As noted in the report on the 2015 meeting of the Society at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, the Society voted to propose a session for the 2016 South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA) conference, to be held in Dallas, Texas, USA, on 3-5 November 2016. Those who attended the 2015 iteration of the conference, just concluded in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, were given a form to propose special sessions at the 2016 conference, in which 30-word descriptions and contact information for session organizers is requested. In accord with the Society’s (thwarted) desire to see an “Unconventional Medievalisms” panel at the 2016 International Congress on Medieval Studies and the aforementioned decision to pursue a panel at the 2016 SCMLA conference, the following text is being sent to SCMLA officers for inclusion in forthcoming newsletters:
The medieval appears in historical, fantastic, and speculative fiction–and other places seldom investigated. The less-investigated is the focus of the proposed panel. More information appears at talesaftertolkien.blogspot.com and talesaftertolkien.org.
The “More information” is this:
That the medieval appears in historical, fantastic, and speculative fiction is a commonplace–and sensibly so. Historical fiction that situates itself in the centuries between the fall of Western Rome and the emergence of the traditional Renaissance will necessarily work with the medieval. Fantastic fiction, following Tolkien and the more recent Martin, also makes much of the medieval, deploying its tropes to various purposes but in effect making medievalism a convention of the genre. Something similar happens in much speculative fiction, if less often. But the medieval also appears in other places–in a variety of contemporary musical genres, in amusement parks, in other fictional genres than the commonplace, in body modifications, and elsewhere. For a special session at the 2016 South Central Modern Language Association conference–3-5 November 2016 in Dallas, Texas, USA–the Tales after Tolkien Society requests abstracts (100-300 words) of papers looking at how the medieval manifests in one unconventional place or another. Please send them to Geoffrey B. Elliott, Tales after Tolkien Society Vice-President (USA), at email@example.com before 1 February 2016.
This text also appears on the Society blog.