This year’s International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds is fast approaching; bringing with it several days of fascinating discussion, international networking opportunities, and let’s not forget the gauntlet that is the excellent book fair (from which it is almost impossible to emerge without a much heavier suitcase and decidedly lighter wallet). I’m particularly looking forward to this year, as I’ve co-organised a series of five panels entitled ‘Constructing the Crusades: Representation, Reinterpretation and Memory.’ The idea for this strand arose from a conversation between myself and Stephen Spencer (Queen Mary University of London), who is also currently in the final stages of his PhD researching emotions in crusade narratives.
But before all of the non-crusade specialists out there begin backing away slowly, as though the t-rex-like crusade historian’s vision is dependent on sudden movement (given the frequency with which I trip over my cat I can assure you that it is not), please be comforted that these sessions are intended to be accessible and beneficial to anyone with an interest in the application of literary and narrative theory to the practise of medieval history. As such we have organised our speakers around particular themes or approaches, which speak to more diverse scholarly interests. They are as follows: Narratives, Re-evaluations, Discourses of Power, Memory, and Reinterpretations. My paper, for example, which will feature in the ‘Narratives’ session, engages with how certain authors of crusade histories might have sought to use the miraculous as a means to justify and defend. I will also be considering the problem of how best to tackle medieval belief when using these approaches.
These sessions embrace and reflect the recent steer towards an appreciation of the value of crusade sources beyond the practise of events history. These are rich resources for the study of medieval perceptions, literary production, and cultures. This series of panels brings together a range of individuals who also embrace these approaches in their research. The five resulting sessions comprise speakers ranging from renowned experts to early career scholars in what we hope will be an exciting, insightful, and varied couple of days.
The sessions are co-sponsored by the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages (University of Birmingham), the Centre for the Study of Islam and the West (Queen Mary, University of London), and the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing you in Leeds for the CtC sessions!
Panel details can also be found on the Leeds IMC’s website, or in this year’s programme, under session numbers 1028, 1128, 1528, 1628 and 1728.
You can find Beth on Twitter @BCSpacey.