

provocation ∗ people of color in european art history ∗ cognitive dissonance ∗ race ∗ historiography

David Gersten //

architecture/design ∗ para-education ∗ theater/film ∗ disciplinary choras ∗ poetic materialisms ∗ creative exchange

Alexandra Gillespie //

medieval manuscripts ∗ bindings ∗ bibliography ∗ book history ∗ print culture ∗ textuality ∗ bibliophilia

Randall McLeod (aka Random Cloud) //

portable collation ∗ early modern book history ∗ intellectual history ∗ typography ∗ unediting ∗ obliterature

Whitney Anne Trettien //

comparative media studies ∗ media archaeology ∗ early book history ∗ starry reading materialities ∗ concordances ∗ digital sound studies

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REGISTRATION* (follow links below to register)

$75.00 (USD) Students/Non-regular Faculty/Artists/Thought Artisans/Critical Practioners

$175.00 (USD) Late Registration, Full-Time Faculty (post-September 15th)

*If you are University of Toronto faculty or student, there is no charge for attending the conference; if you want to pre-register and have a name-badge and conference program set aside for you, please send an email to: babel.conference@gmail.com

Go HERE for more information regarding Registration, Lodging, Getting Around Toronto, & Extracurriculars.

Registration + Book/Journal Display + Coffee/Tea/Etc.

Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park

Friday, 8:30am – 4:00pm

Saturday, 8:30am – 4:00pm

Sunday, 8:30am – 1:00pm

*all regular sessions take place in the Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building (map); plenary sessions 1, 2 & 3 take place in Victoria College (map)

A WORD ABOUT CONDUCT >

BABEL cares about your well-being. BABEL’s Biennial Meeting is designed to be a comfortable and convivial space in which to think, work, and play with others, and when it isn’t, for whatever reason, we care about that and will work diligently to remedy the situation. The University of Toronto has a Code of Conduct. It can be found in full HERE. We endorse the University of Toronto’s Code. If you are being harassed or discriminated against, please contact our Ombusmaidens Eileen Joy (eileenajoy@gmail.com), Myra Seaman (seamanm@cofc.edu), or Suzanne Akbari (s.akbari@utoronto.ca). If you are harrassing others: Stop it.

Kernan_Book_Nest

*for your iPads and laptops, download a PDF of the print program HERE

DAY 0: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8

Beolarp

Co-Organizers: Chris Hall (Professional Game Designer) + Kaitlin Heller (University of Toronto)

2:00pm – 5:00pm

Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies

*see full list of un/session projects further below

This un/session will take the text of Beowulf off the books by transforming it into a live-action roleplaying game, or “larp.” Attendees will sign up in advance for the game through an interface maintained by the game designers, which can be found HERE. No previous gaming experience is necessary. Rules of game play and safety will be explained as part of the session. We intend to use this game to explore questions of the boundaries between academic and non- or para-academic experiences of academic material. We have chosen Beowulf both because it is well-known and because of its position in the medieval canon. Through our game, we ask: what does it mean to “know” this text? What other lives does this text have, and how can we encounter them? Does the transformation of this text into other media subvert or reify its place in the canon? How can gaming explore gaps either in the text or between what the text says and what non-academics think the text says? What new knowledge can be gained about Beowulf when it is experienced in a new way? This session will take approximately three hours and will happen on the Thursday before the conference, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey building.

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DAY 1: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9

PLENARY SESSION I: On the Books

9:30am – 11:30am

Chapel, Victoria College, 2nd Floor

WELCOMING Remarks: Suzanne Conklin Akbari, University of Toronto + Liza Blake, University of Toronto + Eileen Joy, BABEL Working Group

INTRODUCTION of Speakers: Jonathan Hsy, George Washington University

  • Alexandra Gillespie, “On Chaucer’s Books”
  • Randall McLeod, “The Invisible Book”
  • Whitney Anne Trettien, “Resonant Frequency: The Physics of the Book”

In addition to sharing their current preoccupations and projects, our three plenarists in this session will be collectively ruminating (some, or all of) the following questions: What are the current stakes of creating “on the books? How are you re-imagining the means and ends of your (our) intellectual and artistic labors in terms of specific methods, forms or processes? What is at stake in ensuring that the labor and materiality of certain texts or creative interventions stay on the books? How have various modern technologies aided your work with premodern manuscripts, texts, and books? “Open” and “access” are now caught between new meanings and materialities for creation, and functioning as covers for the continuation of (often neoliberalized) practices that narrow our options for making the forgotten and marginalized legible, so how does working “on the books” at this moment actively resist some of the illegible terms of moving access “off the books” with the encroachment of the (neoliberal) digital? What are the dangers, problems, and frustrations of being “on the book? Is being on the books by default associated with slow texts and labor? Is working on books another slow movement, positioned against accelerated economies and processes? Or is this indeed a kind of mirage? Our current moment inspires and calls forth a whole set of questions relative to the past, present, and future of the book: Is the digital age offing the book? Is the book merely dying on its own? Or being killed? Is it changing? Is it now? Is it then? Is it alive? Is it zombified? Consider, for example, that among so many “hard” media forms that have been introduced since the invention of the printed book, only the book remains as a sort of durable information/entertainment platform — as opposed to celluloid film, the phonograph record, the reel-to-reel tape, the 8-track tape, the VHS tape, the cassette tape, the floppy disk, the hard- and zip- and flash-drive, the CD, the DVD, and so on. If, while everything else (all information, all “knowledge”) migrates to the “cloud,” the book persists, is this persistence perversely anomalous, or somehow the natural result of a brilliantly built-in anti-obsolescence? Put more succinctly, how might we account for the persistence of the book, or: how might we now sing the praises of the book, both as material artifact of certain histories but also as time-traveler?

11:30am – 1:30 pm // LUNCH BREAK

writtenhandonbook

SESSIONS // 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Session 1. Literary Machine or War Machine: Violence Between Books and Bodies

Co-Organizers: Kathleen E. Kennedy (Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine) + Susie Nakley (St Joseph’s College, New York)

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

This session ponders violent intersections of books with bodies and text with flesh. Our presentations analyze instances of violence and trauma involving books, papers, and other inscribed materials. Literature, film, visual art, contemporary moments, and distant histories all show us bodies that collide violently with books, sometimes fortunately and at other times disastrously. For example, in the Thousand and One Nights, we meet the sage Duban and the treacherous, yet deeply curious King Yunan; the sage ultimately kills the king with a copy of the Secretum Secretorum, whose poisoned pages the king can not resist turning, even after he has the sage beheaded. And Spenser’s Faerie Queene presents the monster Errour, who most forcefully confronts the hero Red Cross Knight when she vomits stinking books and papers along with blind amphibians and Eucharistic flesh in the heat of their struggle. In November 2014, gun violence, an awfully ordinary occurrence in twenty-first century American life, produced an extraordinary image when a book on the fourteenth-century English theologian John Wycliffe intercepted a bullet shot at a Florida State University student, and then photos of the wounded tome circulated through the media.

Readers have long appreciated books as more than passive objects to be read, written, inscribed, bought, sold, borrowed, loaned, and collected. Deleuze and Guattari have taught us that we can often learn more by asking how books function, especially in connection with other organ-less bodies and assemblages, than by asking what books mean. They see books as small rhizomatic machines that deterritorialize a world that then reterritorializes them. As a whole, this session explores how collisions of book with body relate the “literary machine to a war machine, love machine, revolutionary machine, etc. — and an abstract machine that sweeps them all along,” as Deleuze and Guattari write. Together we will meditate on the violent material and physical work that books often do, and we will consider what that intimates about their more transcendent force and meaning.

  • Rachel Levinson-Emley (University of California, Santa Barbara), “Wounding the Body to Heal the Body: Wellcome Library MS 40 and Medieval Phlebotomy”
  • Kristi Castleberry (Lyndon State College), “A Body Made Only of Words: Joan of Arc and the Narrative Relic”
  • Irina A. Dumitrescu (University of Bonn), “Kids and Books: A Tale of Mutual Destruction”
  • Emily Steiner (University of Pennsylvania), “Violent Collecting in Richard of Bury’s Philobiblon
  • RESPONSE: Anna Klosowska (Miami University of Ohio)

Session 2. Blackening the Books: The Abiding “Africanist Presence” in the Pre- and Early Modern English Literary Canon

Organizer: Cord J. Whitaker, Wellesley College

Flâneur: Malisha Dewalt

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

It is only through the distinction between the white space of the page and the black pigment of ink that words become visible. It is only in contrast and distinction that meaning issues forth from books. In Playing in the Dark, her study of the relevance of blackness to American literature, Toni Morrison argues that a “dark, abiding, and signing Africanist presence” animates canonical American literature. She calls for future “studies that analyze the strategic use of black characters to define the goals and enhance the qualities of white characters …, [that] will reveal the process of establishing others in order to know them, to display knowledge of the other so as to ease and to order external and internal chaos.” What if this “dark, abiding, and signing” presence extends back beyond the dawn of American modernity? What if Morrison’s temporal location of the Africanist presence ought to be rethought according to criticisms such as Geraldine Heng’s: that race studies suffers from “[a] blind spot … a cognitive lag that makes theory unable to step back any further than the Renaissance”? While an increasing amount of work in medieval and early modern studies makes a point of exploring the roles of black and white bodies in texts that participate in Christian crusading and European colonizing discourses, this panel seeks to go further: recognizing the importance of bodies in literature, this panel will also consider blackness as that which creates and transmits meaning. Panel participants will ask, what are the connections between blackness in the body, in the ink, in damage to the page — even the metaphorical ‘blackness’ of historical lacunae, voids, that shroud literary history — and the abiding Africanist presence? Papers will consider whether to ‘blacken the books’ is at once to shroud aspects of literary meaning, including the Africanist presence, in shadow and mystery; to recognize their hiddenness; and necessary in order to create, reveal, and transmit meaning. The panel will ask: what are the implications for medieval and early modern studies, race studies, and literary study on the whole if blackness is a manifestation of hiddenness and revelation, of that which resists analysis and the very stuff of analysis itself? Finally, the panel will ask, should the books—especially medieval and early modern books — be blackened after all?

In response to these and any related questions, and in order to facilitate a robust question and answer period, attendees and other interested parties (i.e., anyone!) are asked to visit the survey HERE or HERE  in order to respond honestly, inquisitively, and anonymously to this panel description. Responses will be entirely ‘off the books’ and respondents should feel free to ask any questions they like, disregarding any fears about suitability, political correctness, and even intellectual mastery. The session organizer and panelists will choose questions and comments to which to respond ahead of the session.

  • Cord J. Whitaker (Wellesley College), “Black Chaucer”
  • Anneliese Pollock Renck (Bucknell University), “Dragons and Africans; Dragons=Africans? In Les Secretz de l’histoire naturelle”
  • Dennis Austin Britton (University of New Hampshire), “Black Shakespeare”
  • Lee Benjamin Huttner (Northwestern University), “Black Marlowe”
  • Reginald A. Wilburn (University of New Hampshire), “Black Milton”

Session 3. Hermeneutics 2.0

Organizer: Anna Wilson, University of Toronto

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

The need for extra-institutional community between mobile academic and para-academic workers and the sudden prominence of the Digital Humanities means that a great deal of professional activity and community formation is happening in online spaces that nurture new hermeneutics, new ways of knowing and of sharing knowledge. Several recent articles have reflected on how Twitter has been shaping academic discourse in Medieval Studies in particular; scholars who live-tweet are exploring the new hermeneutics that emerge when a 20-min conference paper is translated into 140 characters with hashtags. Less explored are the ways other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, Youtube, Vine, and many others shape the way their users present information, both through the formats they invite — the fanvid, the anonymous comment, the emoticons, reaction gifs, lolcats, webcomics, image captioning — and through the norms of discourse and audience literacies that emerge from the communities that gather on these different platforms. This panel seeks to explore how academic work transforms, translates, mutates, or reframes itself when it emerges in the shape of an internet meme, a piece of fanfiction, a hover text. What is at stake in such a change, politically, professionally, emotionally, and academically? What are the affective currents surrounding these different hermeneutics and movement between them? Who reads, who benefits, and who is put off or ignored? What political aims may be served, or not, by embracing internet hermeneutics? Where are the limits and limitations of internet hermeneutics? Can we speak of an ‘internet hermeneutics’ at all? The five presenters will display, play, or read out something they have made that explores the conjunction of internet hermeneutics and academic scholarship. These will provide a jumping off point for an hour of discussion between panelists, moderator, and audience.

