Craft to give virtual presentation at international conference

A paper written by a university faculty member has been chosen to be presented at an international conference.

Bruce Craft, an instructor of English, has been selected to present his paper, titled “The Myth of Chivalry and White Masculinity in the Digital Spaces of the South: Medievalism in the Southern Pop Culture Marketplace of Sport and Play,” at the 35th Annual International Conference on Medievalism from Nov. 12-14.

The conference was originally scheduled to take place in person in Norfolk, Va. However, due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers switched the conference to a virtual format.

“It’s all new for everyone, and I think it will be a very interesting media application,” shared Craft. “Since I am interested in media application, I think it will be fun. Just like if you go to a regular conference, there will be multiple presentations going on at one time.”

Craft, who has studied the culture and literature of the American south, explained that he wrote this paper because he noticed that connections between the south and medievalism have not been thoroughly explored.

“I thought it was an opportunity to broaden the horizons of medievalism as a field of study and also incorporate that into a study of southern studies,” said Craft. “There are really only a handful of people that have worked on that in the past and have published things on that, so that is something that I thought I would do, because I see a lot of connections between theories in medievalism and being able to apply those theories to the field of southern studies. I think there are plenty of gaps to be filled there, and I want to try to fill some of those gaps.”

The field of medievalism, Craft explained, is not confined to the Middle Ages.

“Medievalism is really how tropes, metaphors, images, rhetoric, concepts from the Middle Ages have been transported, if you will, into other historical time frames, particularly the contemporary south for my studies,” noted Craft.

Craft detailed what sorts of concepts he will touch on during his presentation.

“I am going to be taking a lot of popular culture and images associated with the new south and showing how theories of medievalism can be used to explain those,” detailed Craft. “Everything from film, television, to the print media. It will be a media-orientated presentation because one of the things I am very interested in is called media ecology, which is essentially making sense of contemporary media through a theoretical lens. Particularly, I will be using a print magazine called ‘Garden & Gun,’ which has a very large presence outside of print media.”

While Craft has given a number of presentations at other conferences, this is the first time that he will be participating in this particular conference.

“I do usually two or three conferences a year, but they usually are confined to literary, southern or cultural studies because those are my areas of interest,” explained Craft. “This one is unique because it lets me blend southern studies with medievalism. That’s something that is not traditionally done, so I was excited when the paper was accepted, and I am excited to see how it is going to be received.”