Announcements and Statements

CFP for ICMS 2023, “Mutual Aid and the Middle Ages”

Please consider submitting a proposal to this SMFS-sponsored virtual paper session at ICMS 2023! And circulate widely! Proposals due Sept. 15 via the Confex portal. Please reach out to Abby Ang with any questions (

The COVID-19 pandemic instigated a burst of mutual aid activity across the globe, inspired partly by Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902). Kropotkin draws from a variety of sources, including biological sciences, sociology, and history, to argue that horizontal cooperation, rather than competition, is what has allowed various species to survive and even thrive. He describes the guilds and unions of the later Middle Ages as sites where mutual aid thrived. 120 years after the publication of Mutual Aid, this paper panel considers how works of the Middle Ages might have explored cooperation, responsibility, and solidarity across experiences of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and class–and how such care may remain urgent and crucial today. Papers that discuss how mutual aid practice (community organizing and volunteering) informs scholarship are especially welcome.