• Announcements

    SMFS 2021 Elections

    It is time to begin the process of our annual elections to the Advisory Board of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship. Here is a summary of elections-related activity occurring this year:

    Advisory Board members concluding terms of service in 2020:

    Bettina Bildhauer

    Jonathan Hsy

    Janine Larmon Peterson

    Graduate Student Representative concluding term of service in 2020:

    Jenny C. Bledsoe

    The executive Team, on behalf of the Advisory Board and society membership, wishes to express our gratitude to these departing members of the ad board for your efforts in support of our organization’s many initiatives over the past several years. Thank you to all of you!

    2021 ELECTIONS

    The SMFS Advisory Board are excited to report that due to an increased number of initiatives in support of our members and robust participation in our programming, we are expanding our board this year to the full number of advisory board members allotted by the Society’s by-laws.

    Among the initiatives new members of the Advisory Board will have the opportunity to aid in developing are the new “Medieval Futures” grant designed to support the work of a medievalist scholar of color working at the intersections of race, gender, and the law, and online programming including research groups and book clubs, all initiatives we began but have not yet formally codified in 2020. 

    Members of the advisory board also serve on various other committees, including adjudicating the Best Book/ Best Article and Best Grad Student Essay Prizes, reviewing applications for the Foremother’s Fund and Trans* Travel Fund, and planning SMFS-sponsored sessions and events at various conferences and symposiums both online and, when the pandemic permits, in-person.

    SMFS Ad Board members are not tasked with overwhelming amounts of service, but we do all play our part in ensuring the organization’s membership needs and desires in terms of scholarly and collegial support are being met. In addition to serving on at least one committee, ad board members are required to attend our once-annual meeting, typically at or at the same time as the International Congress on Medieval Studies/ Kalamazoo, in May. 

    We are offering a choice of an abbreviated 2-year, or a regular 3-year, commitment for those who are interested in joining the ad board. The 2-year commitment gives those newer to the profession or unsure of their next steps professionally a shorter time commitment while also still offering the opportunity to develop their service and leadership profile with the organization; the 3-year positions are the typical commitment held by ad board members. Regardless of whether you elect to run for a 2-year or 3-year position, all new members are full members of the Ad Board with the same rights and responsibilities.

    We are also welcoming a new graduate student representative to the advisory board.  Grad Student representatives are also recognized as full members, with all rights and responsibilities.

    Service terms for all individuals elected to the Advisory Board begin in January of the first year listed and conclude in December of the last year listed (So, for example, a 2021-2022 term lasts from January 2021 through December 2022.)

    We will be electing the following positions in the 2021 elections:

    4 regular ad board members, for two-year terms (2021-2022)

    4 regular ad board members, for three-year terms (2021-2023)

    1 graduate student representative for a 3-year commitment (must be a graduate student at the time of election, but can roll into faculty or alt-ac during the 3-year service term; 2021-2022.)

    *The call for nominations to these positions is now open, and will run through Friday, November 6*.

    Nominations may be made by any current member of SMFS (now is a good time to renew your membership for 2020 if you have not already done so!) Candidates should be members of SMFS, or join SMFS prior to the election. Self-nominations are acceptable.

    Please send your nomination(s), comprising an email address for the nominee, a brief biographical/candidate’s statement of approximately 150-200 words, and also an expression of which position–2-year, 3-year, or grad student–the individual is running for to Kath Maude, elections officer: km55@aub.edu.lb .

    Information about these positions, clarification about the process, and answers to questions about the elections can also be obtained by writing to Melissa Elmes at MElmes@lindenwood.edu

    2021 Elections timeframe:

    October 27-November 6: Call for nominations to the ballot

    November 16-20: voting period (all SMFS members with current membership during this voting period are eligible to vote)

    November 23: Results announcement

  • Announcements

    CFP: Leeds IMC 2021

    Below, please find the CFP for three SMFS-sponsored sessions to be proposed for the Leeds IMC 2021 (July 5-8, 2021). Note that at this time, the conference is intended to be held in-person; however, it may be moved to a virtual format dependent upon the global conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    session proposal 1: Affect, Action, Effect, Reaction: Gender and Emotions in the Courtly Climates of Medieval Romance

    We seek 20-minute papers examining any aspect(s) of the intersection of gender and emotion in medieval romance.

    session proposal 2: Affect, Action, Effect, Reaction: Gender and Emotions in the Cultural Climates of the Medieval World

