CFP: Medical Humanities and the Fantastic Online Symposium: Neurodiversity and Disability

Medical Humanities and the Fantastic Online Symposium: Neurodiversity and Disability

Friday 11th  February 2022

Keynote lectures from Dr Ria Cheyne and Dr Louise Creechan

The second Medical Humanities and the Fantastic Symposium, funded by the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Medical Humanities’ Early Career Foundation Award, and co-hosted by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, continues to map and establish new ways of connecting research into the fantastic (traditionally understood as science fiction, fantasy and horror) and popular culture with the field of the medical humanities. It aims to showcase the potentials the fantastic has to offer as valuable gateway and perspective for discussing medical encounters, practices and lived experiences. The fantastic as a research method can expand the scope of the medical humanities since its modus operandi relies on reframing human understanding of the world, particularly the human condition and its relationship to technology, society, and the environment. Likewise, medical humanities offer emerging trajectories to approach the fantastic.

This time the symposium intends to focus on a specific area, and its theme is set as “Neurodiversity and Disability”, seeking to explore and formulating answers the following questions:

  • How does the fantastic represent or subvert neurodiversity and disability?
  • How can the fantastic help express lived experiences of neurodiversity and disability?
  • How can the fantastic negotiate the reframing of current medical, social, political and economic debates surrounding neurodiversity and disability?
  • How can the fantastic raise awareness, and facilitate critical and policy intervention?

We are inviting 10-15-minute presentations (including work-in-progress projects) relating to but not limited to the following topics:

  • Ableism
  • Academia
  • Activism
  • ADHD, ASD
  • Anthropocene
  • Art and artistic practices
  • Care and care crisis
  • Capitalism and anti-capitalism
  • Children’s literature
  • Chronic illness and chronic pain
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Communities online and offline
  • Creativity
  • Dis/ability
  • Ecology, ecopsychology, ecosickness
  • Education
  • Fantasy
  • Fantastic franchises
  • Film and television
  • Gaming and gamification
  • Gender
  • Gothic and Horror
  • History and medical history
  • Learning disabilities
  • Modernism and Postmodernism
  • Neurodiversity and the Neurodiversity Movement
  • Posthumanism
  • Precarity
  • Reproductive health
  • Robotics
  • Science fiction and speculative fiction
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Social media
  • Technology
  • Theatre
  • Vulnerability
  • Weird fiction
  • Young Adult

Please send your short abstract (100-200 words) accompanied by a brief bio (50-100 words) by the end of January 2022 as well as any enquiries and concerns to fantastic.medhums@gmail.com. For information and updates on the event follow @fantastic_mhs on Twitter.

Registration for this Symposium is now open! You can register here.

CFP: Tolkien and Fantasy sessions at ICMS, Kalamazoo

We are seeking abstracts for two sessions on J.R.R. Tolkien and Young Adult Fantasy, sponsored by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, for the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University), to be held online on 9-14 May 2022.

Tolkien and the Medieval Animal

Organised by Kris Swank

The emerging field of “animal studies” shifts critical thought away from an assumption of human supremacy and instead explores the web of interdependence that enmeshes humans with all other forms of life (Crane 2015: 1). As Anna Tsing puts it, “Human nature is an interspecies relationship” (2012: 144). But these conceptions are not new. Susan Crane writes, “The people of medieval Britain lived in daily contact with domestic and wild animals. Forest and wasteland loomed over settlements, and even city streets teemed with all kinds of creatures” (2012: 1).

The medieval animal is explored in a number of recent monographs, e.g. Animals in the Middle Ages by Nona C. Flores (2000), The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed., by Joyce E. Salisbury (2010), Animal Encounters: Contacts and Concepts in Medieval Britain by Susan Crane (2012), and Medieval Pets by Kathleen Walker-Meikle (2021), among others. Animals mattered to J.R.R. Tolkien, too, and his writings frequently engage with medieval conceptions of the interspecies relationships between humans and non-human animals. A few examples include Farmer Giles and his dog, Garm, Gandalf and Shadowfax, and bestiary animals Fastitocalon, the Oliphaunt, and dragons. Lists of animals found in Middle-earth are available online (e.g. here and here).

We welcome proposals for this paper session on “Tolkien and the Medieval Animal.” Interdisciplinary topics are welcome, and scholars might engage with a number of diverse fields, such as anthropology, art history, biology, communication, geography, history, literary studies, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc. Panelists may also employ various theoretical perspectives.

For any questions on this session please contact Kris Swank at 2464732s@student.gla.ac.uk.

The Global Middle Ages in Young Adult Fantasy

Organised by Grace Ann Thomas Worm

Contemporary trends in Young Adult fantasy literature demonstrate a close relationship between young adult stories and a global medieval settings. Young Adult fantasies often use medieval settings to position arguments around identity, race, culture, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, violence, environmentalism, technology, folklore, and magic. We want to open a conversation about the turn toward a Global Middle Ages in Young Adult fantasy and its opportunities and challenges for new voices, groups, cultures, and readers.

Since the days of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, settings for fantasy novels have largely been modelled upon the medieval North: the British Isles and Scandinavia. In the last decade, a wave of emerging voices in the field of Young Adult fantasy have turned to the rich variety of cultural models, mythologies, and folklore traditions of the “Global Middle Ages,” that is pre-modern Africa, Asia, the Americas, Austronesia, even eastern and southern Europe. Among this wave of authors who write on global medievalism are Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, P. Djèlí Clark, Hafsah Faizal, Julie Kagawa, Nnedi Okrafor, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nghi Vo, Neon Yang, and many others.

