Saturday, July 25, 2009

International Society of Anglo-Saxonists' conference begins in Newfoundland

Memorial University in St.John's, Newfoundland begins hosting the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists' biennial conference on Sunday. Over 100 participants from around the world will be attending the six day event, with this year's theme being the maritime world of the Anglo-Saxons, focusing on the Anglo-Saxon understanding and use of their maritime environment as reflected in textual and material culture.

“We have a range of papers being presented and all are very closely connected to the sea,” said Dr. Bill Schipper, conference organizer and chair. Topics covered address travel and adventure, trade and maritime networks, the fishery, floral and fauna of maritime regions, the sea and the imagination and the symbolism of the sea.

There are three keynote addresses which are open to the public. On Tuesday, July 28, Dr. Allen Frantzen of Loyola University will speak on "Over, In, and Under Water: Connecting Food and Identity in Anglo-Saxon England." Dr. Martin Carver of York University will discuss "The Anglo-Saxons and the Sea: Travels on the Water and in the Mind" on Thursday, July 30. Friday’s session will be given by Dr. Gale Owen-Crocker of Manchester University on "Sea crossing in the Bayeux tapestry."

To read the abstracts for all the papers, please click here.

There will also be presentations at the conference for three publication prizes, for best article, best first book and best edition. Arizona State University has already announced that one of their faculty members, English Professor Robert Bjork will receive the 2009 Best Edition Award for Klaeber's Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. This book, which is edited by Professor Bjork along with R.D. Fulk and John D. Niles, was recognized by the prize committee as "a legendary accomplishment that will exert a powerful influence on Beowulf studies for years to come."

A tour of L'Anse aux Meadows, the site of the only known Viking colony in North America, will also be available for the conference participants. For more information about L'Anse aux Meadows, please click here.