CFP: 2nd Annual Stanford-Berkeley Medieval Studies Conference: Medieval Boundary-Making

We are excited to announce the second annual graduate student conference organized jointly by the Stanford Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS) and the UC Berkeley program in Medieval Studies. The conference will be held at UC Berkeley on April 6th, 2019.

Last year, the conference discussed the theme of “meetings,” which brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines and fittingly emphasized the spirit of collaboration between our two institutions. While our previous theme encouraged us to look at the ways in which disparate groups might come together, in our upcoming conference we would like to examine a related but perhaps even more ambivalent side of such interactions by focusing on boundaries. Drawing lines, demarcating, and differentiating often divide and separate, but such acts can also create meaning in terms of belonging and situatedness. While perhaps less optimistic, the theme of “boundaries” seems both relevant to our understanding of medieval societies and medieval studies and timely in light of contemporary events. Since academic intellectual work inevitably draws on the making of boundaries (between concepts, phenomena, periods, social and discursive formations), we envision reflections on our own boundary-making as a potential and desirable side-effect of our engagement with this topic.

We invite graduate students from all disciplines and scholarly backgrounds in medieval and early modern studies to consider this theme in light of their own particular research interests and methods. Some potential (though not exhaustive) avenues of inquiry include:
● An interrogation of religious, cultural, economic, and political boundaries
○ Where are the faultines in medieval societies?
○ How and when are these boundaries reified and hardened (or loosened and
● Boundary crossings — both literal and figurative — in history and in regards to formal literary
structures (genres, linguistic forms, etc.)
● Boundedness of religious space, cities and towns, political territories, etc.
● Boundedness of time— both medieval conceptions of temporal boundaries and our own
disciplinary constructions (periodization, for example)
● Boundary-making in medievalist scholarly pursuits— such as classification, categorization,
typologies— as well as faultines within the field itself
● Internalization and subversion of boundaries

As the above list suggests, the lens of “boundaries” offers a wide angle from which to view many different aspects of medieval societies and cultures, and we encourage submissions that engage with the theme creatively and non-traditionally. We particularly welcome participants who work on areas outside of the Latin West. Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 20-minute paper to Christene Stratman ( or Robert Forke ( by January 7th . All submissions will be reviewed and participants selected by January 21st.