TOEBI would like to publicly state our complete support for the victims that have spoken out in the Al Jazeera report, as well as for those who remain anonymous. Our thoughts are with survivors. For the record, Andy Orchard has no part in our organisation and he will not be cited in the newsletter.
In light of recent reports in the media, TOEBI would like to condemn in the strongest terms all forms of sexual harassment, abuse, and bullying. We are committed to a fully inclusive, safe, and harassment-free environment for all our members. The TOEBI committee will take action against any person, regardless of perceived seniority, who violates our values and code of conduct. We want our members to be assured that we have zero tolerance for such behaviour and are committed to making the field of Old English studies a better, safer, and more inclusive environment for all. Any of our members is welcome to approach the TOEBI committee with any concerns or questions.
We have made an additional statement in support of the victims of this abuse here.
The annual TOEBI newsletter seeks to publish high-quality book reviews and feature articles on Old English literature and the teaching of Old English. As the current editors, we’re delighted to invite submissions for this year’s issue. You can find previous newsletters here.
We are inviting feature articles on any subject related to Old English and/or the teaching of Old English. Previously published pieces have included:
- Class plans
- Student work (e.g. translations)
- Reports on outreach projects
- Original creative work, including visual art and creative writing
We also welcome articles on original research, academic practice, and cultures of research and teaching in universities today. Articles will ideally be between 500 and 1500 words, but we are very open to your pitches. We are especially keen to hear from the ECR and student cohorts, and from groups whose voices have been historically and presently marginalised in academia.
We also invite book reviews on any of the titles listed below for this year’s newsletter. We would greatly appreciate if you could also circulate this list to any postgraduates and ECRs in your department. Conversely, if there is a new release not on this list that you would like to review, do get in touch!
- Abbot, Jean, Elaine Treharne, and Mateusz Fafinski. Beowulf By All: A Community Translation and Workbook. Arc Humanities Press, 2021.
- Breay, C. and J. Story. Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Cultures and Connections. Four Courts Press, 2021.
- Grossi, Joseph. Angles on a Kingdom: East Anglian Identities from Bede to Ælfric. University of Toronto Press, 2021.
- Karkov, Catherine E. Imagining Anglo-Saxon England: Utopia, Heterotopia, Dystopia. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2020.
- Karkov, Catherine E. Ed. Slow Scholarship: Medieval Research and the Neoliberal University. D. S. Brewer, 2019.
- Rozier, Charles C. Writing History in the Community of St Cuthbert c.700-1130. D. S. Brewer, 2020.
- Scattergood, John, with Niamh Pattwell & Emma Williams. Trinity College Library Dublin: A catalogue of manuscripts containing Middle English and some Old English. Four Courts Press, Dublin 2021.
Four Courts Press have also asked us to make you aware of a special pre-publication offer on copies of Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Culture and Connections, which you can find here: https://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2020/manuscripts-in-the-anglo-saxon-kingdoms/
The TOEBI Annual Meeting for 2021 will be held on 27 November 2021online from the National University of Ireland Galway.
The theme of the Meeting is “Feeling and Sense”. Papers on any aspect of the above theme are welcome including, but not limited to, the following topics:
- the senses
- pedagogies of empathy.
Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words for 20-minute papers to email@example.com by 2nd August, 2021.
TOEBI wishes to acknowledge its support for the position of staff in English at the University of Leicester, and to condemn the injurious position of the university management’s approach to the study of Medieval and Early Modern Literature and English Language.
The leadership of the University of Leicester has notified staff that it is opening a consultation on a plan to close English Language, including the BA English with English Language and the MA English Language and Linguistics, and to cease teaching Medieval Literature and reduce the size of Early Modern Literature. The first consultation meeting on this plan will take place on Wednesday 27th January 2021. Staff in English remain committed to supporting and developing our current curriculum and oppose this plan.
TOEBI exists to promote and support the teaching of Old English in British and Irish Universities, believing that knowledge of the foundations of the subject is integral to any understanding of English language and literature. At a time when medieval studies in particular is frequently in the public eye, it is a fundamental disservice to students and prospective students at the University of Leicester to deny them the opportunity to pursue study in this field.
TOEBI believes that Black lives matter. The society recognises the many failures, present and historic, to support and listen to Black academics, both in academia generally and within our own field specifically, and that these failures contribute to a larger system of oppression against Black people. As a society, our aim is to promote the teaching of Old English in universities, and we commit to fostering an environment supportive of Black scholars, scholars of colour, and scholars from other ethnically marginalised backgrounds, including Irish Travellers.
We have work to do. Scholars privileged by race and by other characteristics have an obligation to learn more, and to support marginalised colleagues and students. In the future, we will do more to amplify diverse voices and the work of BIPOC scholars.
The 2020 bibliography on race and medieval studies crowdsourced by Dr Mary Rambaran-Olm and Dr Erik Wade provides a useful starting point: https://mrambaranolm.medium.com/race-101-for-early-medieval-studies-selected-readings-77be815f8d0f . For further resources on anti-racism, see this project page from Dr Nicole A. Cooke at the University of South Carolina: https://padlet.com/nicolethelibrarian/nbasekqoazt336co .
You can find a broader statement of TOEBI’s values and our anti-harassment policy here.
Old English Futures
TOEBI (Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland) Call for Papers, for English: Shared Futures 2020 conference, Manchester/Salford June 26-28th 2020
TOEBI invites submissions for a panel to be submitted to the English: Shared Futures 2020 conference on the future of Old English studies within and beyond global English literary studies.
We particularly welcome submissions that show how the teaching of Old English naturally engages with issues such as ecology and ecocriticism, transnational literatures, literatures of the body, anachronic and transhistorical readings of literature, issues of migration and ethnicity, and inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to the past and present.
E:SF indicates that approaches may cover:
- new research from any area of the discipline, including practice-based research;
- learning, teaching and pedagogy;
- aspects of professionalization (including precarity, mental health, employability, recruitment, gender and BAME imbalance).
Areas of Old English studies which may be particularly relevant to the themes of E:SF 2020 include:
- inequalities: working-class literature, language and creative writing; regional differences; access to literature and social capital;
- literature, language, creativity and music;
- ‘applied’ English: how English language, literature and creative writing work in the world beyond universities and address local, national and global challenges;
- refugees and displacement;
- publishing and book history;
- issues around decolonization, broadly understood, including decolonizing the profession and curriculum;
- migrancy and borders.
Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org for 20-minute papers by Friday 13th September 2019.
I went to college a little bit later than most. Excited but nervous to plunge into a degree — in English literature — that demands all students learn Old English, I asked a friend what studying the language was like. “It sounds bizarre,” Roberta said, “but it’s what people spoke in Britain in the early medieval period. And there are these beautiful things called kennings in the poetry.” We were just in the pub, I think, but I got this feeling. Something like stars in my eyes, but more like starlight dancing on a deep, dark sea.