Call for Papers: Lives in the Archives/Archival Lives (Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, April 5-6 2024)

I am organizing a series of panels for the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium centered on ‘Archives/Archival Lives’. Here is the call for proposals:

Archival research has always been a cornerstone of medieval studies, but recent work has  reinvigorated the field by transforming our understanding of the lives of late-medieval authors  and people alike. The discovery of new evidence in the case of Cecily Chaumpaigne and  Geoffrey Chaucer, contentious debates around identifying “Chaucer’s Scribe” Adam Pinkhurst  and recovery of figures such as Eleanor Rykener and the rebels of 1381 all demonstrate how  archival research enriches our understanding of the medieval past. This thread invites  contributions that foster new understandings of lives in the archives and bring a theoretical eye to  the practice of archival research itself. Proposals might address new microhistories of medieval  figures; the need for what Saidiya Hartman names “critical fabulation” to address archival  silences and erasures; the colonial and imperialist history of institutions such as the National Archives; the archival lives of poets such as Thomas Hoccleve and John Lydgate; medieval  manuscripts as technologies of the archive; the limits of empirical history as an analytic for  literary history; and theorizations of archival “discovery” as a colonial epistemology.

This thread will consist of a series of panels. You can choose to submit a paper or a pre-organized panel. Each panel will have a faculty respondent. 


Proposals for papers can touch upon any aspect of the general theme, and we encourage proposals from medievalists of any discipline and any geographic area. Scholars can apply to the general call, or to specific sub-themes. We accept proposals from anyone with a Ph.D. or who is in the process of gaining a doctorate. Abstracts should be submitted by November 1, 2023.


We also invite participants to submit whole panels of papers, that is, a pre-organized panel. Professional organizations often submit panels from among their membership, but individual are also invited to do the same. To submit a full panel, you need to send a description of the panel, a CV and abstract for the papers you would like to include, and suggestions for possible respondents. Panel proposals are due November 1, 2023.

More information here: