NEMSC 2017 Medieval Boredom and Tedium

When: April 14, 2017

Where: University of Connecticut

Deadline: February 15


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.

We are looking for abstracts that broadly interpret boredom and tedium. Some possible areas of interest include but are not limited to:

§ States of boredom, apathy, ennui, weariness, and tedium

§ Marginalia and doodling in manuscripts

§ Artistic representations of emptiness

§ Expressions of boredom across literary genres

§ Medieval daily life and the day-to-day

§ Gendered experiences with the passing of time

§ Religious & devotional intersections with tedium

§ Affective & emotional experience of boredom

§ Historical intersections of time passing

§ Consolation & coping

We welcome papers across period and discipline. This conference seeks papers on any topic,

academic field, critical method, or culture that bear on medieval understanding, representation, and

reimagining of medieval boredom, tedium, and the passing of time. In addition to studies on

particular texts, art, artifacts, or cultures, we also welcome papers that examine boring methods and


Papers should be no longer than twenty minutes in length. Abstracts of 300 words should be

submitted to with the subject line “CFP Medieval Boredom and

Tedium.” Again, the extended deadline for abstracts is February 15th, 2017.

Graduate students whose abstracts are selected for the conference will have the opportunity to

submit full papers for consideration for the Alison Goddard Elliott Award.