CfP: IPpS @ ICMS 2023

The International Pearl-poet Society is thrilled to be sponsoring and co-sponsoring a total of six sessions at the 2023 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. The coming year’s ICMS will be a hybrid conference. In the interest of making our sessions as accessible as possible, we have chosen to make them fully virtual/online–this should help mitigate potential problems of logistics, timing, and costs.

Thanks to our valiant VP, Lisa Horton, for organising the sessions and preparing the CfP. Thanks also to our co-sponsoring organisations, the Medieval Association of the Midwest (MAM) and Tolkien at Kalamazoo.

All proposals are due 15 September 2022. Please see the instructions for submission below.

The sessions are as follows:

  1. “Check Your Privilege”: Microaggressions, Misogyny, and Mansplaining in the Pearl-Poet
    Recently, scholars who do not fit the white cishet male paradigm have been attacked on social media, at conferences, and in print. Because microaggressions, misogyny, and mansplaining all predate the modern era and occur regularly in medieval texts, it is important that we see how our past has create the dilemma that we’re in, but also how examination and dissemination of these texts can also push the conversation about this hate speech within the Ivory Tower and beyond. Papers in this session will examine the works of the Pearl-Poet for privilege and to examine the privilege of our own scholarship.
  2. Climate Change I: Social, Ecological, Political, and Spiritual Shifts in the Late Medieval World
    Climate change is progressing at an alarming rate, but doesn’t just have to do with the weather. As politics and culture become more polarized around the world, we are witnessing extreme changes to social, political, and spiritual shifts, as well as ecological. In this panel, the IPPS will explore how these same monumental shifts hit the late medieval world, as reflected in the art and culture that remains extant today. This panel will also examine how these shifts in late medieval thought can be both a warning and a hope to modern readers.

    (Please also see “Climate Change II: Social, Ecological, Political, and Spiritual Shifts in J. R. R. Tolkien and Medieval Poets,” co-organized by Tolkien at Kalamazoo and the Pearl-Poet Society.)

  3. Conspicuous Consumption: Feasting, Fighting, and Tomfoolery (with MAM)
    When lay audiences imagine the Middle Ages, they imagine gratuitous violence, overindulgent feasting, and a monolithic Church relentlessly punishing the weak. Nonetheless, there is something to be said for the excess and conspicuous consumption that often turns up in medieval literature. In this panel, we will look at how indulgence and gluttony are portrayed in medieval literary works: how the feasting, fighting, and tomfoolery indicate the values of a medieval audience, and why authors like the Pearl-Poet condemned such excess. This panel will also consider the dichotomy of church versus court, and class issues between the nobility and everyone else.
  4. The Game and the Poet: Metaconnections in the Cotton Nero A.x and St. Erkenwald
    A rich body of scholarship has emerged exploring the connections between games, medieval chivalry, theology, and the romance narrative. Our session will continue the study of games in Sir Gawain, and will extend the study of games to the other poems in the Cotton Nero A.x manuscript, and St. Erkenewald, as well as (re)imaginings of these narratives in metatexts like films and RPGs. With this metatextual approach, the session will explore play not only as represented within the texts’ narratives, but also in the creative acts of production and interpretation undertaken by both authors and readers over time.
  5. (Roundtable) “And they were Zoommates”: Teaching, Translating, and Technology—A Pearl-Poet Roundtable
    The International Pearl-Poet Society invites proposals for a pedagogy roundtable on presenting the works of the Poet in classroom settings. Papers might: consider some of the many translations and adaptations of the poems for non-specialist audiences (versions for younger readers, comics and graphic novels, films, and video games); engage how digitization and online tools generate interest in the material culture of books in the Middle Ages and today; or consider the poems’ strikingly relevant themes in this moment of growing public anxieties about classroom content–how can teaching these poems address concerns about politics, social justice, racial and ethnic difference?

All proposals must be made through the official ICMS portal. Here are some directions that should help with the process. To propose a paper for a session before the deadline on Thursday, September 15, please go to

On this page you can click on “P” under Sponsored Sessions to be taken to the list of Pearl-Poet Society sessions. At “Pearl-Poet Society,” you’ll be reminded of the subject matter for each session.

British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x; f. 125/129v.

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