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Uses of the Past: Cultural Memory in and of the Middle Ages

Uses of the Past: Cultural Memory in and of the Middle Ages; The Twenty-Ninth Annual Spring Symposium of the Medieval Studies on March 3-4, 2017

How is the past used (and abused) in the middle ages? To what purposes is it deployed in
personal, social, religious, and political formation? And how has the medieval served as a
foundational past for identities and practices in post-medieval periods? Recent scholarship
demonstrates the importance of the past in the creation of medieval identity. In the words of
Walter Pohl and Ian Wood, the past could be used “to create legitimacy, explain inclusion and
exclusion, establish precedent, provide orientation, exemplify moral exhortation, inspire a
sense of what was possible and what was not, to negotiate status, to argue about the right
norms or to imagine the future.” Moreover, the medieval past has become a touchstone of
current cultural memory, deployed in constructing the past of our own present moment. The
Medieval Studies Institute of Indiana University welcomes scholars from a range of disciplines
and objects: history, literature, music; material artifacts and spaces; religion, politics, and law.
We are especially interested in papers that explore global perspectives on cultural memory
and the use of the past.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by December 21, 2016