Animal and Natural Worlds, c.500 to 1750 (Conference, 3rd July)

Last-minute places are still available for this free symposium on medieval and early modern ecologies, which takes place tomorrow, 3rd July, at Palace Green Library

Building on the work of Durham’s Ecologies and the Arts research cluster, the aim of this event is to provide a forum for discussion and exchange for scholars of these periods working in the growing fields of ecocriticism and animal studies. These fields espouse the importance of engaging with the study of animal and natural worlds in a way that moves beyond a human-centred focus. Turning such a critical lens to the historical periods of this symposium is both a challenge and an exciting opportunity to uncover new information about marginalised landscapes and their inhabitants. Eight speakers from a range of disciplinary backgrounds will join keynote speaker, Gillian Rudd (University of Liverpool), in presenting their research to an international and interdisciplinary audience.


9:30-10:00   Registration and Coffee

10:00-11:00   Session 1 (Chair: Sarah Semple, Durham University)

  • Curtis Runstedler (Durham University) – ‘Lupine Realities of the Werewolf in William of Palerne
  • Aleks Pluskowski (University of Reading) – ‘Lupus: The Idea and Reality of Wolves in Medieval Europe’

11:00-11:30   Coffee Break

11:30-1:00   Session 2 (Chair: Megan Cavell, Durham University)

  • Timothy J. S. Bourns (University of Oxford) – ‘Animal Fylgjur in the Medieval Icelandic Sagas: Literary Motif or Cultural Belief?’
  • Heide Estes (Monmouth University) – ‘Riddling Storms and Anglo-Saxon Humans’
  • Tom White (Birkbeck, University of London) – ‘Written in Trees’

1:00-2:00   Lunch

2:00-3:00   Session 3 (Chair: Corinne Saunders, Durham University)

  • Keynote Speaker: Gillian Rudd (University of Liverpool) – ‘Animals and Natural Worlds: Why the “and”?’

3:00-3:30   Coffee Break

3:30-5:00   Session 4 (Chair: Alex Brown, Durham University)

  • Susan Kilby (University of Leicester) – ‘Scientific Fields? Medieval Peasants, Sustainable Farming and Elemental Theory’
  • Adrian Green (Durham University) – ‘Humans and Other Creatures Seeking Comfort: Dwelling Habits in England Between 1450 and 1750’
  • Louisa Mackenzie (University of Washington) – ‘Thinking Animals Before Derrida: Montaigne’s Cat’

5:00-6:00   Reception in the Courtyard Café

7:00   Dinner


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