As today’s world is rocked by current events in which nation-states are invaded, aid is blockaded at national borders, and marginalized groups fight for a political presence, we as medievalists and early modernists look back and ask: how did we get here? Although often compared to modern international borders, pre-modern frontiers, borders, and borderlands were arguably more unstable, messy, and ill-defined. In this conference, we therefore define these spaces in the broadest possible terms: as meeting points and spaces between geographical, social, cultural, religious, or political spheres. The ever-evolving shape and history of frontiers, borders, and borderlands in the early global world has continued to inspire study, and in this conference we seek papers from graduate students and emerging scholars that engage with the varied, and often unexpected, productions of and responses to these liminal, contested spaces.
We invite submissions from all fields of medieval and early modern studies—including but not limited to history, gender and sexuality studies, history of art and architecture, philosophy, and literature—that engage with frontiers, borders, and borderlands and the conditions that arose from their unique positionality. Possible topics might include architectural comparisons of borderland fortifications, the cultural permeability of portable objects, legal responses in conquered lands, or how ideas of race and gender changed in plural societies. Sponsored by the CMRS Center for Early Global Studies, we especially invite proposals from emerging scholars studying frontiers, borders, and borderlands outside of Europe.
Please email an abstract of the proposed presentation (250 words) to the officers of MEMSA at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 10, 2023. Acceptances will be given by April 20, 2023.