  • Kaitlin Heller (University of Toronto), “Live Anglo-Saxon Role Playing”
  • Norman Hogg and Neil Mulholland, Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Concordia University + University of Edinburgh), “Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a £50 Amazon voucher!”
  • Jennifer Jordan (Stony Brook University, SUNY), “Graduate School, Academic Self-Care and Digital Communities”
  • Dan Redding-Brielmaier (University of Toronto): “Accidental Pedagogy: Tumblr”
  • Ariel Franklin-Hudson (Columbia University), “Metatext/Paratext: The Hermeneutics of Tumblr Tags”
  • Cai Henderson (University of Toronto): “Lay thine eyes upon it and thou shalt see that it is barren: Appreciation and appropriation of medieval art on Twitter”

3:00pm – 3:30pm

Poetry Reading: David Goldstein

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

*associated with Session 11 (see below)

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SESSIONS // 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Session 4. Apocalyptic Assemblages: Reading to the End in Religion, Ecology, and Popular Culture

Co-Organizers: Maija Birenbaum (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) + Justin Kolb (The American University in Cairo)

Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies

We’re in the last days, man — I truly in my heart believe that. It’s written. I could go on with Biblical situations and things my grandma told me. But it’s about being at peace with myself and making good with the people around me. ~Kendrick Lamar, Interview, Billboard

There’s an allure to life in the last days. The largest earthquake in British history was recorded on 6 April 1580. The following 9 October, a comet streaked across the sky. These novae sparked a rash of pamphlets, including Francis Shakelton’s A blazyng Starre, which read the earthquake and comet as omens of “the finall dissolution of the Engine of this worlde […] whiche by many manifest and inevitable reasons I gather, can not bee farre of.”

[I]t shall manifestly be proved that this worlde shall perishe and passe awaie, if wee doe but consider the partes whereof it doeth consist, for doe we not see the earth to be changed and corrupted […] have ye not read, that seas have rebounded back, overwhelmed whole Cittes, and utterly drowned whole provinces: And what are these strange alterations els, but evident arguments that the world shall one daie have an ende.

Shakelton’s theory of the Decay of Nature was, like most apocalypses, a complex assemblage combining the Book of God and the Book of Nature, with creation constantly warning us of its entropic slide. This panel will explore the human fascination with the end of time, investigating the ways in which holy books, secular texts, and signs in the earth and sky combine to write ends for the world. How do apocalyptic discourses use books to order an uncertain world? How is apocalypticism a form of knowledge production that combines human and inhuman actors? What can we read about a culture’s understanding of the world through its eschatological expectations? How do apocalyptic ideologies shape political rhetoric and historical perspectives? What are the risks and rewards of reading to the end?

  • Sarah Breckenridge Wright (Duquesne University), “Nature As Book, Nature Is Book”
  • Maija Birenbaum (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater), “Revelation in Pulp Fiction: Rapture Culture, Christian Fundamentalism, and the Battle for the Mind
  • Quincy Lehr (St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn), “The Soul of Man—and Socialism”
  • Laura Hall (Laurentian University), “Indigenous Feminism/s and Popular Culture: Exploring The 100 and Doomsday
  • Daniel O’Connell (C.S. Mott College), “Al-Ghazâlî, Bradbury, and More: Ruminations on the Eternity of the World”

Session 5. Chain of Witness: A Session in/on Memory of Leonard Boyle

Organizer: David Townsend (University of Toronto)

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

For over twenty years, Fr. Leonard Boyle, o.p.,  taught manuscript studies at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, to students in both the Licentiate and “ordinary” streams of the graduate program of the Centre for Medieval Studies. His courses in palaeography, codicology, and diplomatics were a common denominator of the graduate experience of successive cohorts of those who began their careers here. His interest in medieval pastoral literature was profoundly intertwined with his quiet practice of pastoral care in a predominantly Italian parish in west Toronto — a side of his life that most of us heard of only tangentially. In the mid-1980’s he was ‘tapped’ to become prefect of the Vatican Library. After several years’ tenure in that position, he retired to the Dominican community at the Church of San Clemente, where he had spent his early years in the priesthood forty  years earlier. He is buried before the high altar of the fourth-century lower church that was the subject of a substantial portion of his early scholarly writing. He left on his students not only the mark of his extraordinary erudition, but of his humor, which could burst out irreverently at the most unexpected of junctures; of his virtually unfailing pedagogical patience and kindness, which empowered all and humiliated no one; of his love of unanswered and unanswerable questions about the material traces of cultural production and interpretive endeavour; of a humility that saw nothing especially remarkable in himself that was not remarkable in everyone.

This panel of reminiscence will itself enact oral tradition and engage unapologetically the emotional and spiritual resonances of academic acquaintance with Fr. Boyle, whether by direct contact or by a chain of memory and pedagogical influence that reaches back to him — resonances that in some cases may replicate tropes and procedures of medieval hagiography and historiography. Invited contributors include his own students, those who knew him professionally, those who have heard the anecdotes at second or third hand. Speakers will limit themselves to remarks of four or five minutes each, allowing time for ample cross-talk.

Thymesiacs >

  • David Townsend
  • Suzanne Conklin Akbari
  • Joe Goering
  • Bob Sweetman
  • Deirdre Baker
  • Isabelle Cochelin
  • Greti Dinkova Bruun
  • John Magee
  • Michele Mulchahey

Session 6. Counter-Productivity: Valuing Scholarly Processes

Organizer: Marian Bleeke + Asa Simon Mittman, The Material Collective

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

This session shifts attention to that which typically remains “off” of our own scholarly books, journal articles, essays, conference papers, and the like — that is, the practices through which we develop exactly those works, those “finished products.” The existing discourse on scholarly practices, and on scholarly writing practices in particular (hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, among other venues), is typically focused on reforming practices or adopting new ones in order to enhance productivity and so meet career goals (earning tenure, for example). While this material can be valuable, and while the goals it supports are valid, it is also unfortunately of a piece with other contemporary pressures on those of us engaged in academic work to be increasingly productive in order to justify our work and so ourselves to our employers, to politicians, and to a public increasingly skeptical of higher education. This session instead shifts attention to our practices precisely in order to counter such a heightened emphasis on productivity. Thus, the session is not intended to present tips and techniques for increasing productivity, but instead, to foster reflection on our own practices as a way of granting them value independent of their final products — indeed independent of their success or failure in generating final products. To do so, we (The Material Collective) ask the following questions of the members of the Babel community: What do you actually do when reading for a research project? When you get to the library, archive, museum, or other site of research and encounter the manuscripts, collections of papers, works of art, or other materials that you have come to see? What do you do when you are thinking? When you sit down to write? And what do you find yourself doing instead when you are meant to be doing any of these things? Finally how and why did you develop your own scholarly practices? Have your practices as a scholar shifted over time and if so how and why?

The session that enacts this questioning will consist of two parts, each 30 minutes in length. The first part will be a roundtable in which the five participants will give brief presentations in which they reflect on some aspect(s) of their own scholarly practice(s). The second will feature small breakout group discussions, each facilitated by one of the roundtable participants, that will encourage members of the roundtable audience to reflect upon their own practices. A survey that will inform the discussion is available online HERE, and will also be available during the conference at the Registration table, Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies.

Counter-Presenters >

  • Marla Segol (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
  • Lara Farina (West Virginia University)
  • Brendan M. Sullivan (New York University)
  • Joyce Boro (Université de Montréal)
  • Mary Kate Hurley (Ohio University)
  • Marian Bleeke (Cleveland State University)

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SESSIONS // 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Session 7. Lost Libraries and Imagined Archives

Organizer: Lisa Weston, California State University, Fresno

Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies

Fragmentary texts and books that do not now exist — some that may have existed once and others that might or should (or perhaps should not) have — can intrigue and seduce us as much as those that do. And what of the libraries that might hold such treasures? What has been lost (or may even now be being lost) to natural disaster or war, to religious or political extremism, to lack of institutional or corporate support? And what might yet be found again, recovered through diligent collection and cataloguing — or through bold acts of scholarship? What libraries might be conjured from unread or unreadable texts? And what of those texts we can only imagine, and of those archives that exist not in physical reality but only in literature? What is the connection between what we commemorate and/or mourn as lost and what we imagine, desire, or perhaps even fear might have been or might still be? Mixing the scholarly with the speculative, this session invokes the phantoms of such texts and libraries, some fully lost, some still to be sought and found, and some only to be imagined. While focusing on the past — as discussion of lost things will tend to do — our engagements will also to some measure address the perils and seductions of the present and future.

  • Jonathan Basile (Independent Scholar), “(Re)Creating Borges’s Library of Babel”
  • Tristan Major and Nawal Abusway (Qatar University), “Lost and Found: Early Printed European Books at the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar”
  • Maryna Kravets (University of Toronto), “Collection as a Trophy, Collection as a Hostage: Judicial Records of the Crimean Khanate”
  • Virginia Blanton (University of Missouri, Kansas City), “Imagining the Lost Libraries of the Anglo-Saxon Double Monasteries”
  • Helene E. Scheck (University at Albany, SUNY), “Reconstructing Early Medieval Women’s Libraries”
  • Mary Kate Hurley (Ohio University), “Revenants of Old English (or, A Once and Future Corpus)”
  • Michael D. Barbezat (University of Western Australia), “Pondering a Way to Die: Imagining the Archive and the Destructive Past at Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University”

Session 8. IMAGE — MUSIC — TEXT

Co-Organizers: Steven Swarbrick (Brown University) + Tom White (Birkbeck College, University of London) + Anna Kłosowska (Miami University of Ohio)

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

These images are like a skin, or a film,

Peeled from the body’s surface, and they fly

This way and that across the air.

 . . . .

So there are, all around us, shapes and forms

Of definite outline, always on the move,

Delicate, small, woven of thread so rare

Our sight cannot detect them. ~Lucretius 4.33-35, 85-88

Writing in Book 4 of his De rerum natura, the philosopher-poet Lucretius turns to the subject of semblances in order to describe an image-world in which images are themselves material entities, what he elsewhere refers to as “atoms” or “seeds.” These images move, they assemble and reassemble, and from these shifting assemblages derive visibilities, tangibilities, the phenomenological world, indeed, “our” bodies. What Lucretius describes is not a world of things, but a world of events: “Whatever has been done may be called an accident [eventum] either of the whole earth or of the region in which it occurred,” Lucretius states. Whatever the case, the principle guiding these events is the same throughout De rerum natura: that all things emerge from the chance meeting of atoms, and that from these meetings, multiple/incommensurable scales of space-time, matter, and causality are put in touch. Touching on queer theorizations of time by Elizabeth Freeman and Carolyn Dinshaw, as well as posthumanist understandings of matter by Karen Barad and Stacy Alaimo, the image in Lucretius proves crucial to thinking the “erotohistoriography” of the “book” from the codex to the paperback to the e-reader and beyond. Indeed, Lucretius begins his poem by comparing the chance combination of atoms with the variety of his own letters: “in my lines here you can see the letters / Common to many of the words, but you know Perfectly well that resonance and meaning, / Sense, sound, are changed by changing the arrangement. / How much more true of atoms than of letters!” (1.824-828).

Touching, rubbing, colliding, feeling, but never re-presenting — Lucretius describes letters that are audiovisual and tactile. Consequently, this panel explores what happens when our eyes touch, taste, smell, or hear the matter of the “book.” From poetic ekphrasis to the role of music in fiction and film, we seek proposals that investigate the relationship between the “book” (broadly construed) and other media ecologies, including (but not limited to): film, digital media, sound studies, affect, material cultural, disability, (trans)sexuality, and object-oriented ontology.

