You might think that this is a joke. It is a joke, but not the kind sane people think up.
From Campus Reform (with my emphases and comments I’ll leave links in as texts):
Activists demand more social justice in Medieval Studies
A group of medieval studies scholars is threatening to boycott next year’s International Congress on Medieval Studies to protest the rejection of sessions proposed by “Medievalists of Color.”
Conference organizers, however, insist that workshops like “How to Be a White Ally in Medieval Studies 101” and “Toxic Medievalisms” were rejected based on standard criteria such as lack of intellectual justification.
A prominent association of medieval studies scholars has pledged to boycott the discipline’s largest annual conference over a lack of social justice programming. [No doubt that would be a huge blow to this field, were they not to show.]
On July 11, the BABEL Working Group[Please tell me this is a spoof.] published an open letter to the organizers of the International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS), which is planning to host its annual conference of about 3,000 academics at Kalamazoo College in May 2019, outlining two “concerns” about the conference.
“The first is that there seems to be a bias against, or lack of interest in, [those are not the same thing… I, for example, can be mostly uninterested in Big Foot because there is no Big Foot and it’s a waste of time.] sessions that are self-critical of medieval studies, or focused on the politics of the field in the present, especially relative to issues of decoloniality, globalization, and anti-racism,” the letter explains, adding that the second concern relates to an alleged “lack of transparency around the process by which ICMS programming decisions are made.”
[RELATED: Profs fear ‘alt-right’ is taking over Medieval Studies] [Alt-Right is interested in Medieval Studies? Who knew?]
The letter, which has been signed by more than 600 people as of press time, argues that by rejecting workshops such as “How to Be a White Ally in Medieval Studies 101,” “Toxic Medievalisms,” and “Intersectionality and the Medieval Romance,” the ICMS organizers are hurting scholars of color and excluding their perspectives.“The rejection of multiple sessions co-sponsored by Medievalists of Color (MOC) in particular minimizes the intellectual guidance that scholars of color would provide at the conference, when these scholars are already severely underrepresented in the field,” the letter protests.
Other workshops rejected by ICMS organizers included “Toxic Medievalisms: Misuses and Abuses of the Medieval in Contemporary Culture,” “Race and the Medieval,” “Translations of Power: Race, Class, and Gender Intersectionality in the Middle Ages I and II,” and more.
[RELATED: Prof: ‘white marble’ in artwork contributes to white supremacy] [*sigh*]
While the BABEL Working Group suggests foul play, a review of previous conference schedules indicates that social justice issues are not typically discussed at the conference.
Instead, workshops on topics such as “Commemorating Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians,” “Transmaterial Dynamics between Italy and Iran,” and “Law as Culture: Inquisition, Landholding, and Murder” are more likely to be seen during the event.
In an effort to influence the topics of discussion at the upcoming conference, the BABEL Working Group demands that the ICMS organizers allow at least two of the previously rejected workshops to be added to the 2019 schedule, threatening to withdraw thousands of dollars in annual support if the ICMS does not comply.
“If ICMS chooses not to recognize the special urgency of supporting the Medievalists of Color this year…the BABEL Working Group does not anticipate putting more of our collective resources into the Congress,” the open letter warns.
So, if they don’t get their way, they’re threatening to go all medieval on the conference?
Ahhh… Medieval Studies!
And now a musical interlude…