Session Title

Dangerous Games: Proscription, Transgression, Control

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris

Organizer Name

Vanina M. Kopp

Organizer Affiliation

Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris

Presider Name

Vanina M. Kopp

Paper Title 1

"De rotunda tabula prohibenda": Squaring the Circle of Medieval Round Tables

Presenter 1 Name

Christopher Berard

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Centre for Medieval Studies, Univ. of Toronto

Paper Title 2

Unstable Identities: Shifting Friends and Enemies in Malory's Book of Sir Tristram

Presenter 2 Name

Whitney Whitaker

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Oklahoma

Paper Title 3

Who's Afraid of the Gambling Devil? Ludic Dangers between Rationalization and Demonization

Presenter 3 Name

Michael Allman Conrad

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Freie Univ. Berlin

Paper Title 4

"Win Sett and All": Violence, Chance, and Social Competition in Early Modern Tennis

Presenter 4 Name

Natalia Khomenko

Presenter 4 Affiliation

York Univ.

Start Date

15-5-2016 8:30 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 210

Description

This session will focus on the dangerous aspects of pre-modern games and their potential for disrupting the medieval boundaries of estate and gender. We welcome papers linking game rules and social norms and examining, on the one hand, the risks inherent in following or resisting the formal rules, and on the other, the specific instances of games deployed to transgress normative boundaries or to reinforce power hierarchies. Social rejection, persecution, or death could follow if games were not played in accordance with the rules defined by authorities, or sometimes if they were played with too much zeal. Both secular and ecclesiastical powers tried to control games by prohibition or close surveillance. The gap between breaking the law outright and pushing against social constraints during a game was very narrow indeed. As a result, records detailing the rules of games and the instances of rules being broken, as well as interdictions against game-playing, present an opportunity to re-examine the accepted components of and challenges to the social and cultural order in the medieval and early modern society.

Vanina M. Kopp

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May 15th, 8:30 AM

Dangerous Games: Proscription, Transgression, Control

Bernhard 210

This session will focus on the dangerous aspects of pre-modern games and their potential for disrupting the medieval boundaries of estate and gender. We welcome papers linking game rules and social norms and examining, on the one hand, the risks inherent in following or resisting the formal rules, and on the other, the specific instances of games deployed to transgress normative boundaries or to reinforce power hierarchies. Social rejection, persecution, or death could follow if games were not played in accordance with the rules defined by authorities, or sometimes if they were played with too much zeal. Both secular and ecclesiastical powers tried to control games by prohibition or close surveillance. The gap between breaking the law outright and pushing against social constraints during a game was very narrow indeed. As a result, records detailing the rules of games and the instances of rules being broken, as well as interdictions against game-playing, present an opportunity to re-examine the accepted components of and challenges to the social and cultural order in the medieval and early modern society.

Vanina M. Kopp