  • Steven Swarbrick (Brown University), “The Violence of the Frame: Image, Animal, Interval in Lars von Trier’s Nymph()maniac
  • Ben Ambler + Arthur J. Russell (Arizona State University), “In a Queer Tense [and Frame]”
  • Sean Smith (Department of Biological Flow): “Aqua Rara: The Book as Both Moiré Pattern and Negative Space (or, A Briefing for a Dive Yet to Come)”
  • Tom White (Birkbeck College, University of London), “Keeping Time”
  • Anna Kłosowska (Miami University of Ohio), “Hypo-Objects: Soundscape Appreciation and Nostalgia in Premodern Europe”

Session 9. Vexed Texts: Re-coding Cultures

Co-Organizers: Carol L. Robinson (Kent State University, Trumbull) + Alexa Huang (George Washington University) + Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

This collaborative 60-minute session is a joint-proposal from two entities “within” and “outside” the university: the GW Digital Humanities Institute (George Washington University) and the Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization (MEMO). “Global Shakespeares” (co-directed by Alexa Huang) and “Global Chaucers” (co-directed by Jonathan Hsy) share with MEMO (co-founded by Carol Robinson) an abiding interest in the re/mediation of cultures and premodern texts via present-day performance and translation. As part of #BABEL15, we seek to collectively explore how local and global circulation of canonical Western texts (such as Shakespearean film, Chaucerian YouTube videos, or “Everyman” productions in English and ASL) challenge us to think “beyond the codex” or bound book as the paradigm for textual creation and dissemination. How do digital projects and networked online communities open up new archives of cultural artifacts beyond texts? What are the vexed ethics of translation and appropriation when we cross boundaries of language, culture, community, or embodied difference? Note: This session will form part of a series of conversations that the multi-site UNICORN Cloud Conference MEMO is organizing in collaboration with professional literary and medievalism conferences.

  • Anna Wilson (University of Toronto), “There lived a woman in Bath with a special gift for seeing sub-text: Chaucer Fanfiction and Affective Translation”
  • Carol L. Robinson (Kent State University, Trumbull), “Everyman Is Not for Everyone, But . . .Willy Conley’s For Every Man, Woman and Child–a modern morality play inspired by EVERYMAN
  • Alexa Huang (George Washington University), “Vexed Ghosts of Shakespeare: Teaching the Plays through Digital Performance Records”
  • Kendra Preston Leonard (Musicologist, Silent Film Sound & Music Archive), “History Faux/Real: The 2006 Ur-Hamlet

giphy

6:30pm – 7:30pm

Reception

Jackman Humanities Institute, Room 100 (map)

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9:00pm to 2:00am

After-Dinner PARTY (drinks + snacks on BABEL)

TRANZAC Club

music DJed by Eileen Joy + Michael Collins

292 Brunswick Avenue

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DAY 2: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10

SESSIONS // 9:30am – 11:30am

Session 10. Fabulous, A Manifesto for Aesthetic Radicalization

Organizer: Roland Betancourt (University of California, Irvine)

Flâneur: micha cárdenas

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

Byzantium was fabulous. Byzantium is fabulous. Glimmering icons, covered in gold, emperor-intellectuals, imperial courts of philosophers, transgender monks, eunuchs that constituted a third-gender, writers who used queer rhetorical genders for their self-identification, erotic monastic relationships, elaborately-staged imperial pageantry, pompous processions of relics and icons, slut-shamed empresses, palatial automata, silks, embroideries, red bedazzled shoes, excesses and luxury — the envy of the eastern and western worlds. Byzantium was fabulous by all extents of the word. This is not the fabulous that comes from fabula with its chivalric snootiness, and that grotesquely elongated u. Instead, Byzantium’s fabulousness is one of radicalized queer affect. The type of exclamation exalted in the space of a drag show, and one that comes with the critical force and fierceness of glamour, excess, and going off the books with close friends and conspirators. This panel seeks to investigate the possibilities of being ferociously fabulous in and around the medieval — that is, possibilities for going off the books and becoming radicalized as a total aesthetic project with the immediate present as its only stakeholder.

As such, this two-hour session demands that a militantly diverse group of panelists do away with their usual academic sources and instead turn fervently to contemporary popular culture for their theoretical paradigms. Drawing from (and deploying) content and social media from Tumblr to Snapchat, Beyoncé to Nicki Minaj, papers will seek to articulate for us manifestos of what fabulous can be and how the aesthetics and ethics of fabulousness can be readily deployed as a method for engaging medieval pasts for our contemporary presents. In this regard, this panel is both a recovery of structures of fabulousness for the medieval — lost over years of accruing severity and historicity, muddled under the guise of serious academic work — and also a way of postulating new forms of fabulous being and affect to blaze forth new spaces and structures in which to perceive the imperative/exclamation of fabulousness.

  • Kate Durbin (Poet/Performance Artist + Adjunct Professor, Whittier College): “On Being Fabulous”
  • Laurence Ross (Writer + Independent Scholar, New Orleans): “Migratory Patterns: Fowl Art from Byzantium to Britney”
  • Jamie Staples (New York University): “Puking Out Pearls”
  • Luke Fidler (University of Chicago): “B.I.B.L.E. (Byzantine InstructionsBefore Leaving Earth)”
  • Priscila Mojica (Founder of Latina Rebels): “Chonga Manifesto”
  • Alec Magnet (The Graduate Center, CUNY): “Morrissey’s Gladioli and Melville’s Sea-Moss: Fandom as Divinity and Vice-Versa”

Session 11. Women’s Arts of the Body

Organizer: Irina Dumitrescu (University of Bonn)

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

This session focuses women’s arts of the body, types of making that are “off the books” in two senses. Women’s lived experience is notoriously marginal to the historical written record, either effaced utterly or distorted in its representation. So are a host of practices and performances relating to the body that either were not deemed worthy of setting down, or were indeed nearly impossible to record. Such “arts of the body” include weaving, embroidery, crochet, dance, seduction, nursing, sex-work, and child-rearing.

Part 1: Traditional Paper Session >

  •  Terri-Jane Dow (Independent Researcher), “Philomela and Penelope: How Women’s Art in Literature Weaves the Narrative”
  • Maybelle Leung (University of Toronto), “Sex and Submission in The Book of Margery Kempe
  • Shannon Garner-Balandrin (Northeastern University), “Expression: the Art of Breastfeeding in the Early Modern Period”
  • Dianne Berg (Tufts University), “Monstrous Un-Making: Infanticide as Agency in Early Modern England”

Part 2: Breakout Performance Sessions >

Part One features David Goldstein (York University, Toronto) reading from a poem sequence, “Tincture of the Sun,” consisting mostly of found text from early modern medical recipes, most of them female-authored, which uses that found text to think about the death of a child in a modern context. The piece thus moves through women’s arts of the body to meditate on the art of the mind—the art, in other words, of surviving parental grief. This reading will take place on Friday, Oct. 9, @3:00pm in Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies.

Part Two focuses on three ancient women, their reception over time (with a focus on the Middle Ages), and their relationships to embodiment and alternative modes of expression. Each presenter will speak briefly about the woman and the problems medieval writers had understanding and representing her as well as about her own relationship to the legendary figure. Then she will explore these topics through an oriental dance solo. Featuring Irina Dumitrescu (University of Bonn) as Cleopatra, Jennifer Garrison (St. Mary’s University, Calgary) as Philomela, and Noelle Phillips (Douglas College) as Salome. This dance performance will take place during the 5:00pm coffee break on Saturday, Oct. 10 in Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies.

Part 3: Impromptu Collaborative Intervention >

Vanessa Scott (Independent Practitioner) and Irina Dumitrescu will crochet throughout the conference, during sessions, breaks, and so on. They will also carry extra supplies of yarn and crochet hooks, and teach interested participants how to crochet, assembling the created items into one larger textile. It will reflect “off the books” practices of (predominantly) women’s textuality and teaching, and connect to the reflections on women and textile arts in Parts 1 and 2.

Session 12. Amateur Hour: Professionals, Geeks, Enthusiasts, and The Role of Play in Our Work

Co-Organizers: Craig Dionne (Eastern Michigan University) + Nathan Kelber (University of Maryland)

Flâneur: Randall Mcleod

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

What is the difference between academic and amateur modes of scholarship? Between the legitimate “researcher” and the “enthusiast?”  How do we distinguish professional practices from so-called amateur geeky pursuits?  In keeping with BABEL’s tradition of encouraging alternative modes of intellectual engagement and performance, this panel will explore how legitimate “academic research” borrows its sense of rigor and zeal from unorthodox but no less intellectual modes of scholarly/scientific inquiry.  Scholars discuss how their own “off the book” passions/interests/pastimes inform their work.  We are interested in blurring the lines between orthodox and unorthodox modes, reconsidering the boundaries of play and work:  historian as collector/hoarder, actor as scholar, research play (or researcher as player), pet owning as alternative posthuman/animal knowing. Questions include: what is the difference between work and play or labor and pleasure?  How is the hobby as “side-interest” challenged /defined /expressed in the creative work of one’s primary research?  Is one defined or animated by the other?

  • Christine Neufeld (Eastern Michigan University), “On Fans”
  • Sharon O’Dair (University of Alabama), “Cheesy or Artisanal? Pedagogical Lessons of Pizza”
  • Eileen Joy (BABEL Working Group), “Illegitimate”
  • Nathan Kelber (University of Alabama), “The Game and Playe of the Chesse: Medieval Games and Digital Media Archaeology”
  • Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY), “Rigor”
  • Craig Dionne (Eastern Michigan University), “Reading Water: flyfishing, Horatian (back)casting, and other Ecotourisms.”
  • Steve Mentz (St. John’s University), “Wet Work: Swimming as Practical Eco-theory”
  • RESPONSE:  Robin Norris (Carleton University)

11:30am – 1:30 pm // LUNCH BREAK

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PLENARY SESSION II: Off the Books

1:30pm – 3:30pm

Chapel, Victoria College, 2nd Floor

INTRODUCTION of Speakers: Julie Orlemanski, University of Chicago

  • micha cárdenas, “Life and Death: The Stakes of Working Off the Books”
  • Malisha Dewalt, “Brand New Key: Accessible Social Media Dialogues on History and Historiography”
  • David Gersten, “Galapagos Now: Off the Hook”

In addition to sharing their current preoccupations and projects, our three plenarists in this session will be collectively ruminating (some, or all of) the following questions: Relative to creating “things” off the books (as in outside sanctioned or expected settings and platforms, digital and physical) and in ways that make the forgotten and marginalized legible, work that trends toward the productively disruptive and that crosses disciplinary borders in ways that are rebelliously promiscuous and richly generative, what are the current stakes, in your mind, of creating “off the books? How are you reimagining the means and ends of your (our) intellectual and artistic labors in terms of specific methods, forms or processes? Since “Open” and “Access” are now caught between new meanings and materialities for creation, and also in some contexts functioning as covers for the continuation of (often neoliberalized) practices that actually narrow our options for making the forgotten and marginalized legible, how can we now imagine the means and ends of your intellectual and artistic labors in terms of “access” or “openness”? Taking on the idea of making the forgotten and marginalized legible from an outsider or para-academic perspective, what are the dangers, problems, and frustrations of being “off the books in this manner? But what, also, are the benefits? And what about the scholarship of writing about things that are off the books, i.e., affect, noise, sound, smell (i.e., the kinds of things that literature scholars are increasingly interested in), as if whats just written is insufficient (as it is!) to capturing or enabling a life?

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SESSIONS // 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Session 13. Swappey Swipey Bacon: “Naive Translations” of Medieval Texts

Organizer: Jessica Lockhart (University of Toronto)

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

 JESSICA:

“Ic seah wrætlice wuhte feower

samed siþian swearte · wæran lastas

swaþu swiþe blacu swift wæs on fore

fulgum framra fleotgan lyfte

deaf under yþe dreag unstille

winnende wiga se him wægas tæcneþ

ofer fæted gold feower eallū”

 EMILY:

“I see wreaths with flowers

Same spellinged-swears wearing last as

swappy swipey bacon was quickly on fire

full of framing flotsam lift

deaf under the unsettling clouds…

winners’ wigs see him with wiggiest Tecumseth

over gold-footed flower allelujah”

 EMILY:

Did I get it right?

