SMFS By-Laws

Amended and approved by the SMFS Membership
September 2010

The Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS) is dedicated to the study of the Patristic Age, the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era from the perspective of gender studies, women’s studies, and feminist studies. It actively promotes and supports interdisciplinary exchanges at all levels of higher education across the world. Members represent every continent and every academic discipline within the arts and humanities.

Membership in the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship is open to all those who are interested in feminist issues in medieval and Renaissance studies. Members pay annual dues and receive twice yearly a copy of the Society’s journal, The Medieval Feminist Forum (MFF).

Annual Business Meeting
The annual business meeting of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship is held in the spring of each year at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. All members of the society are cordially invited to attend.

Four officers (the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer/Membership Coordinator), the General Editor, and the Managing Editor of the Medieval Feminist Forum make up the Executive Committee of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship. All office terms begin January 1 and end December 31.

The President serves one two-year term. In addition to looking to the overall health, growth, and responsiveness of the organization, the President is in charge of the Advisory Board meeting and general business meeting held annually at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI). S/he also chairs the SMFS Book/Article prize committee.

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. S/he serves for one twoyear term and succeeds the President. S/he assists the President with her/his duties and also serves ex officio on the Book/Article prize committee.

The Secretary is chosen in alternate years from the Vice President from among currently serving members of the Board. S/he serves a two-year (renewable) term. The Secretary is in charge of taking minutes at the Society’s Advisory Board and Business meetings and of organizing sessions sponsored by SMFS at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo). The Secretary also is responsible for distributing announcements and news about SMFS and for serving as the Coordinator of Conference Liaisons.

The Treasurer/Membership Coordinator is elected by the general membership of the Society for a five-year term. As Treasurer, this officer is responsible for collecting dues, paying bills and fees, and processing all costs associated with the MFF and SMFS administration. It is expected that s/he will hold the treasury in an academic institution, through which the Society will have non-profit status. The Treasurer reports on the Society’s finances at the Society’s annual meeting. As Membership Coordinator s/he will maintain a membership information database and be responsible for compiling information on the membership’s teaching and research areas. The Membership Coordinator will report directly to the President and Vice President on a regular basis and will provide annually a detailed report of membership to the Advisory Board at the annual business meeting.

The Managing Editor of the Society’s journal Medieval Feminist Forum is appointed by the Advisory Board for a five-year term. S/he is responsible for the day-to-day management of the physical production of the journal, which includes coordinating with the General Editor and the Associate Editors on each issue, as well as the production staff. In addition, s/he chairs the Information Technology Committee and is responsible for the oversight of the website of the Society and of the website where the journal is published and archived. As Chair of the IT Committee, she oversees the running of the Ad Board listserv and medfem-l (an unmoderated listserv), and explores opportunities for developing the SMFS/MFF cyberpresence.

Advisory Board
The Advisory Board consists of all SMFS officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer/Membership Coordinator, and MFF Managing Editor), two current editors of MFF, the Society Bibliographer/Book Review Editor, one founding mother,1 and twelve elected representatives of the Society. Three of those twelve will be currently enrolled graduate students at the time of election. The Board should represent a variety of academic disciplines and will ideally reflect the varied national and professional backgrounds of the Society’s membership. Board members are nominated by the general membership, the Advisory Board, or by the Election Coordinator, elected through a mail ballot, and serve staggered three-year terms. Board members advise the officers and the editors on matters of submissions, issues, and policy, and may take on various other tasks as agreed upon by the Advisory Board and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee and the Advisory Board meet together annually in the spring of each year at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Advisory Board members also contribute to the running of the Society via e-mail discussions throughout the year.

The Election Coordinator is selected from among currently serving Advisory Board members (excluding the Graduate Representatives) who have served as least one year of their term. S/he serves a two-year term and is responsible for putting together a slate of candidates for any open positions among the Officers or Advisory Board. S/he will also manage the elections, which must be completed by 15 November of each year. Should a vacancy occur in the Advisory Board, the Election Coordinator provides the results of the previous election to the Advisory Board for review. Upon the approval of the Advisory Board, the President shall invite the top vote-receiving candidate to fill the vacant position.

