Session Title

Premodern Futurities: Speculative Objects and Prognostication in the Medieval World

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Carly B. Boxer, Jack Dragu, Luke Fidler

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago, Univ. of Chicago, Univ. of Chicago

Presider Name

Carly B. Boxer, Jack Dragu, Luke Fidler

Paper Title 1

Historical Fiction or Prose Fantasy? Arthurian Fantasies of Tomorrow

Presenter 1 Name

Joseph Derosier

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Northwestern Univ.

Paper Title 2

Timekeeping in the Cloister: Teleologies of Sculpture and Water Clocks

Presenter 2 Name

Matthew J. Westerby

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Paper Title 3

Material Temporalities of Earth and Stone

Presenter 3 Name

Laura Veneskey

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Wake Forest Univ.

Paper Title 5

The Shape of Reform

Presenter 5 Name

Katherine C. Little

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Univ. of Colorado-Boulder

Paper Title 6

Respondent

Presenter 6 Name

Roland Betancourt

Presenter 6 Affiliation

Institute for Advanced Study/Univ. of California-Irvine

Paper Title 7

Respondent

Presenter 7 Name

Anne F. Harris

Presenter 7 Affiliation

DePauw Univ.

Start Date

14-5-2017 10:30 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 209

Description

Interpreting the medieval arts entails setting in motion forms of anachronism; within the arts we see complex negotiations of temporality, which themselves pose significant challenges to our understanding of historical objects. Scholars have been both resistant to and complicit in these forms, a challenge of historicism having been, to a greater or lesser extent, to unlearn certain histories in order to “restore” the contingency of a specific historical moment. For, indeed, medieval people theorized futures of their own. They refined procedures of prognostication and speculation, and, significantly, crafted aesthetic objects that imagined divergent futurities. In light of recent scholarship that has theorized modernity with and against the postmedieval notion of “the medieval” -- whether by treating it as a resource to speculate upon own present historical moment or for troubling modern historical teleologies -- this session will address both medieval theorizations of possible futures and the ways that medievalists might draw on those futures as we frame new directions for medieval studies.

Jack H. Dragu

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May 14th, 10:30 AM

Premodern Futurities: Speculative Objects and Prognostication in the Medieval World

Bernhard 209

Interpreting the medieval arts entails setting in motion forms of anachronism; within the arts we see complex negotiations of temporality, which themselves pose significant challenges to our understanding of historical objects. Scholars have been both resistant to and complicit in these forms, a challenge of historicism having been, to a greater or lesser extent, to unlearn certain histories in order to “restore” the contingency of a specific historical moment. For, indeed, medieval people theorized futures of their own. They refined procedures of prognostication and speculation, and, significantly, crafted aesthetic objects that imagined divergent futurities. In light of recent scholarship that has theorized modernity with and against the postmedieval notion of “the medieval” -- whether by treating it as a resource to speculate upon own present historical moment or for troubling modern historical teleologies -- this session will address both medieval theorizations of possible futures and the ways that medievalists might draw on those futures as we frame new directions for medieval studies.

Jack H. Dragu