Call for Papers: 2016-2017

The Digital Medieval Disability Glossary working group invites graduate and undergraduate course projects exploring specific disability-related terms for potential inclusion in the glossary. Participants in courses on the history of the English language and in medieval languages and cultures are particularly encouraged to submit contributions to this collaborative project.

The glossary seeks to tell the story of medieval terms used for embodied difference, illness, and impairment. Building on existing resources such as the Dictionary of Old English, the Middle English Dictionary, and the Oxford English Dictionary, the Glossary will function as an open-access reference that demonstrates the complexity of medieval attitudes towards bodies, minds, and communities.

As indicated in this preliminary Wiki version, the Glossary contains entries developed by faculty and students at Southeastern University (guided by Dr. Cameron Hunt McNabb), Miami University at Hamilton (Dr. Tory. V. Pearman), and George Washington University (Dr. Jonathan Hsy). In each instance, entries provide straightforward definitions of the terms under consideration, broader insights into each word’s use and evolution, and a list of works cited and resources for future study. The working group is currently engaged in converting the Wiki into a full web resource.

The project, therefore, offers students and faculty the opportunity to participate in the creation of a vital new resource in the digital humanities. Entries should focus on how a particular term functions within a particular medieval context (ca. 700-1500 CE). Analysis of terms from a wide variety of medieval languages are welcome, but, at this point, we ask that the entries be written in English. Sample assignments that have been used to generate existing entries are available on request.

The Glossary working group will conduct open peer review of all entries, and all faculty and students will be credited by name and institution on the site. Proposed entries may be sent on a rolling basis. Ideally, though, material from Fall 2016 courses would be sent by 31 January 2017, and from Spring 2017 courses by 30 June 2017.

To learn more about this project or contribute an entry, please contact the current editor Karen Bruce Wallace at