    We seek 20-minute papers examining the intersection of gender and emotion in historical spaces and places–at court/ in manors, halls, and other homes; in the courts; in the guilds; in towns and villages; in monasteries and abbeys, & etc.

    session proposal 3: Feminist Medievalists and Campus Climates (A roundtable)

    We seek individuals interested in discussing their engagement with feminist scholarship in current socio-political and academic climates in a roundtable format–approximately 5-10 minutes of prepared remarks from each participant, followed by a facilitated roundtable discussion

    Please send expressions of interest in the following format to MElmes@lindenwood.edu by August 31:

    Name, email, and postal address
    Affiliation (if applicable)
    Which session you would like to participate in
    Proposed title of your talk
    100-200 word abstract (for paper sessions); brief description of your focus (for roundtable)
    any equipment or accessibility concerns

  • Announcements

    Announcement: SMFS Best Article Prize 2021 Call for Submissions

    We are pleased to announce the call for nominations and submissions for the 2021 SMFS Best Article of Medieval Feminist Scholarship Prize. Articles published in calendar years 2019 and 2020 will be considered for this prize.

    Articles submitted for this prize will be assessed on both scholarly merit and relevance to the remit of SMFS. Topics are open, including issues regarding women, gender, trans* studies, feminist approaches and theory, and intersectionality. Range of study must, however, focus on the medieval period (ca. 500 to 1500).

    The prize is US $300.00.

    Deadline for submissions is 1 December 2020. Announcement of prizewinner will occur in late February/early March 2021.

    Please send all submissions electronically (via email), in an attached OFFICIAL pdf version/file of the article with the publication information clearly identified, to Melissa Ridley Elmes, MElmes@lindenwood.edu, subject heading: “Submission, SMFS Best Article Prize.” Make sure to include all contact information for the author.

  • Announcements

    Announcement: SMFS Best Graduate Essay Prize 2021 Call for Submissions

    The SMFS Graduate Student Essay Competition for 2021 is now open. This competition is open to all currently-enrolled graduate students, including those who will complete their degree in the current academic year. Papers submitted for consideration should be polished, original scholarly work and may cover any aspect of medieval studies that focuses on issues of women, gender, and/or sexuality. Papers written originally as conference presentations or seminar/ capstone assignments should be revised into article length, format, and style prior to submission for this contest.

    Requirements:

    1. Papers should be no longer than 8000 words, not counting foot/endnotes and bibliography.

    2. Papers should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents (doc OR docx), double-spaced with standard margins, and include a FULL citation apparatus–foot- or endnotes and bibliography, all in Chicago Manual of Style [preferable] or MLA format.

    Papers that do not conform to these basic guidelines will be returned with a request to revise in accordance with required length and formatting.

    The prize will be 5 years’ membership of SMFS and publication of the winning paper, subject to editing, in the Society’s journal, Medieval Feminist Forum. The winner will be paired with a mentor who will help facilitate revisions and work with you to develop your essay for publication. All submissions will receive constructive feedback.

    Deadline for submission of papers is 1 November 2020. The winner will be announced around 1 February 2021. There may be years when the prize will not be awarded, dependent upon the publishable potential of submissions.

    Send all submissions (via email attachment) and correspondence to Roberta Magnani, R.Magnani@swansea.ac.uk with subject heading: “Submission, SMFS Best Graduate Essay Prize”

  • Announcements

    SMFS Statement on Institutional Racism, Police Violence, and the Murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade

    The Advisory Board of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship stands in solidarity with Black communities in medieval and early modern studies, in the United States, and around the world. We support #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, and we decry the structural racism and white supremacist and patriarchal foundations that continue to enable state-sanctioned murder of Black people by police and by extrajudical violence.  

    As an intersectional feminist organization committed to racial and gender justice, we recognize that Black women are too often left out of the national and international conversations on racism and police murder. We #SayHerName and demand justice for Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Tanisha Anderson, Sarah Reed, and the many more women of color killed by police. Just as importantly, we honor the memories of and demand justice for Tony McDade and the many more queer and trans Black people killed by police. #TransBlackLivesMatter. 

