INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON MEDIEVAL STUDIES, KALAMAZOO, MAY 10-13, 2018
The 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies takes place on the campus of Western Michigan University on May 10 to 13, 2018.
The congress features around 575 sessions of papers, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops and performances. There are also some 100 business meetings and receptions sponsored by learned societies, associations and institutions. The exhibits hall boasts nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers and purveyors of medieval sundries. The congress lasts three and a half days, extending from Thursday morning, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m., until Sunday at noon.
The Congress Academic Program: An Explanation of the Role of the Congress Committee
It is a principle of the International Congress on Medieval Studies that the academic program aims to be as diverse and inclusive as possible. In order to achieve this desideratum, the Medieval Institute has a Congress Committee whose composition is and has been mutable and confidential, mutable because of fluctuations in demands during the 15-month process of organizing each Congress and confidential in order to maintain fairness and consistency, as well as to shield these unremunerated scholars from work beyond that for which they have volunteered (e.g., fielding individually directed petitions, questions, and complaints). The job of the Congress Committee is (1) to evaluate session proposals for Sponsored and Special Sessions and paper proposals for General Sessions and (2) to establish Congress academic policy, the latter often in consultation with the Board of the Medieval Institute.
Vetting proposals for Sponsored and Special Sessions (in June) is a complicated and difficult task because of the sheer number of proposals submitted and the committee’s desire to be inclusive. The number of sessions is finite due to constraints of space and A/V requirements. 1 Within these limitations, the committee takes into consideration:
• the intellectual justifications offered for individual sessions (of paramount importance)
• the balance of topics addressed
• the balance of sessions of various formats
• apparent redundancies among proposed sessions
While there have never been quotas on numbers of sessions permitted to be sponsored and/or co-sponsored by a given organization,