Greetings to you all!
18th Biennial Meeting of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI
31 July – 4 August 2017
The conference theme for ISAS Honolulu was Global Perspectives on Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Saxonisms, with the aim to explore world comparative views of early medieval insular history, language, literature, art, and archaeology.
The Pacific venue turned out to be ideal for gaining a broader understanding of our field precisely because Hawaiʻi is not Anglo-Saxon England: viewing our research from halfway around the world puts Anglo-Saxon studies in perspective, looking from the outside in—and potentially inside out. In particular, a global and comparative view suggested new ways of thinking about the relationship between past and present and the role that English language, history, and culture play on a world stage.
Our two keynote speakers addressing the larger framework and theory behind world comparative approaches were:
Kathleen Davis, Professor of English, University of Rhode Island, author of Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time (2008) and co-editor with Nadia Altschul of Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of “the Middle Ages” Outside Europe (2009).
Michael W. Scott, London School of Economics & Political Science, an anthropologist of Oceania and author of The Severed Snake: Matrilineages, Making Place, and a Melanesian Christianity in Southeast Solomon Islands (2007).
We had over seventy papers and project reports in the program, the highest number of acceptances ISAS has done. The reason for this increase is that the Honolulu conference tried out a new format creating a series of break-out sessions to accommodate various disciplinary strands within and beyond the conference theme. The program included presentations applying global and comparative perspectives to the study of Anglo-Saxon England as well as specialized topics within our field.
In addition, we added to the program an informal discussion on #Public Medievalism: Anglo-Saxon Studies and Public Outreach in a Globalised World, organized by Mateusz Fafinski and Sihong Lin, on Tuesday evening Aug. 1, 6-8 p.m. in Building 37 iLab (ISAS_pubmedievalism). This session continued some conversations begun at Leeds, and included Hawai`i students adding their perspectives.
We enjoyed welcoming to the islands all who were able to come as well as those following our progress in various media.