    We stand in solidarity with the protestors, and we encourage everyone to read this statement by the Medievalists of Color (MOC) and to support bail funds that MOC has endorsed. https://medievalistsofcolor.com/statements/medievalists-of-color-statement-regarding-the-violent-murder-of-george-floyd-breonna-taylor-tony-mcdade/

    As individuals, the waged Advisory Board members of SMFS have contributed to local and national bail funds and Black Lives Matter funds listed below. We urge all waged members of SMFS to similarly make contributions to these or similar funds. 

    As an organization, SMFS is donating $300.00 each to Black Lives Matter, the Trans Women of Color Collective, and SUSU: A Black Feminist Giving Circle, to support Black women and Black trans people, who collectively experience combined oppressions of anti-Black racism, misogyny, and transphobia, among a host of interrelated structural injustices.

    As an organization, we have established a new grant program for BIPOC medieval scholars who work at the intersections of racial and gender justice, the details of which are forthcoming.

    Organizations to support:

    Black Lives Matter: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html

    Black Lives Matter UK: https://www.blacklivesmatter.uk

    Black Queer and Trans Communities: https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/ways-you-can-support-the-black-lgbtq-community.html

    Susu: A Black Feminist Giving Circle: https://www.blackfeministsusu.com/

    Black Women and Girls: https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/NzU4MzM=

  • Announcements

    SMFS Election Results

    Thanks very much to Jonathan Hsy, our elections officer, for a wonderful job coordinating the election process and ensuring a strong slate of candidates for our society membership to draw from, and to our treasurer Amy Vines for her work getting folks registered to the society so they could vote and troubleshooting those who had difficulty accessing the ballot.

    The results of the election are:

    New Advisory Board members:

    Marjorie Housley
    Shyama Rajendran

    Graduate Student Representative:

    Kersti Francis

    Vice-President:

    Roberta Magnani

    The advisory board wishes to extend a special thank you to everyone who submitted a candidate or agreed, themself, to be a candidate for the ballot. We are a volunteer advisory board overseeing a sizeable international membership in what we might characterize as “interesting times” for feminist initiatives and endeavors, and your willingness to offer this service to our society and to the field is both honored and appreciated.

  • Announcements

    SMFS Elections—Nominations Open

    It is time to begin the process of our annual elections to the Advisory Board of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship. Here is a summary of elections-related activity occurring this year:

    Executive Team:

    Linda Mitchell, transitioning from President to Past President
    Melissa Ridley Elmes, transitioning from Vice President to President

    Foremother:

    Beth Robertson, concluding her service in 2019

    Advisory Board members concluding terms of service in 2019:

    Erin Jordan
    Roberta Magnani
    Anneliese Pollock Renck
    Samantha Katz Seal
    Nicole Nolan Sidhu

    Graduate Student Representative concluding term of service in 2019:

    Marjorie Housley


    The executive Team, on behalf of the Advisory Board and society membership, wishes to express our gratitude to these departing members of the ad board for your efforts in support of our organization’s many initiatives over the past several years. Thank you to all of you!

    We will be electing the following positions in the 2018 elections:

    • 5 regular ad board members, for three-year terms (2020–2022)
    • 1 graduate student representative for a 3-year commitment (must be a graduate student at the time of election, but can roll into faculty or alt-ac during the 3-year service term; 2020–2022)
    • A Vice-President, for a period of 2 years (2020–2021) from there transitioning into the Presidency for two years (2022–2023)

    Description of the office (from the by-laws): The Vice-President is elected by the general membership of the Society from among currently serving Advisory Board members or those who have served recently. They serve for one, two-year term and succeed the President. The assist the President with presidential duties and also serve ex officio on the Book/Article prize committee.

    The call for nominations to these positions is now open, and will run through Friday, October 11

    Nominations may be made by any current member of SMFS (now is a good time to renew your membership for 2020 if you have not already done so!) Candidates should be members of SMFS, or join SMFS prior to the election. Self-nominations are acceptable.

    Please send your nomination(s) together with an email address for the nominee and a brief biographical/ candidate’s statement to Jonathan Hsy, elections officer: jhsy@email.gwu.edu.

    Information about these positions, clarification about the process, and answers to questions about the elections can also be obtained by writing to Melissa Elmes at MElmes@lindenwood.edu.