~Facebook Exchange, 2 April 2014

One of the tasks of the medievalist academy is to provide access to ancient poems and objects via modern language translations and critical interpretations. Yet this task of translation is a troubled one. Medievalists within the academy often feel particular anxieties about the inadequacy of their language skills or knowledge; at Toronto, nightmares about sight-translation at the language exams are particularly common. Meanwhile, medieval texts and manuscript images often speak eloquently on behalf of medieval studies when they encounter a wider public, acting as prompts for creativity and playful engagement with language and with the past. Emily Lockhart (a visual artist and designer) likes to create impromptu translations of unfamiliar medieval texts and artefacts. Emily’s translations can help us to think about our own reading processes differently, especially in those situations where we are called upon to interpret an object or text that is outside our own field of study.

In the poetic tradition of experimental translation, and in honour of all quirky encounters with the Middle Ages, this workshop session is devoted to a ‘swappy swipey bacon’ approach to the riddles of medieval translation. Participants will be paired with images and brief texts in unfamiliar medieval languages and given half an hour to provide playful translations or explanations of as many as they wish, before sharing them with the group as a whole and opening up to general discussion. Following the example of Jenny Sampirisi and Hugh Thomas’s workshop on ‘naive translation’ at the Scream Literary Festival in 2008, these texts will then be shared with the wider conference, both online and in paper form as a conversation-starting pamphlet. eth press has also expressed interest in publishing our results, whether in the form of a broadside or a short anthology. This playful session is particularly aimed at poets and non-academics participating in the conference, but medievalists of any stripe are also welcome to take part.

Confirmed Riddlers* >

  • Jennifer E Waldron (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Amy Conwell (University of Toronto)
  • Kaitlin Heller (University of Toronto)
  • Alexandra Bolintineau (University of Toronto)
  • Emily Lockhart (Visual Artist)

*all conference participants are invited to also be Riddlers (no pre-confirmation required)

Session 14. Guides for Medieval Time Travel

Co-Organizers: Laurie Finke (Kenyon College) + Martin Shichtman (Eastern Michigan University)

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

Medieval scholars encounter the middle ages through its literature, history, art, philosophy, and music. But when we exchange our scholarly habits for touristic ones, how is the encounter different? What “hitchhiker’s guide” do we bring along? This roundtable considers medieval heritage tourism theoretically, as a legitimate scholarly pursuit. What is on offer in heritage tourism is authenticity. Medieval heritage sites hold out the promise that visitors can time travel, can reach out and touch authentic remnants of the middle ages. But that authenticity is always ghosted by the processes of restoration, reproduction, and recreation necessary to create the tourist experience. Heritage sites don’t speak for themselves; rather they must be framed by signs, texts, even books. Heritage organizations not only collect, preserve, and restore monuments for tourists, they also manage visitors’ interactions with those monuments, using a variety of textual mechanisms, including displays, dioramas, audio-guides, re-enactments, and brochures, as well as photographs, postcards, films, and models. These set the site or object apart from everyday experience and confer upon it its aura. But they also they destroy that aura. In keeping with the theme for Babel 2015, this round table focuses on the textual materials and visual representations that construct expectations of medieval heritage sites.  We suggest how desire is managed by tourist guide books, by the literary materials provided at the sites, and by the maps, CGI, models, films, and reconstructions that supplement (and supplant) the experience of visiting.  Through short provocative remarks, panelists will consider the interplay of these texts and the sites they describe, focusing on the influence they exert over visitors’ imaginings of the middle ages. Each participants will address a different medieval site for discussion.

  • Kathleen Coyne Kelly (Northeastern University), “Stonehenge”
  • Daniel Remein (University of Massachusetts, Boston), “Skallagrímsgardur”
  • Mary K. Ramsey (Eastern Michigan University), “Jorvik”
  • Susan Aronstein (University of Wyoming), “Glastonbury”
  • Martin B. Shichtman (Eastern Michigan University), “Wewelsburg Castle”
  • Laurie A. Finke (Kenyon College), “The Cloisters”

Session 15. Medieval/Digital Graphesis: (Re)Mediating the History of the Book

Organizer: Dorothy Kim (Vassar College)

Flâneur: Whitney Anne Trettien

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

In Johanna Drucker’s book Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production, she tackles the theoretical stakes of digital visuality by explaining that “all images are encoded by their technologies of production and embody the qualities of the media in which they exist. These qualities are part of an image’s informations” whether this be illuminated manuscript, daguerreotype, painting, photograph, or digital image. She highlights how the recent discussions in media archaeology have centered media production and how “reading the matter of media” is how meaning is configured. Digital media environments require multimodal reading, creation, and interpretation. However, digital media then relies more on the histories, theories, and epistemologies of the codex and book than it does on film and video. Film attaches itself to narrative theories, montage, “principles of temporal change, motion, animation” while digital web environments are heavily indebted to the history of the book and particularly the visual epistemology of mise-en-page codex organization refined in the twelfth and thirteenth century. The issues of layout, marginalia, paratext, columns, table of contents, indexes, chapter headings, are as Malcolm Parkes discusses in “the Influence of Ordinatio and Compilatio in the Development of the Book,” a development of the medieval scholarly book. These experimental page structures became standard in printed books and eventually in digital texts.

If the codex as developed in the Middle Ages is one of the earlier kinds of informational “interfaces” then we should consider it as a mediating apparatus: one in which the mise-en-page and material features, its myriad graphic cues explain how to read, use, navigate, and access information in the codex book. Then the digital interface requires us to consider how critical interface design can help us build digital projects that address how this mediating apparatus will change how our readers/users/subjects will interact and create interpretive iterative acts with their reading, access, and navigation of the digital information. What this means is a move away from the codex’s mise-en-page to a film’s visual mise-en-scène to an interactive digital mise-en-système, what Drucker describes as “an environment for action.” A digital mise-en-système is a digital ecology in which the main question posed is how the interface iteratively and at various moments can “enunciate” the subject/user/reader. Interface then is a “border zone between cultural systems and human subjects”; it is the co-dependent space where “speaker and spoken are created.” This panel will (re)mediate ideas of the History of the Book. It will theoretically as well as materially consider what mise-en-page/mise-en-système means for medieval manuscripts and/or digital medieval materiality. How does this open up the History of the Book and critical bibliography to attend to the affordances and issues of digital media? How do digital media archaeology and digital theories of graphesis help reframe ideas of medieval manuscripts and medieval media?

  • Alison Tara Walker (Seattle University), “Rethinking the Medieval Book: Medieval Usability and User-centered Design”
  • Michelle R. Warren (Dartmouth University), “Remix the Manuscript: A Chronicle of Digital Experiments”
  • Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University), “Beyond Graphesis: Histories of Reading through Other(ed) Senses”
  • Dorothy Kim (Vassar College), “Remixing the Response: Medieval/Digital Graphesis”

5:00pm – 5:30pm

Solo Dance Performances: Cleopatra, Philomela, Salome

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

*associated with Session 11 (see above)

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SESSIONS // 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Session 16. The Sweaty Scholar

Co-Organizers: David Hadbawnik (American University of Kuwait) + Alex Mueller (University of Massachusetts, Boston) + Ben Utter (University of Minnesota)

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

We regularly encounter literary characters from Beowulf to Lancelot to Margery Kempe who stretch the limits of their bodies in attempts to achieve transcendence. Yet, we often enjoy these corporeal feats from the sedentary environs of a library or study, acutely feeling the eagle’s rebuke of Chaucer, who “sittest at another book” . . . “domb as any stoon” (House of Fame, 656-8). Getting “off the books” is unthinkable when books get us off. In his letters and diaries, C.S. Lewis jokingly referred to his own aging body as “brother ass,” a euphemism he ascribes to Saint Francis, who mortified the flesh in order to transform his spirit. Many of us can attest that Lewis was not the last medievalist to subordinate considerations of the body to supposedly loftier intellectual pursuits; despite decades of coming to theoretical grips about the ways in which bodies signify and matter, the culture of the academy seems slow to abandon practices and priorities bordering on gnostic. Those of us who have had to explain — or keep quiet about — our athletic interests to advisers or colleagues have discovered that bodily health and exercise are among the sacrifices and deferrals that, it is so often assumed, one should be expected to make in order to pursue a scholarly vocation. Yet many of us also know about scholars who pack running gear in order to get their workout fix at conferences. There are serious athletes among us who enjoy running marathons, hiking, biking, and playing other sports. Indeed, contrary to the attitude of Lewis and the perception of many outside academia, a life in higher education can be conducive to athletic pursuits, as some take advantage of a relatively flexible and unstructured work schedule to get in their workouts. In what ways does being an academic, for some, allow for a greater commitment to exercise — and to what extent does the sweat generated by games and exercise fuel these scholars’ intellectual work?

This session features presentations that reflect on, theorize, or bear witness to the “sweaty scholar.” What does “work/life balance” mean for us, whose life-work is primarily cerebral? Do physical activity, training, and competition provide merely a diversion (however salutary) from scholarly work, or are there ways in which they can also inform it? Are disciplines of the mind and of the body mutually reinforcing? And in what ways might we approach these questions as medievalists? If there are certain ascetic attitudes and outmoded mind/body dualisms worth discarding from the academic culture, might there also be neglected models of embodiment worth recovering from the traditions we study?

  • Alex Mueller (University of Massachusetts, Boston), “Get Rhythm”
  • David Watt (University of Manitoba), “But it was joye for to seen hym swete!”
  • Sharon O’Dair (University of Alabama), “Against the Agon”
  • Benjamin Utter (University of Minnesota), “Hawking and hunting is but an accessary thing: On Triathlon, Dissertating, and other Vain Pursuits”
  • RESPONSE: Myra Seaman (College of Charleston)

Session 17. This is Not a Journal: Publishing as Pedagogy

Co-Organizers: Chris Friend + Kris Shaffer + Jesse Stommel + Robin Wharton, Hybrid Pedagogy

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

This session will have no papers. No presentations. It will be a discussion. A town hall. A crowdsourced State of the Union for Academic Publishing. In lieu of traditional papers, we ask prospective attendees to contribute to this crowdsourced reading list in advance of the session. Anyone and everyone are welcome even if we need to spill out of the room and into the hall.

Hybrid Pedagogy builds platforms upon which participants can engage in meta-level thinking about teaching and learning. We focus less on building an archive for the preservation of ideas, and more on building networked communities of inquiry consisting of scholars, pedagogues, alt-academics, post-academics, and students.

The codex is an amazing technology — portable, durable, and surprisingly versatile. Even so, its functional limitations circumscribe what we can do with books. To imagine digital books is not just to re-think what books can be or what forms they might take. To imagine digital books turns reading and writing into pedagogical processes. While we would like to make digital texts that are as durable as currently available technology allows, we also think we should entertain the possibility of making texts that become obsolete as soon as their immediate critical pedagogical purpose is fulfilled — texts that exist in and for the moment.

In this session, participants will play a game called “Martian codicology”: Pretend you’re an interstellar visitor. You understand scholarly publishing as a concept, but you don’t know about the forms that publishing takes on Earth. What would you think about the scholarly publishing industry and its products, about the socio-economic and regulatory structures that have accreted around it, about libraries? We will glimpse a history of the book as a series of trade-offs in which we have given up, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unintentionally, the affordances of one mode, medium, or technology in order to realize the potential of another. Participants will collectively author a “field report” in which we re-view publishing, opine on when a book is (not) a book, when a journal is (not) a journal, and consider whether we are creating texts or, rather, user interfaces.

In advance of the session, we are asking attendees to propose one or two texts — broadly construed — as sites of investigation. These texts will be assembled into a “reading list” that will be shared publicly prior to the session, and will provide a focus for our serious game. Our crowd-authored field report, and any other session “artifacts” (e.g., social media backchannel, photos, reflections by session attendees, etc.) will be curated to document our work together at hybrid.pub/babel/.

