If you follow me on Twitter, you might be vaguely aware of some mysterious messages from me over the past few months, suggesting some sort of clandestine publishing hook-up scenario. Time for the big reveal. I now have the distinct pleasure of announcing details of a new book series at Amsterdam University Press: Hagiography Beyond Tradition (HBT). Full disclosure: I'm the Series Editor, and a rabid fangirl of the kind of scholarship we're going to showcase in the series.
HBT provides a home for cutting-edge scholarship on medieval saints and sanctity, combining rigorous attention to historical context with heuristics drawn from modern critical theories. The series seeks to publish incisive, impactful, and broadly interdisciplinary work. What’s more, HBT aims explicitly to foreground the work of innovative early-career researchers and put them on equal terms with more established senior academics. This is a publication space carved out to show what the best of what our field can achieve. Bring us your most audacious, most stimulating, most challenging hagiographical scholarship - work which brings your brain joy, done to the highest quality, grasping fully context and nuance - and we will do the rest.
The series’ vital statistics are collected below, and full details can be found online here.
If you have any questions or queries about the series generally, the proposal process, or working with the Press, email our deeply excellent Acquisitions Editor, Shannon Cunningham at S.Cunningham [at] aup.nl.
I'm also very happy to talk through ideas for publications, chat about academic fit, and so forth - so if you want to learn more, don't hesitate to drop me a line at a.spencer-hall [at] qmul.ac.uk. Lets take hagiographical scholarship to the next level together.
- Proposals for monographs and cohesive edited collections are welcome.
- Expected word count of final publication: 70,000-110,000.
- All publications will be in English.
- Geographical scope: all of medieval Christendom, including Byzantium.
- Chronological scope: ca. 500-1500.
- Series Editor: Alicia Spencer- Hall (Queen Mary, University of London).
- Editorial Board: Bill Burgwinkle (University of Cambridge); Martha Newman (University of Texas); Sarah Salih (King’s College London); Anna Taylor (University of Massachusetts).
- Acquisitions Editor (at Amsterdam University Press): Shannon Cunningham.
- Complementary to the Hagiography Society’s existing series, Sanctity in Global Perspective, which concentrates on comparative rather than more theoretical studies. We very much hope for cross-fertilisation whenever possible between the two series.
The study of sanctity in medieval Europe is starting to elicit cutting-edge, innovative and genuinely interdisciplinary scholarship that destabilizes what people have conventionally considered to be hagiography. This is demonstrated in the topic range of panels sponsored by the Hagiography Society at recent landmark medievalist conferences. While hagiography has traditionally been understood only in religious terms, recent scholarship moves beyond such frameworks to consider alternate ways of identifying and representing exemplary people. So doing, such research emphasises modern cultural analogies and resonances with medieval figures.
It is not enough, however, to approach saints’ lives with a “sexy” modern framework. The best scholarship is rooted in analytical rigour, close attention to context(s), and a keen awareness of the potential pitfalls of anachronism, all the while accepting that anachronism can often be productive. This series provides a home for the kind of work that negotiates that border between the traditional and the contemporary and encourages scholarship enhanced by interventions drawn from celebrity studies, trans studies, crip theory, animal and monster studies, the history of senses and the emotions, media studies, and beyond. Rather than considering hagiography as a single genre, the series is open to expanding the ways in which we imagine how people come to be offered for veneration, as well as the media and genres in which they are fashioned, represented, and celebrated.