Disney's Medievalisms

full name / name of organization: 
Tison Pugh, University of Central Florida, and Susan Aronstein, University of Wyoming
contact email: 
tpugh@mail.ucf.edu and Aronstei@uwyo.edu

Call for Papers:
“Disney’s Medievalisms”

From medieval fairs to modern films, the industries of popular culture continually revisit and reinvent the Middle Ages, entertaining audiences while generating a profit. And Disney’s--both Walt’s and the Corporation’s—contribution to this field is virtually unparalleled. From its many “medieval” films (Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court) to its re-creations of fairy-tale romances (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted), from its architecture of iconic castles to its renovation of outmoded identities (princesses, pirates), Disney’s multifaceted medievalism is America’s most culturally visible monument to the western Middle Ages—a monument that, like all of Disney’s products, has been globally disseminated. However, since Disney’s Middle Ages spans from his pre-Mickey retellings of fairy tales, through the studio’s early princess films and into “re-writings” of the company’s own traditions in more recent films, this monument is itself continually under reconstruction. Our proposed essay collection “Disney’s Medievalisms” will tackle this cultural legacy from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including literary, cinematic, architectural, and sociological. It will address such questions as: How do the Middle Ages figure in Disney’s essentially American historical narrative? What do Disney’s turns to medievalism reveal about twentieth- and twenty-first-century cultural concerns, and why are the Middle Ages a preferred setting for modern’s children entertainment? How do the child and the medieval intersect, and to what end?

Potential contributors should contact Susan Aronstein (aronstei@uwyo.edu) and Tison Pugh (tpugh@mail.ucf.edu) with 200-word abstracts of their proposals by May 1, 2010. Professor Aronstein is the author of Hollywood Knights: Arthurian Cinema and the Politics of Nostalgia, and Professor Pugh is the author of Queering Medieval Genres and the co-editor of two collections addressing “medieval” cinema: Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema and Queer Movie Medievalisms.

cfp categories: 
childrens_literature
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
medieval
popular_culture