Martian Pedagogues >

  • Jesse Stommel (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • Kris Shaffer (University of Colorado, Boulder)
  • Robin Wharton (Georgia State University)
  • Chris Friend (St. Leo University)

Session 18. As now you are so once were we: Death’s Crown and the Transformative Jewellery of Resurrective Texts

Co-Organizers: R.B. Griffiths, Anglian College + Kristin Noone (Irvine Valley College + University of California, Riverside)

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

We have been pondering the dead. More specifically, we have been considering books as objects of the monumental and the intimation of resurrection. Locations of the desire to memorialize or recapture or preserve in text — by which books or “books” (and books may take multifaceted and glittering or grotesque forms) naturally, in physical form, embody a desire to bring someone/thing/time back from the dead. In this session, we plan to explore the productive tension between the materially-produced and temporally-located object of a “book” and the question of that book’s afterlives: for example, zombie texts, fanworks and textual poaching, anxiety and adornment and fetishization, materiality, manuals of necromancy, engravings and inscriptions and gravestones and shrines, transformative rewritings of a narrative into other genres and/or media. The BABEL 2015 meeting takes “off the books” as a starting-place; in this session, we hope to investigate questions of the past and future of the book, not only in today’s increasingly digital and instant-participatory age, but at previous historical moments: how have books “died” before? How have they returned to life? How might they embody, celebrate, and fantasize the idea of an afterlife?

  • R.B. Griffiths (Anglian College), “Enamelled Monsters: Beatification of the Undead”
  • Lucy K. Pick (University of Chicago), “Dismembering Saint Adrian”
  • Ryan Allison (Independent Artist/Photographer), “Grave Sites, Digital Environments, and Storytelling through Photography”
  • Laura E. Yoder (New York University), “Exhumed, but Not Resurrected: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Limits of Revival”
  • Katelynn E. Carver (University of St Andrews), “The Curio Unbound: Weaving an Intersubjective Tapestry of the Deathless Embodiment of Story”
  • Kristin Noone (Irvine Valley College + University of California, Riverside), “Notes Toward a New (Old) Authorship: Medievalism, Participatory Culture, and the Evolution of Pie”
  • J. McCoy (Historical Author), “Fiction and the Naming of Zombies and Vampires”
  • Lea Luecking Frost (Saint Louis University), “Music and the Afterlife”

giphy-1

8:00pm – 10:00pm

Games Night Un/session

Playing with History: A Board Games Party, Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies

*see more full descriptions of this un/session further below

 giphy

9:00pm to whenever am

After-Dinner Gathering/Wandering*

The Churchmouse + Woody’s

475 + 467 Church Street

*we will start at The Churchmouse + Woody’s, with drinks on BABEL, and then crawl through the Gaybourhood together

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DAY 3: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11

SESSIONS // 9:30am – 11:00am

Session 19. Books Doing Things (A Roundtable Discussion)

Co-Organizers: Mary Kate Hurley (Ohio University) + Andrew Kraebel (Trinity University)

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

Books engender a variety of metaphors that reflect their power over the humans that give them form and content. They move their human authors. They change our minds. Books are a medium through which the dead continue to influence generation after generation of the living — their voices amplified or modulated, as it were, by the way in which books circulate, reframe, and recreate their words. In his influential study We Have Never Been Modern, Bruno Latour argues that in order to understand the ultimately fictive category of the “Social,” we must trace the networks that emerge between entities whose characteristics we do not limit in advance. Considered in a particular way, a rock can have an agency of its own, even if that agency is not precisely the same as a human’s. Networks that shape the world can thus include not only humans and states but “at the same time and in the same breath, the nature of things, technologies, sciences, fictional beings, religions large and small, politics, jurisdictions, economies, and unconsciousnesses” (Latour). Recent understandings of such agential objects — including Jane Bennett’s vibrant matter, Stacy Alaimo’s trans-corporeality, Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy, and Timothy Morton’s hyperobjects, to name just a few — take up the challenge posed in Latour’s work and continue to explore the implications of his ideas for a range of materials. What each of these thinkers has in common is their insistence that the world is shaped by forces larger than and irreducible to human volition, desires, and agency.

In this session, we ask how medieval books might be reimagined in this new ecology of agential objects. Discussants consider such questions as: In what ways can we think about medieval books as agential objects? How do they demonstrate their changing agency, both in the Middle Ages and across time? How do individual elements of the codex — annotations, paper or parchment, holes, scrapings, marginalia — exercise agency in ways that are different from the codex as a whole? How can theories of agential objects influence our understanding of  book history? How does the circulation of manuscripts influence the behaviors of humans — or of other non-human actants?  What kind of agency can we find in a medieval manuscript, and how is it different from the agency of a printed book? What role might book history play in ongoing attempts to theorize a more lively ecology of texts? Do medieval writers recognize the agency of their codicological objects, and, if so, how do they describe it? Put another way: How do medieval books change the world?

Discussants >

  • Brantley Bryant (Sonoma State University)
  • Megan Cook (Colby College)
  • Andrew Kraebel (Trinity University)
  • Sally Livingston (Ohio Wesleyan University)
  • Ruth Mullet (Cornell University)
  • Jonathan Newman (Bishops University)

Session 20. Consorting and Teaching with Disciplinary Lacunae

Co-Organizers: Ben Ambler (Arizona State University + Dwight Englewood School + TEAMS) + Pamela Yee (University of Rochester + METS)

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

For the past two and a half decades, TEAMS: The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, through its Middle English Texts Series, has attempted to fill the lacunae in the availability of Middle English texts, to illuminate the medieval corpus with works whose lines had not yet been filled in. But what gaps in the Teaching of the Middle Ages have we left unfilled? And just whom are we a Consortium of? — METS is only one of many open-access initiatives presently underway. How can digital literary resources be productively collated into the classroom in other fields, and what other pedagogical resources can we compile for the access of all? What curricular stemmata lie untraced? And how might TEAMS and other organizations dedicated to free online information on the premodern compile digital quires to best serve not only the teaching of the texts we publish, but the many interests in and uses of these resources outside of the literary classroom, or the classroom, period? How are texts being “bound” in courses on history, religion, art history, philosophy, or others? And what of access and use outside of Academe, in high schools, public libraries, and beyond? How can organizations new and longstanding ensure that not only medium, but format and dissemination, make their resources for all? TEAMS seeks to turn the page across this gutter, to partner with organizations and individuals to look for feint, penciled initials that signal lacunae between disciplines and communities, initials that we might inhabit in order to discover and generate new primary-source-based pedagogies — particularly ones that wield and augment these digital unbooks to their fullest. What should we scrape away, redact, or author anew? What gaps, intentional or unexpected, can we gloss, pedagogically foliate, and populate with instructional zoomorphs?

This session is a speculative workshop to last 90 minutes. Discussion leaders will open the book on how we all might use free resources to consort in lacunal commons, beginning with brief pedagogical anecdotes, curricular outlines, team testaments, calls to action, etc., in order to open a conversation with not an audience, but a pop-up braintrust of teachers, scholars, medievalists, humanists, scientists, artists, and publics. Over the course of 90 minutes, we hope the session will highlight how we might leverage our habitation in multiple, overlapping communities to begin copying down the future of open-access initiatives. How can we be, at our core, a consortium with anyone who opens the proverbial book?

  • Bridget Whearty (Binghamton University, SUNY), “Minding the Gaps in Digital Medieval Pedagogies: Open Access, Unequal Access, and the Making of APRICOT”
  • Kristin Bourassa (University of York), “From Chivalry to Robin Hood: Literature in History Teaching at the University of York”
  • Chester N. Scoville (University of Toronto), “Teaching the Half-acre: Leveling Authority in Classroom Geography and Technology”
  • Elon Lang (University of Texas at Austin), “Bringing Primary Sources to High Schoolers by Bringing their Teachers to the Archive”
  • Tamsyn Rose-Steel (Johns Hopkins University), “Journeys to Sound — From Visual to Sonic Representation of the Works and Words of Machaut”
  • Tyler K. Cassidy-Heacock (Eastman School of Music), “Musica Spei sings Audelay: Setting Medieval Texts to Contemporary Music”

Session 21. Extrajudicial

Organizer: Karl Steel, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

This session concerns both the law and the law that’s “off the books.” While what’s off the books may be what the law is indifferent to (“don’t worry about that”), or as yet indifferent to (“we don’t have a rule for that”), what’s “off the books” can also be an act of mercy (“you [white] boys go along home now”), or, just as likely, its opposite, always at least implied in the act of mercy (medievalists will recall the many moods of Chaucer’s Duke Theseus). This session will likely not be about the messianic suspension of the law, but rather about its unwritten rules — the real, unscribable law of custom and habit through which a polis really functions, which go by names like “respect,” “community standards,” and “heritage” — and also, especially, about the violence that the law needs but that it refuses to record or even to acknowledge as violence. The papers of “extrajudicial” will be on the conjunction of beast and sovereign in the Swan Knight romances, attending especially to the extrajudicial powers of calumny and gossip; on the hired killers of King Lear and American Sniper, and the wavering relationship between pathologized and honored criminals; on mislabeled “medieval torture masks,” from the Wellcome Collection to Washington DC’s Crime Museum, and in Florida’s execution ritual, which began using a “medieval” torture hood in the 1970s; and finally on sanctioned police violence against protest in Québec, itself part of a larger, international program of neoliberalism and austerity.

  • Randy Schiff (University at Buffalo, SUNY), “Calumny and Community: Misogyny, Bestiality, and Extrajudicial Violence in Swan-Knight Romance”
  • Craig Dionne (Eastern Michigan University), “Shakespeare’s Hit Men: Contract Killing and Man’s Work”
  • Alison Kinney (Author), The Executioner’s Mask: Museums, Punishments, and Whose Lives Matter”
  • Jennifer Drouin (University of Alabama), “Extrajudicial Policing: Québec’s Printemps Érable, Kettling, and State-Sanctioned Brutality”
  • RESPONSE: Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY)

11:00am – 11:30am

eth press poetry reading

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

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SESSIONS // 11:30am – 12:30pm

Session 22. Off the Books, Off the Property: The Liminal Spaces of Protest Libraries*

Organizer: Sherrin Frances (Saginaw Valley State University)

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

*this session will run from 11:30am to 1:00pm and is also connected to an un/session group project (see full list of un/session projects below)

From the fires at the Library of Alexandria to the 2015 destruction by ISIS of a library in Mosul, Iraq, collectors of books often find themselves at the center of conflict, and libraries themselves become the targets of violence and vandalism. However, within the temporary space of a “protest library,” (also sometimes called encampment-, occupation-, pop-up-, squat-, or street-libraries) book collections are not unexpectedly attacked by external forces. Rather, they emerge from within the center of political conflict, and they are necessarily included in acts of aggression and displacement. These kinds of spaces offer a point of contrast, a way to move off the books, regarding institutional and public libraries. They present an opportunity to think through what “library” should mean in an age of electronic publishing and “maker-space,” privatization of public spaces, austerity measures and resource shortages, and urban gentrification.  Additionally, protest libraries embody spaces of radical democracy and push us to complicate the ideas of the commons, temporary autonomous zones, spatial justice, biopolitics, and states of exception.

For this discussion portion of our un/session project, we have put together an interdisciplinary group of activists, practitioners, and thinkers to engage in discussion about the people, spaces, (non)technology, and politics at play within various types of protest libraries. Several of our discussants have been directly involved in creating and sustaining protest libraries. Participants will present a five- to ten-minute narratives and then pose discussion questions. We expect this panel to be highly conversational and interactive. Additionally, throughout the conference we will be curating a BABEL pop-up library in Room 103 (beginning on Friday @2:00pm and running throughout conference), near the main entrance to the Lillian Massey building, and we invite conference attendees to contribute books and other found objects (milk crates, boxes, tarps, etc) with which to create our space on-site. Our hope is to ensconce our discussion within a collection of books, which afterward we will donate to a Toronto community space (TBD). We will also include books, photos and memorabilia from various global protest library spaces.

