The New England Medieval Studies Consortium will hold its annual conference at the University of Connecticut on Friday, April 14, 2017. Our theme for this year’s conference is “Medieval Boredom and Tedium.” Since the Middle Ages spanned so many years, roughly from 500-1500, it is difficult to organize and conceptualize the passage of time. Often as we work through medieval history, we collapse or expand time in ways that bring together or separate moments that occur in chronologically disparate contexts. For this reason scholarship frequently focuses on the way that medieval individuals filled their time with reading, writing, laboring, praying, etc.
However, little attention is given to those spaces of “emptiness” when medieval individuals and communities are between activities. This conference seeks to address depictions of boredom in broad contexts, ranging from historical, material, textual, and linguistic perspectives. Through these discussions, we hope to create a more holistic picture of medieval life and how medieval individuals interacted with and conceptualized ideas of time and temporality.