Archive for February, 2013

Vulnerable Times — “Making Community in Vulnerable Medieval Times”

Monday, February 18th, 2013

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In keeping with the theme of next year’s MLA Convention 2014 in Chicago, “Vulnerable Times,” I would like to propose a special session in a roundtable format about “Making Community in Vulnerable Medieval Times” with a focus on Iberia.  If medieval times are vulnerable by definition because the period from 500 to 1500 CE fails to represent stable conditions or times, then the idea of community during those 1000 years must be equally shifting.

Taking this up in a roundtable format rather than the standard presentation of papers enhances dialogue among presenters and our own academic community at the MLA.  To that end I wanted to begin the discussion here, to ask you to weigh in on the kinds of discussions you would like addressed by the panel and to contribute your ideas on the topic.  I plan to solicit abstracts and ask panelists to speak on their specific topics for a brief five minutes, leaving significant time for discussion.

Here are some initial questions and thoughts:

How did people make community in medieval Iberia?  María Rosa Menocal and others have suggested that religion was not as dominant a point of individual or group identification as scholars maintain.  Did people think about and create communities around a combination of different criteria, such as religion, social rank, and kinship, or can we be more specific?  Was the idea of community important to people in medieval Iberia, and if so, did its importance and manifestations depend on sociohistoric and sociopolitical contexts?  How did literature and song contribute to making community in medieval Iberia?

Jean Dangler

Associate Professor of Spanish and Medieval Iberian Studies

Department of Spanish and Portuguese
302 Newcomb Hall
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA 70118