The International Association for Robin Hood Studies is proposing two sessions for next year's Leeds, whose conference theme is "Food, Feast, and Famine."
Leeds will only consider fully formed sessions. Please send 300-word abstracts for either proposed session by 15 September 2015 to Lesley A. Coote (L.A.Coote@hull.ac.uk) AND Kristin Bovaird-Abbo (Kristin.BovairdAbbo@unco.edu).
"Food and Feast in Medieval Outlaw Texts"
The romances of medieval England are full of scenes of feasting and eating. Food, its preparation, and its consumption are present as central points of human interaction, community, and fellowship, providing opportunities to examine and analyze agricultural and mercantile practices as well as trade, economics, and the social standing of its producers and consumers; and feast scenes perform a wide variety of functions, serving as a cultural repository of manners and behaviors, a catalyst for the adventure, a “cute-meet” for the lovers, a moment of regrouping and redirecting the narrative, a testing ground for the chivalric and courteous skills of the attendees, an occasion on which some important revelation is made, and a culminating moment of narrative resolution, for instance. But what about in medieval outlaw tales? How important are food and feasting in the tales of Robin Hood, Gamelyn, Hereward the Wake, Eustache the Monk, and Fouke le Fitz Waryn, for example? This session will consider the presence and function of food and feast in medieval outlaw tales, with an eye to considering whether and how instances of food preparation and eating in these tales can be said to display, to develop, or to subvert the conventional ideas of community and fellowship most commonly associated with foods and feasts in secular medieval literature.
At an ICMS session in 2015, a panel posed the question "What Can Medieval Studies Bring to Ecocriticism?" Although the responses were diverse, none touched on the specific subgenre of outlaw literature, and this absence is reflected in much of the published ecocriticism scholarship. This panel seeks to initiate conversations about ecocritical issues in various outlaw tales, including but not limited to Robin Hood, Gamelyn, Fouke Fitz Waryn, and Án Bow-Bender. Given the liminal spaces which these tales occupy, as well as their frequent movements from greenwood into urban spaces, these tales are rich for ecological study. What do these stories reveal about medieval forest practices or perspectives towards animals (and their relationships and/or kinships to humans)? To what extent do these tales critique medieval ecological beliefs or offer alternative perspectives (that is, do they reveal a plurality of attitudes towards nature co-existing during the medieval period)? Given that Rebecca Douglass, in “Ecocriticism and Middle English Literature,” argues that “[E]cocriticism is . . . informed by a desire to understand past and present connections between literature and human attitudes regarding the earth,” what does the study of medieval outlaw tales offer to ecocritical studies? This panel welcomes a variety of approaches, including ecofeminist perspectives, cultural ecology, deep ecology, animal studies, ecolinguistics, and other innovative approaches.