Session Title

Women on the Global Medieval Stage: Performers, Producers, and Artists (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Susannah Crowder; Jesse Njus

Organizer Affiliation

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

Presider Name

Susannah Crowder; Jesse Njus

Paper Title 1

Women and Performance: The Evidence Too Obvious to See

Presenter 1 Name

James Stokes

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Paper Title 2

Female Actors on Stages of Their Own Making: Thirteenth-Century Cultural Concepts

Presenter 2 Name

Paula Karger

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Toronto

Paper Title 3

From Exile to Enclosure: A Troveress's Contrafactum

Presenter 3 Name

Rachel Ruisard

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Maryland

Paper Title 4

Drama Queen: The Virgin and the Theater

Presenter 4 Name

Emma Maggie Solberg

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Bowdoin College

Start Date

10-5-2018 7:30 PM

Session Location

Fetzer 1045

Description

Despite ever-increasing evidence to the contrary, this paradigm of the “all-male” pre-modern stage lingers, coloring our reading of women’s public performances more broadly. A flood of revisionist scholarship – by Pamela Brown, Melinda Gough, Natasha Korda, Peter Parolin, Clare McManus, Lucy Munro, and Virginia Scott, for example – has wiped out this stereotype for the early modern era. Yet despite the work of individuals such as James Stokes, a similar movement has yet to coalesce among medieval scholars.

This session thus seeks to reflect on the medieval community’s response to the problem of women and performance. From nuns to noblewomen to ordinary laywomen, instances of women’s participation in drama and other kinds of performance are dismissed as anomalies or even impossibilities. How many examples must be documented before the “exceptions” are seen as part of larger cultural trends? How might consideration of varied kinds of performance practices help us to integrate female performers, producers, and artists into the “master” narrative? Reassessing the influence of these women is far more than a negligible historical corrective; reclaiming their performances is a necessity if we are to understand the social and cultural importance of the contributions of women to medieval life.

This session will be a roundtable in which speakers briefly share their own work before taking part in a general discussion. In addition to reflections on the field, we invite investigations of women as “makers” of performance: subjects might include Hrotsvit, Hildegard, troubadour poets, liturgical celebrations, female actors, lay patrons, and drama of all sorts. Scholarship from varied disciplines, methodologies, time periods, and geographical regions is especially welcome, as we hope to engender a broad and lively exchange of ideas.

Signed, Susannah Crowder and Jesse Njus

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May 10th, 7:30 PM

Women on the Global Medieval Stage: Performers, Producers, and Artists (A Roundtable)

Fetzer 1045

Despite ever-increasing evidence to the contrary, this paradigm of the “all-male” pre-modern stage lingers, coloring our reading of women’s public performances more broadly. A flood of revisionist scholarship – by Pamela Brown, Melinda Gough, Natasha Korda, Peter Parolin, Clare McManus, Lucy Munro, and Virginia Scott, for example – has wiped out this stereotype for the early modern era. Yet despite the work of individuals such as James Stokes, a similar movement has yet to coalesce among medieval scholars.

This session thus seeks to reflect on the medieval community’s response to the problem of women and performance. From nuns to noblewomen to ordinary laywomen, instances of women’s participation in drama and other kinds of performance are dismissed as anomalies or even impossibilities. How many examples must be documented before the “exceptions” are seen as part of larger cultural trends? How might consideration of varied kinds of performance practices help us to integrate female performers, producers, and artists into the “master” narrative? Reassessing the influence of these women is far more than a negligible historical corrective; reclaiming their performances is a necessity if we are to understand the social and cultural importance of the contributions of women to medieval life.

This session will be a roundtable in which speakers briefly share their own work before taking part in a general discussion. In addition to reflections on the field, we invite investigations of women as “makers” of performance: subjects might include Hrotsvit, Hildegard, troubadour poets, liturgical celebrations, female actors, lay patrons, and drama of all sorts. Scholarship from varied disciplines, methodologies, time periods, and geographical regions is especially welcome, as we hope to engender a broad and lively exchange of ideas.

Signed, Susannah Crowder and Jesse Njus