The conference was devoted to the ways in which medieval literary studies are being reconceived and redefined with the models for social and cultural history developed in recent work on cultural studies and post-modern theory.
Medievalism and Postmodernism may seem to represent cultural opposites,
but when brought together they create new models for rethinking medieval
culture in new contexts. This conference offered innovative approaches
in/to medievalism in the context of an interactive telecommunications environment.
The simultaneous location of this conference at Georgetown University and
on the World Wide Web invites us to investigate the ways that cultural
discourse is deeply implicated in the origins of its production. How are
the objects we study entwined with the modes of their critical articulation?
What does cultural studies offer medieval studies? Or, more importantly,
what does medieval studies offer cultural studies? How does medievalism
harmonize with the critical practices that change society and the ways
we conceive history? These are some of the questions that invite a reassessment
of what we can expect when postmodernity intervenes in the discipline of
medieval studies. Post-modern theory is also beginning to notice the impact
of the new networked hypermedia environment of the World Wide Web on literary
studies and the humanities, and the Web as a new context for cultural studies
is both a topic for discussion as well as the medium for transmitting this
The conference established two "firsts" for medieval studies--1) the first conference devoted to the topic of Medieval Cultural Studies, and 2) the first world-wide interactive conference in a Humanities field that opened up participation and dialogue beyond the local setting.