We want to reveal not only cultures which have previously been silenced, but also groups which have been silenced, including women, the enslaved, indigenous peoples, queer, or disabled groups.

For any questions on this session please contact Grace Worm at g.worm.1@research.gla.ac.uk.

How to submit your abstract

All proposals must be submitted through the International Congress on Medieval Studies site: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call

The proposal deadline is 15 September 2021

References

Crane, S. (2012). Animal Encounters: Contacts and Concepts in Medieval Britain (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Tsing, A. (2012). Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species: for Donna Haraway. Environmental Humanities 1, available at: https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/1/1/141/8082/Unruly-Edges-Mushrooms-as-Companion-SpeciesFor

Crane, S. (2015). ‘Medieval Animal Studies: Dogs at Work’. Oxford Handbooks Online, available at: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935338-e-103

Image Credits

Man with hunting dogs. Marginal drawing from Luttrell Psalter. Originally published in England East Anglia; circa 1325-1335. Photograph from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, 2 Mar 2017.

Medieval Cosplaying. @ Grace Worm

CFP: Tolkien sessions at Leeds IMC 2022

Paper abstracts are currently being sought for the following Tolkien sessions for the Leeds International Medieval Congress, to be held at the University of Leeds on 4-7 July 2022. These sessions are organised by Dr Andrew Higgins and sponsored by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow.  The special thematic strand of the conference will be “Borders” which is reflected in several of the suggested sessions.

Paper submissions are being sought for the following sessions:

Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches

This session can accommodate thematic topics on, and new approaches to, Tolkien’s medievalism, ranging from source studies and theoretical readings, to comparative studies of Tolkien’s and others’ works. 

Tolkien and Medieval Poets: A Session in Memory of Richard C. West  

This session is in memory of medievalist and distinguished Tolkien scholar who we sadly lost in 2020: Richard C. West.  Richard wrote some of the most important and influential early scholarship on Tolkien including his seminal 1975 essay ‘The Interlace Structure of The Lord of the Rings’ which demonstrated how the narrative interlace structure used by medieval authors influenced Tolkien’s work.  In memory of Richard’s scholarship papers in this session will explore the influence and impact of works of medieval poetry and poets on the creative thought, process, and works of J.R.R. Tolkien.   

Crossing Borders in Middle-earth 

This will be the first session to directly address the special thematic strand of the conference.  Papers in this session can explore any aspects of borders in Tolkien’s works in the broadest sense of the term.  We welcome explorations of geographical, conceptual, political, linguistic and other borders in Middle-earth studies. 

Borders between Life and Death in Tolkien’s Legendarium

In the second session related to the thematic strand of the conference we are looking for papers that explore themes around metaphysical borders and liminal spaces between life and death in Tolkien’s works and their influences. 

Family Ties:  The Limits of Kinship in Tolkien’s Middle-earth

In his vast and complex life-long world-building Tolkien put a great focus in his narrative and para-textual work on developing networks of relationships between different races, languages and families, as in the case of the genealogies found in The Silmarillion and in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings. These networks of various forms of kinship create their own borders between the many peoples of Middle-earth.  This session welcomes papers that will explore the many different types of kinship networks Tolkien establishes in his legendarium and how they work within his rich secondary world. 

Orientation, Transgression, and Crossing Borders of Middle-earth

Papers in this session will explore broader topics around different types of less evident borders found in Tolkien’s creative thought and writing. They can include orientations and borders that are encountered and crossed (or not) in various types of social interactions and relationships in Tolkien’s legendarium including social, linguistic, racial and sexual. 

Tolkien as a Gateway to Interdisciplinary Teaching: A Roundtable

For our 2022 Roundtable we would like to hear from teachers who have used the works of Tolkien to introduce and engage students with new fields of study and disciplines. How have you used the works of Tolkien as a gateway for students to explore and become passionate about other areas of study?

  • Please submit a paper title and abstract by 31 August 2021 to  Dr. Andrew Higgins (asthiggins@me.com)
  • Length of abstracts: 150 words (max!) 
  • Papers will be 15-20 minutes long

Call for British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships candidates on fantasy

The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow is inviting expressions of interest from candidates who are considering applying for a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship focusing on research projects on fantasy/the fantastic.

Given the highly competitive nature of this scheme, the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow has put in place an internal process to select, and then closely support, potential candidates to be put forward with the University of Glasgow.  The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic is keen to support excellent research projects on fantasy that might attract funding from the BA scheme. Therefore we are seeking to identify, at an early stage, candidates whom we would be keen to mentor. We will offer them tailored support in preparing an application for the College selection process.

The British Academy application process is in two stages: The deadline for Outline applications is anticipated to be in mid-October 2021 (date tbc by the British Academy). The deadline for the second stage (by invitation only) is usually mid-February. The College of Arts internal deadline for UofG candidates is going to be towards the end of August 2021 (date tbc by College of Arts).

If you are interested in applying with a research project that focuses on fantasy/the fantastic, please send a CV and a draft of the research proposal part of the BA application by Thursday 15th July 2021 to arts-fantasy@glasgow.ac.uk.