Looking Ahead: Global Encounters in the North Atlantic, ca. 350–1300
A special dossier in Viator. Co-edited by Nahir Otaño Gracia, Nicole Lopez-Jantzen, and Erica Weaver
In the last few years, several urgent interventions have begun to reshape medieval studies as a more capacious and inclusive field. Scholars such as Geraldine Heng, Monica Green, and Michael Gomez have expanded our understanding of the multifaceted interactions between and among Africa, Asia, Europe, and elsewhere, while Adam Miyashiro and Mary Rambaran-Olm have urged us to reassess the North Atlantic in particular. Traditionally, scholars have tended to work within national borders or to focus on how North Atlantic cultures changed the rest of the globe rather than how they were themselves changed by global interactions, with drastic consequences for our field––especially for our earliest periods.
In order to continue these important conversations and to expand what our scholarship can look like going forward, this special essay cluster seeks to provide a platform for early-career scholars to propose new critical directions for the study of the early medieval North Atlantic, broadly encompassing ca. 350–1300. We thus invite short, rigorous interventions (2000–3500 words each), in the model of the popular conference genre of “lightning talks.” In particular, we seek imaginative new work that expands the contours of early medieval studies and challenges, or transgresses, its standard disciplinary, temporal, and linguistic boundaries. Following the example set by the IONA: Islands of the North Atlantic conferences, we reject the unproductive disciplinary divides that have separated the study of England, Wales, Ireland, Francia, Scandinavia, the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, and even the Mediterranean both from each other and from points further afield along the Atlantic rim and beyond. We also aim to break down the divisions that have artificially separated Late Antiquity and the early and high Middle Ages. We are intentionally leaving this call for papers very broad, because we come from the perspective that the global does not exclude the local, and vice-versa. Moreover, the insular can be archipelagic. We welcome essays that bring together North Atlantic and Mediterranean Studies, or that read what has been seen as national literature from a transnational perspective.
In the spirit of emerging from our own linguistic silos and in Viator’s usual practice, we thus welcome work from scholars writing in English, Spanish, and French. Additionally, we particularly invite work from graduate students, postdocs, independent scholars, and members of the precariat as well as contributions that are explicitly feminist, queer, anti-racist, and decolonial. We would like to be as inclusive as possible, so please contact us if you have any questions.
Short abstracts of around 200 words are due by December 2 to ViatorIssue@gmail.com, with essays to be submitted by January 15.