EVENT Oct 02
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Discipline and Interdisciplinarity

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Organization: Medieval and Renaissance Graduate Student Association
Categories: Graduate Conference, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, French, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Literary Theory, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2020-10-02 to 2020-10-03 Abstract Due: 2020-04-17

Interdisciplinarity is fundamentally and productively transgressive; it challenges us to reflect on the questions and forms of analysis that typically dictate field-specific thought. Interdisciplinarity, both as theory and as critical practice, is of special importance to fields within the humanities and social sciences. Dame Gillian Beer argues that interdisciplinarity fosters the transformation of ideas and the destabilisation of knowledge, and thus helps to “uncover problems disguised by the scope of established disciplines” (Open Fields 115).  However, the trend toward interdisciplinarity is also, in part, a response to the current crisis in higher education, as scholars across the curriculum work to articulate their value in the face of the neoliberalization of our institutions and “discipline” in the form of eroding budgets, increasing workloads, and the adjunctification of our faculties.


The Ohio State University’s 7th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Graduate Student Symposium, therefore, invites submissions that consider discipline and interdisciplinarity, as concept or practice, in relation to the subfields within medieval and early modern studies. This symposium asks:

·How do our individual disciplines “discipline” us?

·How do we, as scholars and critics, participate in the nature, creation, and policing of disciplinary boundaries?

·What is the role of interdisciplinarity in the periodicity and historiography of the medieval and early modern periods?

·What kinds of objects or subjects transgress disciplinary boundaries or resist a unidisciplinary approach?

·How can studying medieval and early modern interdisciplinarity help to inform the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity for us today?

·What possibilities do historical conceptions of knowledge offer us for fighting back against disciplining within academia and the culture more generally?

·How can studying the medieval and early modern worlds facilitate the social justice work that we envision as part and parcel of our scholarship? What is our responsibility, as scholars of our collective histories, to do such work?

·Other subjects of interest may include: Gender, sexuality, and queer studies; class, canon-formation, and cultural capital; race, imperialism, and the global Middle Ages/Renaissance; material cultures; theorizing the archive/library; technology and the digital humanities; cultural exchange and performance; borders and migration; and pre-modern reception in subsequent eras.


We invite submissions by graduate students from all disciplines with particular attention paid to proposals that examine the specific theme of Discipline and Interdisciplinarity. This symposium will be held Friday to Saturday, October 2-3, 2020 at OSU in Columbus, Ohio. Abstracts of no more than 250 words and panel proposals should be sent to mrgsaosu@gmail.com by Friday, April 17, 2020. All submissions should include a separate document containing the title of the paper[s] as well as a short bio (~100 words) that includes the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Please note that applicants are restricted to one abstract per person. Presenters should plan to deliver their papers in an approximately 20-minute oral presentation. No papers will be presented in absentia.



Meaghan Pachay