NYU Medieval and Renaissance

Medieval and Renaissance Center
New York University

Annual Spring Conference
April 3-4, 2014


Opening speaker: Christian Kiening, Universität Zürich
Keynote speaker: Martina Stercken, Universität Zürich

Call for papers: New York University’s Medieval and Renaissance Center invites proposals for papers that address the topic of mediality with respect to any medieval or early modern cultural practices.

The term mediality refers to a new approach in the discussion of media. While we ordinarily associate “media” with communication – writing, images, radio, TV, film — the approach captured by the term mediality shifts the focus to the ways and means of mediation. It accentuates the fundamental fact that access to history is conditioned by media. The goal is less to define what a medium is than to describe medial situations: moments of the in-between, in which something is assigned the function of a medium, and in which mediation occurs or effects of mediating become visible.

The concept of mediality can thus open up our understanding of any historical period and is particularly promising for study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, periods that are already marked by an intense interest in media, including the exploration of the possibilities of mediation and the development of new medial forms. The concept helps us to understand almost any object of study from these periods: from professional practices such as the law, to cultural practices such as ritual, to concrete material artifacts such as textiles, to the threshold between the age of manuscript and the era of print. Papers investigating the mediality–the specific “in-betweeness”–of any cultural phenomenon are welcome as well as those that investigate such matters as media awareness, media interference, cross mediality, media and the senses, media and power, and the uses and abuses of drawing attention to the conspicuous mediality of in any object, belief, or practice.

Papers from every sub-discipline of Medieval and Renaissance Studies are welcome. Please send abstracts (250 words maximum) to Martha Rust (at martha.rust@nyu.edu ) by September 15, 2013.

The Medieval and Renaissance Center will be able to offer assistance with travel and accommodation to conference participants living outside New York City.