The Information Technology Committee is chaired by the Managing Editor, and the IT Committee is chosen from among current Board members and advises the Advisory Board on all matters related to the website, the Ad Board listserv, medfem-l (an unmoderated listserv), and other cyberpresence venues. The Secretary serves on the IT committee, as the person responsible for disseminating announcements and news.

Conference Liaisons are chosen from among current Advisory Board members and represent SMFS at various conference venues with which SMFS has a direct affiliation (including the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, the Medieval Academy of America, the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, and the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies). Conference Liaisons work closely with the Secretary to coordinate sessions sponsored by SMFS at these conferences and to organize receptions for members at the various conference sites.

The Mentoring Coordinator or Committee is chosen from among current Board members and is responsible for running the SMFS Mentoring Program, which matches senior and junior scholars together to discuss issues of professional development.

The Book Review Editor/Bibliographer is selected according to the criteria laid out in the section on MFF Governance below. The Book Review Editor/Bibliographer is responsible for finding appropriate reviewers for books received by MFF as well as for compiling current bibliographies of feminist medievalist works that coincide with publication of MFF issues.

Medieval Feminist Forum Governance Structure The Medieval Feminist Forum (MFF), formerly Medieval Feminist Newsletter (MFN), is the journal of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship. It is published twice annually. MFF has one General Editor and three Associate Editors, all elected from the membership of the Advisory Board; a Managing Editor, appointed by the Executive Committee and Advisory Board, a faculty member at the institution that produces and distributes MFF; and a Book Review Editor, also appointed by the Executive Committee and Advisory Board. The General and Associate Editors serve four-year terms; the Managing Editor and the Book Review Editor serve five-year renewable terms. The General Editor is responsible, in consultation with the other editors, for gathering and editing copy for two issues, as well as for setting (a) special topic(s) for the issues, if so desired. Each year the Advisory Board elects one new Associate Editor, and the longest-ranking Associate Editor becomes the General Editor. MFF is housed at the Managing Editor’s institution. The Managing Editor is responsible for all day-to-day operations involving MFF subscriptions, production, and distribution, which necessarily encompass aspects of SMFS administration. Procedural policies are determined by the Managing Editor in consultation with the other Editors and, if necessary, the Executive Committee and Advisory Board.

Additions and amendments to these by-laws shall be approved by the Advisory Board at the
annual business meeting and presented to the current membership of the Society for ratification
by vote. A simple majority will ratify an amendment.

Amendments to the By-Laws

1 These are the four scholars who founded what was initially called the Medieval Feminist Newsletter in 1986: E. Jane Burns, Professor of Women’s Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, NC; Thelma S. Fenster, Professor Emerita of Romance Languages, Fordham University, NY; Roberta L. Krueger, Professor of French, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; and Elizabeth Robertson, Professor of English, University of Glasgow, UK.

Roberta’s Rules of Order

  1. The group aims to focus on one topic at a time.  Other related topics may naturally arise, but to the extent possible, these should be tabled until the first topic is concluded.  Common sense should be sufficient to decide whether or not related topics can be reasonably tabled while the first topic is discussed and concluded.
  2. No one speaks a second time until all others wishing to speak have had a chance to speak once.  [This guideline will be waived if the group acknowledges that someone should have more interventions for a valid reason, e.g. they know more about the topic.]
  3. Before something is brought to a vote for a decision, there should be a slight pause to see if anyone else needs to speak to the issue.  This is important especially to allow minority opinions, or opinions that have for some reason not been voiced, to be heard.
  4. It is everyone’s responsibility to see that the above guidelines are followed, and that minority or more “quiet” voices are given a chance to speak.
  5. In addition, there should be an appointed “tracker” whose job it is to be especially alert to the above, and to call the group’s attention to the guidelines when they are being ignored to.