Biblio-Discussants >

  • Carolyn Guertin (Professor of Digital Technologies, Faculty of Education at University of Ontario Institute of Technology), “Wanderbibliotheken: Traveling books and DIY libraries”
  • Zachary Loeb (Reference Librarian at the Center for Jewish History and former Activist Librarian at Occupy Wall Street People’s Library, New York), “OWS People’s Library: Unseen Labor and Low-tech Environments”
  • Elizabeth Rich (Professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University), “A Cycle of Resistance: Seed Libraries and the State”
  • Martin Zeke Ochoa (15M Movement activist at Bibliosol Open Library and Tres Peces Tres Social Center, Madrid, Spain), “Protest Libraries as Attractor Fields during a State of Exception”
  • Jaime Taylor (Systems Librarian at the Center for Jewish History and former Activist Librarian at Occupy Wall Street People’s Library, New York), “Temporary Autonomous Zones of Protest Libraries, Public Libraries, and the Commons”
  • Jaime Omar Yassin (Representative of the Biblioteca Popular Victor Martinez, Oakland, California), “Biblioteca Popular and the Question of Simultaneous Politicized Environment and Horizontal Leadership”

Session 23. Performing Magic: Out of the Books, Onto the Screen, Into the World*

Co-Organizers: Cord J. Whitaker (Wellesley College) + Jasmine Lellock (Newton South High School) + Lesley S. Curtis (Wellesley College)

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

*this session is a joint presentation connected to an un/session media presentation (see full list of un/session projects further below)

Magic issues forth from books. In the Middle Ages, magic reveals the noble essence of the beleaguered commoner. In early modern Europe, alchemy, angel conjurations, and herbal spells promise transformation, both of the spiritual and the material worlds. In modernity magic has been used to denigrate, to hide, and to render culpable. Magic demonstrates and obscures. Like the spell book, or any book, for that matter, magic hides as much as it reveals; it reveals as much as it leaves covered. Medieval magic and early modern magic, once used to expose nobility, transform in the colonial era into a tool that denigrates blackness. In this un-session, we take the moment of the Haitian Revolution as a turning point in the understanding of magic that coincides and connects with the advent of modernity. Magic threatens to transform reality, but it also serves to make reality what those in power wish it to be. The transformative power of magic and of the books that transmit it inheres in the Middle Ages, early modernity, and modernity. Indeed, it demonstrates and obscures the intimate relations and disruptive divergences that make such periodizations possible and problematic.

Ambient films discussed here will be running all day Friday, Oct. 9 in Room 323b, across from the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, and these films will explore the relations between magic, freedom, servitude, pre-modernity, and modernity — and how these relationships are facilitated by, carried in, and deeply engaged with the book. Film will be explored as the imaginative space in which the magic inscribed on the page comes ever closer to being performed, to breaking into the world: the space in which magic threatens most aggressively by approaching ever closer to lived experience. The films will culminate in this joint presentation by Cord Whitaker and Lesley S. Curtis, during which there will also be a filmed performance by academic magician Todd Landman (University of Nottingham).

Session 24. The Portable Library of Babel: An Archive/Exquisite Corpse*

Organizer: Paula Billups, Artist

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

*this is an informal discussion session related to an un/session group project, a portable “pop-up” library that will be located for the duration of the conference in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies (see full list of un/session projects further below)

Cultural stories are told with ephemera. With a million scraps of paper, every city, every family, every time tells its story. To review these scraps is to read the microscopic diary of what it was like to live in a certain moment and time. Cities write a collaborative history book on their walls with every graffito, every kiosk and notice board. We are going to write one here, in a single weekend, together. Conceptually, the portable library is a collaborative art work/exquisite corpse in progress. Physically, it is a rolling cart and work space where conference members can bring ephemera to share, using these scraps to make palimpsests and collages as pages for the unique collaborative archive of the Babel Conference 2015. The covers are there, but the pages are yet to be made. This is where you come in.

All conference attendees are invited to play and contribute a page to the archive. The cart has work space, glue, scissors, paper, and page blanks waiting for voices to shape them. Do you have an old journal, school notebook, a child’s book, a nautical map, a star chart, a box of photos? Candy wrappers, canceled postcards, unsent letters, takeout menus, poems, newspapers, stamps, tickets, museum passes, sheet music or dance step charts? Please bring some to share. Pooling our ephemera to refashion pages leads to a fascinating and unique book. In collaboration, a voice emerges, entirely new, that was never heard before and will never be heard again, made by of a group of individuals serendipitously gathered. It is one of the thousand possible voices that Babel could have imagined.

Make pages alone or with friends. Approach, tear, glue and recombine. Play, knowing you are transforming, and simultaneously creating and destroying. In leaving materials, you consent to their transformation. This is how we write a book not one of us could have written. The book has no copyright and no one author. As a creative commons, it is donated to the BABEL archive. The cart will be available for the duration of the conference, though there will be a signup sheet so that everyone has an opportunity to work/play in the space. In this 60-minute session, we will discuss the process and why we were drawn to add pages.

NOTE: It is possible to be deluged with paper and people waiting to play, so as with all invitations, an RSVP is requested. Please confirm your interest in participation and list what materials you plan to bring. Send emails regarding participation and contributions to Paula Billups at: pbillups34@gmail.com. Progress and updates for the Library and samples of pages will be visible HERE, and you can also follow the project on Facebook HERE.

12:30pm – 2:30 pm // LUNCH BREAK

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SESSIONS // 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Session 25. Bending the Page: Textual (Re)Constructions of Disability

Co-Organizers: Derek Newman-Stille (Trent University) + M.W. Bychowski (George Washington University)

Room 220, Centre for Medieval Studies

I am not nostalgic, reaching backwards toward a re-creation of the past. Rather I am reaching toward my bones. When I write about losing that place, about living in exile, I am putting words to a loss which also grasps at my bones. The body as home, but only if it is understood that language lives under the skin. ~Eli Clare, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation

Disabled bodies are written on, constructed by acts of writing (through medical reports and political processes) and become metaphors within written discourse (often standing in as metaphors for something “wrong” with political bodies). Disability is a textual construction. As Tanya Titchkosky suggests, “Disability appears in the everyday life of text in a host of seemingly contradictory ways … . The very ways that disability is included in everyday life are, also, part of that which structures the continued manifestation of disabled people as a non-viable type.” The disabled body transcends historical moments and geographic regionalism, yet its articulations are highly temporal and geographically specific as cultures construct disability differently depending on socio-economic, political, ideological, and artistic ideas, constantly subjecting the category of disability to revision while simultaneously naturalizing it as a category that has always been present. Disability is hypervisible as something that is readily noticed by a society that constructs certain types of ability as normal, and yet is constantly subject to erasure.

This panel will explore the inherent contradictions in the construction of disability, examining the cluster of ideas and assumptions that become attached to the articulation of the ‘different’ (i.e., non-normate) body, while simultaneously examining the textual body that makes and re-makes disability. In order to explore the temporal and geographic flexibility of meaning in disability, we will examine texts from diverse historical moments, regions, and genres. The disabled body has been written into being, and this panel will examine the way the body and bodies of literature intersect and mutually construct each other.

  • Derek Newman-Stille (Trent University), “Cripping the End: Disability and Apocalyptic Manuscripts”
  • Richard H. Godden (Tulane University) + Asa Simon Mittman (California State University, Chico), “Building ‘Monsters’: Monstrosity and Disability, and the Posthuman”
  • Sara Cleto (Ohio State University), “Your deformity scarce appears: Negotiating Disability and Disfigurement in Beauty and the Beast Tales”
  • M.W. Bychowski (George Washington University), “The Island of Hermaphrodites: Bending the Map of Disability and Intersex”
  • MODERATOR: Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)

Session 26. Books in and of the World: Objects and Interfaces

Co-Organizers: Hannah Ryley (Worcester College, Oxford University) + Tom White (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Flâneur: Alexandra Gillespie

Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

Julian Yates observes in Error, Misuse, Failure that unbound pages form a “contiguous link” with the world. Consisting of five short presentations (8 mins each) to be followed by open conversation, this session asks its participants to think further about the ways in which medieval and early modern pages, books and texts, constitute various contiguous links with the world-at-large, past and present. Objects and additions were accrued by books in the medieval and early modern periods, such as tabs, bookmarks, graffiti, volvelles, inserted leaves, and fabric covers. In bringing these objects to the centre of attention, this panel will consider how academic consideration has hitherto occluded, obscured, or otherwise sidelined these extraordinary, contingent assemblages. What kinds of temporalities or untold histories are reactivated as we encounter these communally produced and materially composite objects?

Participants will be exploring how various texts mediate between their bookish existence and the world, and how they gather multiple actants into shifting ensembles over decades and centuries. Participants propose to discuss: medieval pedigree rolls; a fourteenth-century how-to manual for the conduct of an imaginary Parliament; early modern needlework books and their (creative) destruction; edges, periphery, and absence; book metaphors and metaphors as actants. Books have always been in flux, existing in a “dynamic ecology of use and reuse” (William Sherman, Used Books). Participants have been encouraged to follow these dynamic ecologies still further, wherever (and whenever) they may take them. In a broad sense, then, rather than studying books in a particular static or stable state, this panel will engage with the ‘off’ of the conference title through the pursuit of an array of exciting trajectories: playing off the texts in, and objects on, books.

We have invited presenters to discuss these objects and texts in any way they feel fits the subject matter best. Selected quotes drawn from the discussion will be jotted down on tags and festooned around the venue. Audience and participants alike will share in the communal act of creating this physical, fragmentary record of the event. These testimonials will offer reminders of what was said, and, we hope, will prompt continued discussion “off the books.”

  • Sara Torres (University of California, Los Angeles): “Long Histories: Representing Lineage in Medieval Pedigree Rolls”
  • Jonathan Forbes (University of California, Santa Barbara): “A How-to Guide to an Imagined World: A Politics of Becoming in the Modus Tenendi Parliamentum
  • Lisa VandenBerghe (Concordia University): “Early Modern Needlework Pattern Books: Creation through Destruction”
  • Jennifer Waldron (University of Pittsburgh): “Book and Volume (of my brain)”
  • Siân Echard (University of British Columbia): “On Edge: Perspectives from the Peripheries”

Session 27. Digging Dirt on the Digital

Organizer: Kathleen Ogden (University of Toronto)

Room 301, Centre for Medieval Studies

Part of the rationale behind digitization in medieval literary studies is that there are things that can be gleaned from a manuscript’s physical characteristics; and that seeing manuscripts can provide insight into the age and culture that led to their production. Using these digitized manuscripts as primary course texts can open up questions of production and consumption, about material culture of the text in the medieval period, and both the material and social circumstances that led to the constructions of such texts. Likewise, the widespread production of these digitized manuscripts might compel us to ask: What are the social, cultural, material, etc. conditions that make these digitized manuscripts possible? What might we learn by interrogating the material basis of the production, transmission, consumption, etc. of the digitized manuscript? In fact, interrogating the material conditions that make such technological material possible reveals what journalist Nicholas Kristof calls the “ugly paradox of the 21st century”: “that some of our elegant symbols of modernity — smartphones, laptops and digital cameras — are built from minerals that seem to be fueling mass slaughter and rape”. And while the extraction of conflict minerals is a fundamental issue in the production of digital texts, the material reality of digital transmission and consumption exposes other troubling realities: the pace of technological advances far outstrips the lifespan of the hardware, but the techniques employed to perform this “recycling” are illegal in the country of the waste’s origin; thus, the disposal of hazardous electronic wastes is largely shopped out to poorer nations for “recycling.” The processes are so toxic that they are illegal by North American workplace safety and environmental standards, and yet the waste is legally transported elsewhere!

This hour-long session aims to open up questions that may be uncomfortable: do scholars and teachers in the humanities have a responsibility to acknowledge the material conditions that make their digital work possible? Can humanities scholars discuss the issues of the use of digitization and technologically-driven material without opening up questions about the source of the materials that make this work possible? Can the human and environmental costs of these technologies be outweighed by the benefits that humanities scholarship purports to deliver? This session will be supplemented by a blog, found HERE.

Three formal respondents — Kathleen Ogden, Patrick Gilbert, and Alice Hutton Sharp — will be posting position papers, links and statements on this blog in the months and weeks leading up to BABEL 2015, and an online discussion will begin prior to our meeting. Others, and especially scholars from geophysics, political science, environmental studies, will be invited to contribute to the blog discussion online, and possibly to join our in-person discussion as well. The blog and session will also correspond with a local gallery exhibit of Patrick Gilbert’s artwork, which explores the relationship between art, craft, digitization, and conservation. Details of this exhibit will be posted, on the blog, as soon as they are available.

