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Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed, November 15, 2017

Read my op-ed about how the proposed tax bill would limit access to graduate education, especially for those students who are not independently wealthy.

Opinion: Only wealthy can afford grad school under House tax plan up for vote today

Jenny C. Bledsoe is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in English at Emory University, specializing in medieval literature. She was featured in a New York Times story last week that examined how the GOP House tax plan would impact a range of American students.

Kalamazoo 2018: Session announcement

With Ashley J. Laverock (Savannah College of Art and Design), I have organized a special session on interdisciplinary approaches to the hagiographies of St Margaret of Antioch for the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo.

Multi-faceted Margarets: Textual and Visual Hagiographies of Saint Margaret of Antioch
“The Earliest Cult of Saint Margaret of Antioch in Hungary”
Dorottya Uhrin, Eötvös Loránd University

“Multiple Marinas, Confusing Iconographies: Saint Marina the Monk and Saint Marina of Antioch in Thirteenth- to Sixteenth-Century Italy and Spain”
Andrea-Bianka Znorovszky, Trivent Publishing

“Critical Fiction: Reading Seinte Marherete through Robyn Cadwallader’s The Anchoress
Karen A. Winstead, Ohio State University

Kalamazoo 2017: Session announcement

Our roundtable was recently approved by the programming committee of the 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies. The roundtable, “Saintly Bodies,” will feature six short papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Read our proposal, check out our exciting line-up of speakers, and mark your calendars for Kalamazoo!

Saintly Bodies: Materiality, Manuscripts, Movement
Organizers: Jenny C. Bledsoe (Emory University) and Lynneth Miller (Baylor University)

As works such as Caroline Walker Bynum’s Christian Materiality have demonstrated, the relationship between materiality and spiritual practice is often one fraught with complications and seeming contradictions. The tension between decaying material objects such as bodies, manuscripts, or relics highlights the discrepancy between the spiritual ideas these objects represent and the reality of the corruptibility inherent to all material objects.  When the material body in question is one gendered female, the relationship becomes even more complex.

This panel, “Saintly Bodies: Materiality, Manuscripts, Movement,” seeks to further explore the relationship between female bodies, material objects, and spiritual discourse and practice. How does gender affect the relationship between material objects such as bodies, manuscripts, and relics and the spiritual ideas tied to or communicated through these objects? What can a gendered approach to studies of materiality reveal about medieval literature, history, and religion?

This panel will take a multidisciplinary approach to these questions, drawing on manifold methodologies in order to address these questions as fully as possible. Our presenters represent a variety of professional levels (associate and assistant professors and PhD candidates and students) and address the topic from different disciplines (art history, history, and literature), periods (from Anglo-Saxon hagiography to the present-day reception of a medieval Liègeois holy woman), and regions (England, Italy, the low countries). We have chosen a six-person roundtable format for our panel in order to facilitate cross-disciplinary exchange and productive audience-engaging discussion following six seven-minute papers.

“Translated Bodies and Traveling Souls: Movement in Anglo-Saxon Hagiography”
Rebecca Straple, Western Michigan University

“Sacrilegious ‘Relics’: Female Bodies in the Tale of the Cursed Dancing Carolers”
Lynneth Miller, Baylor University

“Reworking Relics: Painting the Teodolinda Chapel in Monza”
Laura Maria Somenzi, Emory University

“The Lives and Afterlives of Holy Women: Medieval Spirituality and Seventeenth-Century Printing in the Low Countries”
Barbara Zimbalist, University of Texas, El Paso

“Ida of Nivelles in Manuscript, Print, and the Translated Collection”
Sara Ritchey, University of Louisiana, Lafayette

“Finding Women Saints in the Body of the Text”
Courtney Rydel, Washington College

Kalamazoo 2016: Early Middle English Society session announcement

For the Early Middle English Society, I have organized a session on vernacular devotional manuscripts with Carla María Thomas (New York University) for the 2016 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Carla will preside over the session, which will feature the following papers.

“Hit iseie aboc iwrite”: Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Vernacular Devotional Manuscripts
“Constructing Form in the Twelfth Century: The Worcester Fragments and Homiletic Verse”
Leslie Carpenter, Fordham University

“A Hidden Link: Lambeth Palace Library MS 522 and Le Chasteu d’amur
Emily Ulrich, Yale University

“The Virgin, the Vernacular, and MS Royal 17 A. xxvii”
Jenny C. Bledsoe, Emory University

Kalamazoo 2016: Women’s Words session announcement

With Lainie Pomerleau (University of Georgia), I have organized a special roundtable session on “Women’s Words” for the 2016 International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Women’s Words: Female Instruction in the Medieval British Isles
“‘Ne shal not Blancheflour lerne with me?’: Depicting and Actualizing Female Learning in the Auchinleck Manuscript”
Emma Osborne, University of Glasgow

“‘Ye do the wrong and not the ryght’: Women’s Advice and The Erle of Tolous
Sarah Lindsay, Milligan College

“Teaching by Example: Julian of Norwich’s Devotional Hermeneutics”
Jessica Barr, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“The Unhelpful Wife: Comparing Women’s Advice in the Early Irish Tales ‘Bricriu’s Feast’ and ‘The Tale of Mac Da Thó’s Pig”
Jennifer L. Knight, University of South Florida

“‘Venomous Allurements’: Narrative in Women’s Conduct Manuals”
Sarah Mayo, University of Georgia

CFP, Kalamazoo ICMS 2016: “Hit iseie aboc iwrite”

“Hit iseie aboc iwrite”: Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Vernacular Devotional Manuscripts
Early Middle English Society Sponsored Session
51st International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
May 12-15, 2016

The Early Middle English Society invites paper proposals for our session, “‘Hit iseie aboc iwrite’: Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Vernacular Devotional Manuscripts.” Vernacular texts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in England often fall in the gap between the two major fields of literary study, Old English and Middle English. While these texts have begun to receive the scholarly attention they deserve, religious and devotional texts are too often marginalized as not “literary.”

We invite paper proposals that work to situate twelfth- and thirteenth-century devotional texts in their manuscript context, allowing us to assess these texts’ authorship, intended readership, use, and reuse. Manuscript studies often engage with questions of “use,” and Claire M. Waters’s presentation at Kalamazoo 2015 asked us to consider the way that medieval religious literature joins utilitarian and aesthetic aims. The question of “use” might prove to be a valuable organizing principle for this session, encompassing the didactic goals of devotional texts, the assemblage of newer and older devotional materials in miscellanies, and the way in which authors, scribes, and illuminators shape manuscript content to suit a particular audience. We are interested in a wide range of approaches to manuscript studies, including paleographical and codicological examinations of script, illumination, layout, and versification, as well as explorations of manuscripts’ orientation to space, place, and local identity.

According to our mission statement, the Early Middle English Society “seeks to promote the study and scholarly discussion of English literary and cultural production from the Norman Conquest to the mid-fourteenth century, especially in relation to the two areas that book-end ours: the Anglo-Saxon period and the Middle English period after the plague.” As a result, we invite proposals that explore how Early Middle English manuscripts relate to Anglo-Saxon and later Middle English literary and religious culture. In this session, we also strongly encourage papers that discuss non-English vernacular languages and their manuscripts, including Anglo-Norman and Celtic languages.

Please submit an abstract and Participant Information Form to Jenny C. Bledsoe (Emory University) at by September 15, 2015.