    2019 Elections timeframe:

    October 1–11: Call for nominations to the ballot

    October 16–25: voting period (all SMFS members with current membership during this voting period are eligible to vote)

    November 1: Results announcement

  • Announcements

    SMFS Statement in Support of Dr. Mary Rambaran-Olm

    SMFS statement in support of Dr Mary Rambaran-Olm

    During her talk at the recent Race Before Race symposium in Washington D.C, Dr Mary Rambaran-Olm resigned from her position on the board of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS). The Advisory Board of Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS) would like to add our voices to the Medievalists of Color, the Queerdievalists, the IONA conference organizers, and the MLA Old English Forum in supporting Dr Rambaran-Olm’s brave decision to resign and her continued efforts to advocate for change from outside ISAS. We unequivocally endorse Dr Rambaran-Olm’s recommendations for the future of the field, which stem from her expertise in the field as well as her lived understanding of how racism and misogyny operate within professional organisations.

    SMFS, together with many other groups, is committed to building a capacious medieval studies, an inclusive intellectual and academic field where all persons are respected, where whiteness is not an automatic signal of elite status, and where all forms of discrimination are wholly rejected. We are committed to looking inward and acknowledging our own complicity in upholding structures of white supremacy. We resolve to ensure the safety and advancement of those among us who are the most vulnerable to combined oppressive systems of power (including race, religious or ethnic difference, gender, sexuality, class, disability, and professional or immigration status).  Intellectual communities are constantly confronted with neoliberal, white supremacist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and anti-intellectual backlash. It is even more urgent at the present moment to fight for inclusion, compassion, diversity, and the centrality of intersectional approaches to scholarship and activism. 

    During her time on the ISAS board, Dr. Rambaran-Olm pointed out a number of specific issues that needed to be addressed by that organization’s advisory council, including the urgent need for a change in the society’s name to address the harms that white supremacist communities enact by clinging to the term “Anglo-Saxon” and the historical and present racist ideologies that are intractably aligned with the term; the board’s protection of lifetime membership for a known sexual predator in the field; and the absence of a formal harassment and discrimination policy for ISAS members’ conduct both in the academy generally and at society events and conferences. Dr Rambaran-Olm has reiterated those problems since her resignation, pointing out that the advisory board for ISAS has not yet addressed these concerns despite assurances of its commitment to change in order to include and protect its most vulnerable constituents.

    As an intersectional feminist community, we deeply respect and value Dr. Rambaran-Olm’s expertise and experience. We commend her integrity and courage in continuing to advocate for change from outside of ISAS, despite the threats of bodily harm and cyberbullying she has endured since her resignation. Dr. Rambaran-Olm cogently outlines concrete steps that an organization should take to address sexual harassment, commit to anti-racist work, respect indigenous groups, and materially support graduate students and early career scholars. Dr. Rambaran-Olm provides a productive model for transforming professional structures and practices, and we advise all of organizations in the field to take note. We applaud her deep intellectual and activist commitments to transforming the profession at large.

    (Rev. 17 September, 2019)

  • Announcements

    CFPs: SMFS at the Southeastern Medieval Association 2019

    The Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship is seeking abstracts for papers to be delivered in two SMFS-sponsored sessions at the Southeastern Medieval Association Conference, which will convene in Greensboro, North Carolina November 14-16, 2019.

    Please circulate widely, and submit, or encourage others who might be interested to submit, an abstract of 300 words plus a brief bio BY JUNE 3, 2019. (Please note that the sessions are contingent upon conference organizers’ approval, although we have an excellent track record of having our sessions accepted at this conference.) DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JUNE 10!

    Contact: Melissa Ridley Elmes, MElmes@lindenwood.edu

    Session 1: Sex, Gender, and Violence on the Premodern Stage

    This session seeks 15-20 minute papers discussing any aspect of gender and violence as they relate to premodern dramatic texts and/or staging practices. We encourage papers from any discipline and/ or theoretical approach. We are particularly interested in papers examining female/women characters and violence in medieval drama, which is profoundly understudied, but will also happily consider abstracts for papers dealing with masculinities and/or queerness, and papers examining early modern drama.

    Session 2: Women and Medicine in the Medieval World

    This session seeks 15-20 minute papers on the topic of “women and medicine in the medieval world.” This subject can be construed broadly as women working in a variety of medical practices, or medical practices involving or focused on women, or the writing about and/or theoretical considerations of either, or how women and medicine are depicted in medieval literature, or research on gender and disease, or visual depictions of women and medicine/ medical practices, and similar. We encourage papers from any discipline, and are especially interested in research that engages with the subject of women and medicine, or what we might term “health sciences,” today, from a non-Western or comparative viewpoint although of course any strong proposal will be considered.