Session Title

Xenophobia and Border Walls: Monstrous Foreigners and Polities

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Monsters: The Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory and Practical Application (MEARCSTAPA); Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch

Organizer Name

Asa Simon Mittman; Ana Grinberg

Organizer Affiliation

California State Univ.-Chico; Auburn Univ.

Presider Name

Larissa Tracy

Presider Affiliation

Longwood Univ.

Paper Title 1

A Syrian Immigrant in Germany, AD 1220

Presenter 1 Name

Susanne Hafner

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Fordham Univ.

Paper Title 2

"They are coming over OUR walls": Fourteenth-Century Visual Reception of the 1291 Fall of Acre in Mainland French Royalist Traditions (Les grandes chroniques de France)

Presenter 2 Name

Tirumular Narayanan

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Paper Title 3

Foreign "Monsters" Becoming "Neighbors"? Dealing with English Soldiers in Occupied France

Presenter 3 Name

Aleksandra N. Pfau

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Hendrix College

Paper Title 4

Fantastic Kings and Where to Find Them: Journeys to the West and England in Mamluk Popular Literature, ca. 1500

Presenter 4 Name

Andrew W. Klein

Presenter 4 Affiliation

St. Thomas Univ.

Start Date

8-5-2020 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 2030

Description

Who is that knight, threatening “our” town walls? Why are they roaming outside, besieging “our” castle? What shall we do with all these [Jewish], [Muslim], [Saracen], [Genoese], [pilgrim] people coming to this area, “robbing us of our jobs” and taking up our lands? As Jeffrey Cohen writes, “all the familiar stereotypes about foreigners, medieval and modern, find their place here: they make too much noise, they smell bad, they eat repulsive foods, their excess is disgusting” (emphasis added). Our current political environment makes these ideas more pressing, as xenophobia runs rampant and walls are (re)built.

Medieval and early modern representations of foreigners as a threat are not that different from our own. With this in mind, MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals invite papers delving into pre- and early modern representations of contacts between cultures, races, religions, and even species from diverse disciplines and methodological approaches. Of particular interest are constructions of monstrosity in chivalric epic and romances. Asa S. Mittman

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May 8th, 10:00 AM

Xenophobia and Border Walls: Monstrous Foreigners and Polities

Fetzer 2030

Who is that knight, threatening “our” town walls? Why are they roaming outside, besieging “our” castle? What shall we do with all these [Jewish], [Muslim], [Saracen], [Genoese], [pilgrim] people coming to this area, “robbing us of our jobs” and taking up our lands? As Jeffrey Cohen writes, “all the familiar stereotypes about foreigners, medieval and modern, find their place here: they make too much noise, they smell bad, they eat repulsive foods, their excess is disgusting” (emphasis added). Our current political environment makes these ideas more pressing, as xenophobia runs rampant and walls are (re)built.

Medieval and early modern representations of foreigners as a threat are not that different from our own. With this in mind, MEARCSTAPA and Société Rencesvals invite papers delving into pre- and early modern representations of contacts between cultures, races, religions, and even species from diverse disciplines and methodological approaches. Of particular interest are constructions of monstrosity in chivalric epic and romances. Asa S. Mittman