International Medieval Congress 2017 Call for Papers
‘Others’ can be found everywhere: outside one’s own community (from foreigners to non-human monsters) and inside it (for example, religious and social minorities, or individual newcomers in towns, villages, or at court). One could encounter the ‘Others’ while travelling, in writing, reading and thinking about them, by assessing and judging them, by ‘feelings’ ranging from curiosity to contempt, and behaviour towards them which, in turn, can lead to integration or exclusion, friendship or hostility, and support or persecution.
The demarcation of the ‘Self’ from ‘Others’ applies to all areas of life, to concepts of thinking and mentalité as well as to social ‘reality’, social intercourse and transmission of knowledge and opinions. Forms and concepts of the ‘Other’, and attitudes towards ‘Others’, imply and reveal concepts of ‘Self’, self-awareness and identity, whether expressed explicitly or implicitly. There is no ‘Other’ without ‘Self’. A classification as ‘Others’ results from a comparison with oneself and one’s own identity groups. Thus, attitudes towards ‘Others’ oscillate between admiring and detesting, and invite questioning into when the ‘Other’ becomes the ‘Strange’.
The aim of the IMC is to cover the entire spectrum of ‘Otherness’ through multi-disciplinary approaches, on a geographical, ethnic, political, social, legal, intellectual and even personal level, to analyse sources from all genres, areas, and regions.
Possible entities to research for ‘Otherness’ could include (but are not limited to):
• Peoples, kingdoms, languages, towns, villages, migrants, refugees, bishoprics, trades, guilds, or seigneurial systems
• Faiths and religions, religious groups (including deviation from the ‘true’ faith) and religious orders
• Different social classes, minorities, or marginal groups
• The spectrum from ‘Strange’ to ‘Familiar’
• Individuals or ‘strangers’ of any kind, newcomers as well as people exhibiting strange behaviour
• Otherness related to art, music, liturgical practices, or forms of worship
• Any further specific determinations of ‘alterity’
Methodologies and Approaches to ‘Otherness’ (not necessarily distinct, but overlapping) could include:
• Definitions, concepts, and constructions of ‘Otherness’
• Indicators of, criteria and reasons for demarcation
• Relation(s) between ‘Otherness’ and concepts of ‘Self’
• Communication, encounters, and social intercourse with ‘Others’ (in embassies, travels, writings, quarrels, conflicts, and persecution)
• Knowledge, perception, and assessment of the ‘Others’
• Attitudes and behaviour towards ‘Others’
• Deviation from any ‘norms’ of life and thought (from the superficial to the fundamental)
• Gender and transgender perspectives
• Co-existence and segregation
• Methodological problems when inquiring into ‘Otherness’
• The Middle Ages as the ‘Other’ compared with contemporary times (‘Othering’ the Middle Ages).