arco Annual Symposium
The Building Blocks of France
March 26-27, 2010
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The 2010 Marco Symposium, co-organized by Jay Rubenstein (History), Katherine Kong (Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures), Rachel Golden (Musicology), and Joshua Westgard (Marco Institute), and sponsored jointly by the Marco Institute, the Cultural Attractions Committee, the Department of History, the Hodges Better English Fund, the Humanities Initiative, the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Ready for the World Initiative, the School of Music, and the Department of Religious Studies, will take place March 26-27 at the Baker Center for Public Policy on the University of Tennessee campus. This interdisciplinary academic symposium will bring together a group of renowned scholars to explore some of the historical, literary, and cultural components that together in the Middle Ages led to the construction of the identity and the nation of France.
The participants (in alphabetical order) include:
- Dominique Barthélemy (L’université de Paris-IV Sorbonne)
- R. Howard Bloch (Yale University)
- Elizabeth A. R. Brown (Brooklyn College, CUNY)
- Daisy Delogu (University of Chicago)
- Emma Dillon (University of Pennsylvania)
- Sharon Farmer (University of California, Santa Barbara)
- Jason Glenn (University of Southern California)
- John S. Ott (Portland State University)
- Stephen G. Perkinson (Bowdoin College)
- Alison Stones (University of Pittsburgh)
These scholars, along with conference participants, will seek to define how medieval rulers, thinkers, and artists crafted French culture and French governments. They will consider how the medieval legacy continues to shape French identity in the modern world. In so doing, the symposium participants will address the problem of how political and cultural movements interact more broadly in the process of creating national identity.
The story of the construction of France (of "France in the Making," as the popular book by Jean Dunbabin frames it) is one of the most oft-told in western European medieval studies. It is a unique tale of a Carolingian realm shattered into hundreds of petty lordships in the tenth century then transformed into the most powerful kingdom in Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. It is also the template for the fashioning of national identities against which all other western medieval nations have been measured. Scholars have begun to question some of the key elements of this narrative, but it remains the dominant model in the study of French government and society in the High Middle Ages.
This symposium endeavors to explore new avenues of inquiry in the study of medieval France, not through an examination of the grand structure of the French nation, but through a focus on the individual components of this edifice, the building blocks of France: the poem that first enunciated the idea of France as a society of three orders (those who pray, those who fight, and those who work), the culture of chivalry, the art of the troubadour, the illuminated books of hours, the impact of trade and economic growth, and the craft of kingship.
Each presenter will appear on one of five two-person panels, with presentations to last half an hour each, and half an hour set aside for discussion. The symposium will conclude with a round table in which participants, drawing on their expertise in fields ranging from history to literature to musicology and art history, will reflect upon how these various building blocks might in fact together compose a coherent structure, and how they continue to influence contemporary notions of France, French identity and nation.
Temple Court, Room 208
804 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-4333
Phone: (865) 974-1859
Fax: (865) 974-3915