ICMRSLL Call for Papers

Since the inaugural ICMRSLL, scholars of medieval and early modern Scottish literature and language have gathered on a triennial basis to explore, build, and promote the study of Older Scots literate culture. Thanks to the work done through and beyond these conferences, Older Scots has matured into a field of study notable for its disciplinary and methodological breadth. In 2021, the ICMRSLL once again invites delegates to contribute to the growing body of work on Scottish texts and culture from the 14th to 17th centuries.

ICMRSLL welcomes papers on any aspect of the culture of literature and language in medieval and Renaissance Scotland, or related interdisciplinary areas. The organizers seek a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, including those that stretch beyond periodization – papers, for example, engaging the later reception of early texts – or those that incorporate innovative uses of technology in humanities research. Early-career researchers and first-time delegates are expressly encouraged to submit proposals.

While ICMRSLL remains ecumenical in the range of work presented, recent conferences have invited participants to consider research questions particularly associated with the concepts of identity and nationhood. Panels and papers, for example, have investigated an emerging and developing, as well as enduring, Scottish identity as it was negotiated through a variety of writing (chronicles, poetry, religious texts, prose tracts) and in a variety of languages (Gaelic, Latin, Scots, French, English). Building on the relevance and importance of these past foci, the 16th ICMRSLL adopts as a general theme, “Crossing Boundaries.” This call for papers comes at time when boundaries – both literal and conceptual borders – continue to be sources of contention and negotiation. Battles of inclusion and exclusion, influence and interpenetration, dominate our politics and culture. The worlds of medieval and early modern Scotland grappled with similar problems of definition and delineation. In addition to contested boundaries within religious, familial, regional, and national identities, lines were also drawn, challenged, crossed, erased, translated, shared and/or re-drawn in other areas: in language and linguistics, for example; literary form and genre; modes of communication (print and manuscript, say); and many others, including, to this day, those reflected in our own academic disciplines. It is hoped that papers addressing the negotiation of such boundaries will constitute a core research emphasis of this conference.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Papers should not be more than 20 minutes.
  • Please follow this link to submit a 300‐word abstract: https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bdxh2PhJ0R1Ob9r.
  • Deadline for submission of abstracts is January 29, 2021.
  • Potential delegates are encouraged to contact other interested parties about submitting proposals that could be combined into coherent sessions or to propose special panels to the organizer.
  • Please write to Dr. Tricia McElroy with any questions: tmcelroy@ua.edu.


Special Session: Crossing linguistic boundaries within and outwith

For this special session sponsored by the Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster (FRLSU), we invite presentations which explore boundaries from a linguistic angle and place the language of an author, a text, a community, a period, etc. in the centre of the investigation. The topics may include:

  • Defining / exploring / problematising boundaries between linguistic levels (e.g. sound vs spelling, lexicon vs grammar)
  • Defining / exploring / problematising boundaries between different languages (e.g. English vs Scots, Scots vs Latin)
  • Defining / exploring / problematising differences between authors and their language use
  • Reconciling approaches to historical texts across disciplinary boundaries (e.g. literature, linguistics, digital humanities, textual editing, manuscript studies, historiography, etc.)
  • Linguistic aspects of periodisation and any other conceptualisation imposed on textual material.

To encourage early career scholars to participate, the FRLSU will sponsor a £200 award for the best early career presentation, selected by the organising committee and the audience attending the special session.  For more information about FRLSU please check out their website: https://frlsu.org/.

Please note: To submit a proposal for this special session, please use the submission link under “Submission Guidelines” above and note in your abstract that you are submitting to participate in the special FRLSU session.