Presenters >

  • Kathleen Ogden (University of Toronto), “Human and Environmental Costs of the Digital: What Is the Responsiblity of the Humanities?”
  • Patrick Gilbert (Unversity of California, Santa Barbara), “Craft and Making in the Contemporary Environment”
  • Alice Hutton Sharp (University of Toronto), “Action/Contemplation: Monastic Response to Modern Injustice”

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UN/PLENARY SESSION III: On and Off the Books

4:30pm – 6:00pm

Alumni Room, Victoria College (map)

During this un/plenary session, questions and provocations that have been generated and gathered over the course of the three days will be posed to our six featured speakers, who will also pose questions and provocations to the audience relative to ideas, themes, topoi, questions, issues, conundrums, boondoggles, quandaries, chains of thought, etc. that will have emerged over the course of the time we have all spent together.

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6:00pm – 7:00pm

Closing Reception

1st Floor Foyer, Victoria College

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Closing After-Party

9:00pm to midnight & beyond-ish

Chez Chris Piuma

*address to be shared at conference

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Un/Sessions

Un/Session 1. A Book of Absent Whales: A Collaborative Exhibit

Co-Organizers: Steve Mentz (St John’s University, New York) + Patrick Mahon (Artist/University of Western Ontario)

*this exhibit will be located in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey building on Friday, Oct. 9

Our object here is simply to present the draught of a systemization ….

Part I: The Folio Whale: Bones

I am the architect, not the builder.

We start with bones. Tools to mitigate absence. Materials to make books. The first part of this work is a glass box containing the whitened bones of whales from the North Atlantic, mixed together with bones from a caribou. The box becomes a container and a screen: a book. Onto this filled vitrine is projected a series of images produced by artist, Patrick Mahon, and by other artists — including Brian Jungen, a First Nations Canadian sculptor. The images portray absent whales/whales as absence.

Part II: The Octavo Whale: Mediating Meditations

The classification of the constituents of a chaos

The second part consists of a short suite of classifying poems written by Steve Mentz that debate the constituents of chaos and the entanglement of water, mediation, and meditation. They will appear as a folded octavo chapbook.

Part III: The Duodecimo Whale: Invitations

But now I leave my cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower. For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from completing anything. This whole book is but a draught – nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!

The third part takes advantage of the absence of the Authors to prompt written or sketched responses from participants at BABEL. The blank pages of a Book folded in duodecimo invite coverings. Some pages may contain questions about the key terms of this project — bones, whales, systems, chaos, classification, “Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience” — to which we hope conference-goers will respond in unpredictable ways. Pens will be provided.

Un/Session 2. Beolarp

Co-Organizers: Chris Hall (Professional Game Designer) + Kaitlin Heller (University of Toronto)

*This un/session will will happen on the Thursday before the conference, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies.

This un/session will take the text of Beowulf off the books by transforming it into a live-action roleplaying game, or “larp.” Attendees will sign up in advance for the game through an interface maintained by the game designers, which can be found HERE. No previous gaming experience is necessary. Rules of game play and safety will be explained as part of the session. We intend to use this game to explore questions of the boundaries between academic and non- or para-academic experiences of academic material. We have chosen Beowulf both because it is well-known and because of its position in the medieval canon. Through our game, we ask: what does it mean to “know” this text? What other lives does this text have, and how can we encounter them? Does the transformation of this text into other media subvert or reify its place in the canon? How can gaming explore gaps either in the text or between what the text says and what non-academics think the text says? What new knowledge can be gained about Beowulf when it is experienced in a new way?

Un/Session 3. Book ‘Em: A Listening Exhibit

Organizer: Ben Ambler (Arizona State University + Dwight Englewood School)

*This listening exhibit will be running all day Saturday, Oct. 10, in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies.

Steve McGarrett’s imperative catch-phrase (“Book ’em!”) to “Danno,” after they catch Hawaii 5-0’s crook-of-the-week is a cachet on the binding of a happy ending. But whose? And what happens to the accused, and convicted, after the credits roll? And what about when we leave McGarrett and his made-for-TV adversaries on the beach, and consider those real, complicated convicts, many of whom were victims themselves first, or “hardened” only during their sentence, or are reformed despite the system — or just had the book thrown at them? What happens to a person when they are written into the books of vast state, federal, or private for-profit systems — and out of our (their!) communities? And what of those manifold souls — teachers, volunteers, lovers, prison workers, family, activists, friends — whose lines intersect with those “booked” ones? For many in these positions, writing, often in the context of creative poetry and fiction workshops, becomes a reclamation of voice, where the situation of self-to-other-to-world can be contemplated, reflexed, and reimagined in a textual agora apart from otherwise-scripted lives. Reading and writing in the most base sense are a means of inverting their position as the read and the written and for those formerly bound, of rewriting life, rather than recidivizing. In this sense, it is a striving to stay off the books in which some find subjectivity and voice in continued creative writing: fiction, non-fiction, poetry.

So — what if these voices were heard? What if alongside and in addition to published voices we had recordings of them, too? Artists on the Outside seeks to build digital and analog agorae for the voices of these citizens to be heard. Artists on the Outside (AOTO) is a collaboration among Punctum Records, punctum books, and former inmates qua artists, particularly in the Southwest. AOTO aims to recognize the artistic expression (poetry, music, song, etc.) of (former) inmates and others touched by the prison world, amplify their voices, and publish them in audio and written media as widely and freely as possible. In one of the open spaces of the conference venue, Artists on the Outside will exhibit work to date from its pilot partnership with a Tucson-based workshop of artists. We invite conversation from circulating BABELers to commune, critique, inspire, and aid. We hope that you will with us unbind traditional notions of the “model citizen” and explore how the lines of all our lives, in one way or another, are bound by our current systems of incarceration.

Artists on the Outside >

  • Dana Diehl
  • Ralph Hager
  • Gillian Haines
  • Andrew Jaicks
  • Ken Lamberton
  • Billy Sedlmayr
  • Sarah Spieth

Un/Session 4. Failures of Permanence: A Talking-Points Exhibition

Co-Organizers: J.R. Mattison (Jesus College, University of Oxford) + K.A. Sargan (Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford)

*this un/session entails self-guided tours that will be happening across all 3 days of the conference in various rooms in the Centre for Medieval Studies

Books evoke an ideology of permanence: in putting pen to paper, and binding that paper together, we seek to record our words, keep them, and preserve them for posterity. So what transpires when that physical record is utterly destroyed? What happens to a book when it stops being permanent? Does impermanence constitute a failure on the book’s part? And how do we cope with such failures? In this un-session, participants will be invited to take part in an interdisciplinary, trans-temporal exploration of the ‘failed’ book as text, art, history, and material culture. Around the various session rooms, we will assemble and display, through images from the public domain as well as physical objects sourced from library and museum collections explained with exhibition labels, various examples of texts that have been destabilized. Using this exhibition as a prompt, we will seek to explore multiple categories of altered books and invite participants to engage in a conversation about the meanings and limits of permanence with regard to the written — and the illegible — word. Through the presence and presentation of the objects in the rooms, we will test the boundaries of unreadablity as the group undertakes to offer an interpretation of their materiality, their permanent impermanence.

The un-session will allow participants to undertake self-guided tours, interacting with the exhibits and each other, before beginning to synthesize our ideas about the unreadable, impermanent book in conversation, and via digital platforms. The exhibition will consider the materials in loose groupings: texts that no longer exist, such as books that have been lost or destroyed (the Gospel of Eve, Peter Abelard’s Theologia, politicians’ deleted offensive Tweets); palimpsests (Cicero’s De republica, the Archimedes Palimpsest, the Sana’a Palimpsest); ephemeral written objects (Snapchat Stories, oral culture, used ballot papers); books that have been rendered illegible or that have never been readable, perhaps due to damage (the petrified Herculaneum papyri, the Beowulf manuscript, Terri Garland’s Square Bible); books written in undecipherable languages (the Voynich Manuscript, Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus, Xu Bing’s Book from the Sky); texts that have been altered, changed, or redacted (the Biblical Apocrypha, James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough, Hergé’s Tintin au Congo); books that never truly or fully existed, those that were left unfinished (Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Jane Austen’s Sanditon, Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger); works that only exist in fiction (J. J. Abrams’s S, the writings of Randolph Henry Ash in A. S. Byatt’s Possession, P. J. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon); and book art (the work of Guy Laramée, Doug Beube, Dennis Ashbaugh). These groups, which overlap and influence one another, will allow us to consider how the objects speak to each other and to our conception of the book as a tool for communication. Here, participants will create a comprehensive idea of the unreadable, impermanent book across cultures and times without negative associations of loss and destruction; we seek to question understandings of completeness and find value in the instability of the book itself.

Un/Session 5. Intratextual Entanglements: A Collective Text, Artbook and Philosophy Project

Organizer: Sarah E. Truman (University of Toronto)

*This collective project will run all day Saturday in and around Room 323, Centre for Medieval Studies.

Intratextual Entanglements is a collaborative text/art book/philosophy research-creation project coordinated between 32 artists and theorists in 2014-2015. The ‘base text’ of the project was assembled from two of Friedrich Nietzsche’s books: Ecce Homo, and The Joyful Wisdom (Gay Science). The text was sent to each of the participants to entangle with using whichever manner, form, or ‘material’ they chose. The entangled texts were then sent on to other participants for further artistic and marginal entanglements. The aim of this project was to explore, from a new materialist perspective, how diffractive and material readings/writings not only affect a text’s meaning but produce new meanings and a new ‘text’ with each encounter: as Karen Barad (2007) says, “entangled practices are productive … different intra-actions produce different phenomena.” I also explore how ‘marginalia’ (Jackson, 2005) and artistic interventions with a base text and other readers/writers/materials can be considered forms of “critical public pedagogy” (Burdick, Sandlin & O’Malley, 2013).

The texts began as words printed on pieces of paper, yet many of them have transformed into different media: for example, one is now in the form of an analogue clock that takes Polaroid photographs; several are sound files; others are digital images; while others returned in knitted, felted, and burned forms. On Saturday, Sarah shall display the 50+ ‘entangled’ texts, discuss their theoretical framework, and ask fellow participants to further engage with the ‘texts.’

Un/Session 6. Mash Notes

Co-Organizers: Helen Burgess (North Carolina State University) + Craig J. Saper (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Flâneur: David Gersten

*This un/session will run all day Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies.

We have long participated in signed or anonymous declarations of love and desire. Even in our neoliberal institutions, peculiarly bloodless forms remain: the corporate pitch meeting, the grant proposal warped by our understanding of what the other (funding agencies) “wants.” Screw that. As Roland Barthes declares, “What love lays bare in me is energy.” This will be an online/offline un-session conducted all day Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, featuring participants entering into the lover’s discourse, with documents both electrical and tactile. Updates and online components of this session will be found HERE.

  • Helen J Burgess (North Carolina State University), “MashBOT” (A twitterbot. With printer.)

What would a bot do if it could write a mash note? Let’s ask it. This project will craft some handmade lovebots on Twitter, and pair them with a small thermal printer.

  • Craig Saper (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), “TENT–a–tive Vision(s) for an Electric [Kool-Aid Acid] Press” (A manifesto.)

There is already a consensus in academia of the main values founding our Electric Press project in collaboration with punctum books. The scholarly (or creative) value is not determined by mode: printed on paper no longer the privileged mode of delivery. Major scholarly organizations and associations have constructed guidelines for peer-review and legitimacy of electronic and multimodal publications. Multimodal projects can also make available new tools, perspectives, and types of knowledge. Multimodal book-equivalents are still part of the history of the book and printing. Once we agree on these foundational values, then the next question is what specifically do we intend to publish. This paper will spend the majority of its time establishing the aspects of Electric Press’ focus. In general, that tentative focus of Electric Press has two general criteria. The works published will: engage in experimental research methods; explore the shift from print-literacy to electronic/Electracy rather than remediating the advantages of the printed-on-paper book in a pdf or other form that mimics and expands the book. The ethos of the Electric Press can be summarized by the revised slogan from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (“Drop Out & Turn On”): “Drop In & Boot Up” . . . and to do so, you’ll need a TENT-a-tive vision.

  • Haylie Swenson (George Washington University), “Philia” (A radio podcast.)

