Ellen Arnold, one of the co-organizers of the Kalamazoo 2010 gathering, has written up the following summary from the conference:
In May, scholars from across the disciplines, including many of the members of ENFORMA gathered at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo. It was a very successful meeting, with five sessions and 14 papers, and on behalf of Richard Hoffmann and myself, I would like to thank the speakers and our chairs for their hard work, engaging projects, and their participation throughout the conference. Topics and methodologies ranged across the field, truly highlighting how integrative and interdisciplinary medieval environmental history has become. There were papers on how resources were used and how that use was structured: sanitation systems in England, mills in France, hunting regimes in Italy, and timber resources in Scotland. Others addressed bigger patterns of environmental interaction across time and space, including monastic manipulation of landscapes, the possible links between climate and crusades, and settlement patterns. This year, many participants were also discussing medieval ideas and knowledge—about soil structure, fish, religion, and concepts of the landscape as being part of identity.
The sources used were equally diverse, including archival sources, scientific treatises, maps, charters, dispute settlements, poetry, and epic literature. We also saw ample proof of how many different approaches are available, from archaeology, zooarchaeology, and climate sciences to textual criticism, archival research and literary analysis (and the combination of many of these, for example to determine patterns of early medieval animal disease). We welcomed familiar faces and many new colleagues to these sessions, both as participants and in the audience, and we hope that this broader community continues to grow and to provide opportunities for collaboration and for sharing new research. Look for us again in two years!
Abstracts of the papers are available for download: ENFORMA_Sessions_Kzoo_2010