Associate Professor, NYU Abu Dhabi

Significatio sana in corpore sano: CFP MAA 2019

CFP for panel at Medieval Academy of America 2019 Philadelphia

7-9 March 2019, University of Pennsylvania

Proposed title: Significatio sana in corpore sano: On building and using medieval corpora


The digital turn in medieval studies makes the existence of high-quality, representative digital corpora all the more important for the future of research.  This panel aims to bring together the emergence of different scales of reading with debates about the practical creation (or enrichment) of next generation corpora. When corpus analysis was associated with the field of linguistics, diversity of texts in the corpus assured geographic and temporal coverage for the study of dialect or language change. With the spread of corpus-level reading to other fields such as literary studies or history, what characteristics must a corpus have to be considered representative? and what new forms of corpus-level reading are emerging in medieval studies?


Panel contributions might consider any combination of the following questions:

-What do corpora leave out of interest to the medievalist? How might we address such deficiencies at scale?
-How can editorial standards for medieval texts be scaled up?
-How do legacy or pay-walled corpora inform the building of new, open corpora?
-How do we balance openness of corpora with the desire to be inclusive of more recent work in copyrighted editions?
-How can a corpus be said to produce meaning?
-Does a focus on corpora run the risk of making our studies of the medieval world more monolingual? How might monolingual corpora be constructed to represent a global middle ages?
-Should corpora for medieval languages be different from those built for classical languages?
-What forms of global collaboration go into the building of a corpus?
-How do we manage (and acknowledge) the labor of building corpora?
-How do open corpora (OpenITI, OpenMedFr, ANR VELUM, ALIM, Digital Library of Old Spanish Texts, ANOH, …) change scholarship in medieval studies?

All languages, fields and sizes of corpora are welcome. Papers will be 20 minutes. To submit an abstract for the panel you do not need to be a member of the Medieval Academy of America, but to present your paper at the conference you must become a member.  Special consideration will be given to individuals whose field would not traditionally involve membership in the Medieval Academy.

Please send an abstract of +/- 200 words in English along with contact details, by 1 May 2018 to djw12 (at) nyu (dot) edu.  Decisions by 15 May 2018 for the panel proposal.  MAA decision on the panel by 10 September 2018.

For more information about the meeting, see the full CFP here.

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