I propose, as a labor of love, presenting my “paper” in podcast form. My dissertation considers the intimacies that arise at the intersection of human and animal death across pre-modern and contemporary literature. My podcast will tell the story behind the story, as it were; it will describe the emotional and tactile encounters I have had with animal vulnerability that underlie this project (an invasive insect I saved from being squished on the Metro; a fox that surprised me in a moment of contemplating my father’s illness; a baby mouse that died in my hand). Using the intimate medium of radio, I will tell these stories as a way of considering the fine line that divides the personal and the scholarly. A love letter to both radio storytelling and scholarship, my podcast will explore one possible, underutilized outlet for telling the stories — the sorrows and passions, the serendipitous encounters — that fuel our academic work.

  • Leslie King (Radford University), “Erased – Memories of a Forgotten Daughter” (A handmade book and digital counterpart.)

The memories come and go. Sometimes they manifest in a distorted form. To deal with her mother’s memory loss and how their relationship is changing because of this, Leslie King combines the creation of a handmade book and a digital publication that deconstructs it. The three-dimensional book represents tangible memory. The book is formatted as an origami blizzard book, which holds in its pockets King’s miniature drypoint etchings, words, and event proof in the form of photographs, receipts, and other odds and ends. In the book’s two-dimensional digital representation, the subject becomes distorted through its flattened nature and eventual pixilation loss, like memory, as time goes by.

  • Norman Hogg and Neil Mulholland, Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Concordia University + University of Edinburgh), “Thekarites (2014)” (A slideshow.)

Thekarites is a theory-fictional account of the life and death of the artist Paul Thek and his ‘Technological Reliquaries’. In this re-telling, Thek continues to confound the contemporary art scene after his death. Though his processual rituals Thek enacts a dismantling, relic-ing and radical redistribution of the self that floods the sensual hyper-economy with tiny Thekarites — clusters of affective agency or desire. Thek’s radical little ‘me-machines’ then lead a revolution from within the ‘internet of things’ pathing the way for the West’s ecstatic embrace of an animist future. The work takes the form of a narrated PowerPoint-style presentation and for an example of an earlier version of this work please go HERE.

Un/Session 7. Off the Books, Off the Property: The Liminal Spaces of Protest Libraries*

Organizer: Sherrin Frances (Saginaw Valley State University)

*this un/session includes a set of presentations (see Session #22 above) and also a pop-up library installation, to be located in Room 103 (beginning Friday @2:00pm, and running throughout conference), near main entrance to the Lillian Massey building

From the fires at the Library of Alexandria to the 2015 destruction by ISIS of a library in Mosul, Iraq, collectors of books often find themselves at the center of conflict, and libraries themselves become the targets of violence and vandalism. However, within the temporary space of a “protest library,” (also sometimes called encampment-, occupation-, pop-up-, squat-, or street-libraries) book collections are not unexpectedly attacked by external forces. Rather, they emerge from within the center of political conflict, and they are necessarily included in acts of aggression and displacement. These kinds of spaces offer a point of contrast, a way to move off the books, regarding institutional and public libraries. They present an opportunity to think through what “library” should mean in an age of electronic publishing and “maker-space,” privatization of public spaces, austerity measures and resource shortages, and urban gentrification.  Additionally, protest libraries embody spaces of radical democracy and push us to complicate the ideas of the commons, temporary autonomous zones, spatial justice, biopolitics, and states of exception.

For the discussion portion of our un/session project (see Session #22 above), we have put together an interdisciplinary group of activists, practitioners, and thinkers to engage in discussion about the people, spaces, (non)technology, and politics at play within various types of protest libraries. Several of our discussants have been directly involved in creating and sustaining protest libraries. Participants will present a five- to ten-minute narratives and then pose discussion questions. We expect this panel to be highly conversational and interactive. Additionally, throughout the conference we will be curating a BABEL pop-up library (located in Room 103, beginning on Friday @2:00pm and running throughout the conference), and we invite conference attendees to contribute books and other found objects (milk crates, boxes, tarps, etc) with which to create our space on-site. Our hope is to ensconce our discussion within a collection of books, which afterward we will donate to a Toronto community space (TBD). We will also include books, photos and memorabilia from various global protest library spaces.

Un/session 8. Performing Magic: Out of the Books, Onto the Screen, Into the World*

Co-Organizers: Cord J. Whitaker (Wellesley College) + Jasmine Lellock (Newton South High School) + Lesley S. Curtis (Wellesley College)

*this un/session includes a joint presentation (see Session #23 above) and will also feature the screening of films on Friday, Oct. 9 in Room 323b, across from the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies

Magic issues forth from books. In the Middle Ages, magic reveals the noble essence of the beleaguered commoner. In early modern Europe, alchemy, angel conjurations, and herbal spells promise transformation, both of the spiritual and the material worlds. In modernity magic has been used to denigrate, to hide, and to render culpable. Magic demonstrates and obscures. Like the spell book, or any book, for that matter, magic hides as much as it reveals; it reveals as much as it leaves covered. Medieval magic and early modern magic, once used to expose nobility, transform in the colonial era into a tool that denigrates blackness. In this un-session, we take the moment of the Haitian Revolution as a turning point in the understanding of magic that coincides and connects with the advent of modernity. Magic threatens to transform reality, but it also serves to make reality what those in power wish it to be. The transformative power of magic and of the books that transmit it inheres in the Middle Ages, early modernity, and modernity. Indeed, it demonstrates and obscures the intimate relations and disruptive divergences that make such periodizations possible and problematic.

Throughout the conference in various sites, ambient films will explore the relations between magic, freedom, servitude, pre-modernity, and modernity — and how these relationships are facilitated by, carried in, and deeply engaged with the book. Film will be explored as the imaginative space in which the magic inscribed on the page comes ever closer to being performed, to breaking into the world: the space in which magic threatens most aggressively by approaching ever closer to lived experience.

The Portable Library of Babel: An Archive/Exquisite Corpse*

Organizer: Paula Billups, Artist (www.paulabillups.com)

*this un/session includes a group discussion (see Session #24 above) as well as a portable pop-up library that will be located (all 3 days) in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building

Cultural stories are told with ephemera. With a million scraps of paper, every city, every family, every time tells its story. To review these scraps is to read the microscopic diary of what it was like to live in a certain moment and time. Cities write a collaborative history book on their walls with every graffito, every kiosk and notice board. We are going to write one here, in a single weekend, together. Conceptually. the portable library is a collaborative art work/exquisite corpse in progress. Physically, it is a rolling cart and work space where conference members can bring ephemera to share, using these scraps to make palimpsests and collages as pages for the unique collaborative archive of the Babel Conference 2015. The covers are there, but the pages are yet to be made. This is where you come in.

All conference attendees are invited to play and contribute a page to the archive. The cart has work space, glue, scissors, paper, and page blanks waiting for voices to shape them. Do you have an old journal, school notebook, a child’s book, a nautical map, a star chart, a box of photos? Candy wrappers, canceled postcards, unsent letters, takeout menus, poems, newspapers, stamps, tickets, museum passes, sheet music or dance step charts? Please bring some to share. Pooling our ephemera to refashion pages leads to a fascinating and unique book. In collaboration, a voice emerges, entirely new, that was never heard before and will never be heard again, made by of a group of individuals serendipitously gathered. It is one of the thousand possible voices that Babel could have imagined.

Make pages alone or with friends. Approach, tear, glue and recombine. Play, knowing you are transforming, and simultaneously creating and destroying. In leaving materials, you consent to their transformation. This is how we write a book not one of us could have written. The book has no copyright and no one author. As a creative commons it is donated to the Babel archive. The cart will be available for the duration of the conference, though there will be a signup sheet so that everyone has an opportunity to work/play in the space. There will also be a session dedicated to discussing the process and why we were drawn to add pages (see Session #24 above).

NOTE: It is possible to be deluged with paper and people waiting to play, so as with all invitations, an RSVP is requested. Please confirm your interest in participation and list what materials you plan to bring. Send emails regarding participation and contributions to Paula Billups at: pbillups34@gmail.com. Progress and updates for the Library and samples of pages will be visible HERE, and you can also follow the project on Facebook HERE.

Un/session 9. Lording over the Medieval in Order to Lord over YOU in Lord of the Rings Online: A Videogame Exploration

Co-Organizers: Carol L. Robinson (Kent State University, Trumbull) + Alexa Huang (George Washington University) + Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)

*Saturday, Oct. 10, 8:30pm – 10:30pm, Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies

This collaborative synchronous and asynchronous exploration is a joint-proposal from two entities “within” and “outside” the university: the GW Digital Humanities Institute (George Washington University) and the Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization (MEMO). Participants will be available for real-time discussion (video chat), as well as for asynchronous follow-up textual discussion. Each participant is providing at least two types of video game characters for exploration in the MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online. One type of character will be underdeveloped and “marginal” and the other type of character will be well-developed, functioning at a high-power level of playability. All characters will be available for sharing with session attendees. The workshop will explore questions of violence, exploitation, cultural dominance, marginalization, and powerlessness. BONUS: If participants are so inclined, we will later take the characters to a local tavern and try to get them drunk. This exploration will become part of a series that is under development in The UNICORN Virtual Museum of Medieval Studies and Medievalism (more details about how to participate as well as when & where workshop will occur are TBD).

Workshop Presenters >

  • Carol Robinson (Kent State University, Trumbull)
  • Kevin Moberly (Old Dominion University)
  • N.M. Heckel (American Military University)

Un/session 10.  Playing with History: A Board Games Party

Co-Organizers: Anna Wilson (University of Toronto) + Chris Piuma (University of Toronto)

*Saturday, Oct. 10, 8:30pm – 10:30pm, Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies

The idea: Board games are rising in popularity in North America, and since the opening of Snakes & Lattes in Toronto several years ago (and several other since then), board game cafes have become a flourishing tradition in Toronto. Some board games use historical settings, and their game mechanics explore some aspect of history, from the formation of the Italian vernacular to monastic agriculture. Board games offer the possibility of an “off the books” approach to history that emerges both from the opportunity to imagine oneself as a historical actor but also from attention to the implications and interactions of the rules of the game (and the world/social space that the game’s rules create). Board games are also, however, social and convivial affairs. This event will provide a non-alcohol-based arena for discussion and relaxation. Several historical board games — and ‘experts’ in each of those games — will be provided for attendees to play or observe. Some board game experience is encouraged but not necessary. While this is primarily a social event, it is also being organized in order to start a conversation about board games as a historical hermeneutic. We will gauge the interest among attendees about continuing this conversation further, perhaps as a panel, either at the next BABEL conference, or at another large conference, such as the annual Kalamazoo Congress. Those interested in playing with us should reserve a spot in advance, as we can accommodate approximately 60 persons, by contacting Chris Piuma at: chris.piuma@utotonto.ca.

Kernan_Books_17

BABEL@UToronto 2015 Programming Committee: Suzanne Conklin Akbari (University of Toronto), Arthur Bahr (M.I.T.), Roland Betancourt (University of California, Irvine), Liza Blake (University of Toronto), Jen Boyle (Coastal Carolina University), Maura Coughlin (Bryant University), Lowell Duckert (West Virginia University), Irina Dumitrescu (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn), Alexandra Gillespie (University of Toronto), Rick Godden (Tulane University), Andrew Griffin (University of California, Santa Barbara), David Hadbawnik (University at Buffalo, SUNY), Mary Kate Hurley (Ohio University), Eileen A. Joy (BABEL Working Group), Dorothy Kim (Vassar College), J. Allan Mitchell (University of Victoria), Susan Nakley (St. Joseph’s College, NY), Julie Orlemanski (University of Chicago), Michael O’Rourke (Independent Colleges, Dublin), Chris Piuma (University of Toronto), Daniel C. Remein (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Arthur J. Russell (Arizona State University), Myra Seaman (College of Charleston), Angela Bennett Segler (New York University), Sean Smith (Dept. of Biological Flow, Toronto), Karl Tobias Steel (Brooklyn College), Cord Whitaker (Wellesley College), Maggie M. Williams (William Paterson University), and Laura Yoder (New York University)

BABEL Future(s) Steering Committee: Suzanne Conklin Akbari (University of Toronto), Liza Blake (University of Toronto), Sakina Bryant (Sonoma State University), Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (George Washington University), Lara Farina (West Virginia University), Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University), Asa Simon Mittman (California State University, Chico), Julie Orlemanski (University of Chicago), Chris Piuma (University of Toronto), Angela Bennett Segler (New York University), Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY), and Maggie M. Williams (William Paterson University)

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