Coming Attractions

Posted by sepoy on April 12, 2009 · 3 mins read

Gentle readers, I wanted to let you all know about two forthcoming presentations. It would be great if you all could come and cheered me widely, before, during and after my presentations. In fact, I would appreciate a solid wall of sound drowning out every word I utter. That would be helpful.

At the Reconsidering American Power conference in Chicago, April 23-25th, 2009. I am on a very interesting panel. My abstract:

Locating Pakistan in South Asian Studies: A View from the US Academy
This paper will provide a brief overview of scholarship on Pakistan produced within the US Academy from 1955-2005. Taking the Area Studies paradigm as the locus, I will examine the ways in which Pakistan has remained modernity's other - whether during the stolid Cold War era or the tumultuous War on Terror. The "construction" of Pakistan within the Security or Developmental Studies paradigms as a "failed state" is now a hegemonic account that offers no relief. I will showcase the ways in which this construction was aided by US governments throughout the 50 year period and how it continues to inform the forthcoming policies of the Obama administration.

At the 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies, held in Kalamazoo, MI, on May 7-10, 2009. I am on a roundtable, Medieval across Time and Space:

These panels address intersections between medieval scholarship and popular understandings of the Middle Ages. The boundaries of the Middle Ages have always been rather fuzzy and they are progressively becoming more so. In addition to traditional challenges from classicists and early modernists, many colleges and universities have recently been changing their curricula to include World History and non-western fields. This gives medievalists of all stripes the opportunity to see the Middle Ages in ways that challenge a purely Eurocentric definition of what "medieval" is. At the same time, those outside of the academy are privy to myriad interpretations and re-interpretations of the medieval in media including (but not limited to) video games, blogs, architecture, popular literature, and film. And especially since 9/11, we must include journalism as well. Medievalists are called upon to comment and correct these interpretations at a time when their own understandings of what makes the Middle Ages are themselves being challenged.

We see these developments not only as challenges, but also as opportunities to engage with our colleagues, our students, and the wider community in new and interesting ways. Thus, a roundtable, recognizing the vast number of topics that could be discussed, is not constrained by the panel's expertise. Instead, the format allows the discussants to start new dialogues with the audience.

This second one, I am especially keen on since it will be a chance to hang with friends and soak in the legendary conference (never been).


Another Damned Medievalist | April 12, 2009

I am also looking forward to the panel! And the chance to hang out and ... did we mention the dance? And the wine hours?

Jonathan Dresner | April 12, 2009

Very cool stuff. Much more interesting than what I'm contemplating for ASPAC....

nbz | April 12, 2009

Looking forward to more details on the second presentation. Maybe a podcast for the virtual audience.

elizabeth | April 12, 2009

Very much wish I could listen in on (parts I and II of) the former, and I'm told those medievalists know how to get down. Have fun.

Andrew R. | April 14, 2009

Depending on how closely you adhere to the obligations of your ancestral faith, I highly recommend the University of Bristol's open bar--they definitely have the best quality drinks at the conference. If I don't make your panel, I have a question--are you going to address that the field of medieval studies has for decades been making exploratory pokes towards more thoroughly integrating the study of Islamdom? It seems that this has never really caught on in a big way because it's hard enough to have to learn Latin, German, French, Italian, and various medieval vernaculars without also throwing Persian and Classical Arabic into the mix.

sepoy | April 14, 2009

University of Bristol's Open Bar: Noted. The question is a great one, and I hope we have discussion on that. It's a roundtable so, do come and raise it.

Andrew R. | April 14, 2009

And having checked the program, it turns out that I won't be able to make your panel, since I'm giving a talk at the same time. I'll be interested in reading whatever sort of write-up you post on CM.