Sensuous Performances: How did medieval plays engage the five senses? (9/15/09; Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, May 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Jill Stevenson
contact email: 

Sensuous Performances: How did medieval plays engage the five senses?
International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan
13-16 May 2010

In trying to recapture the "liveness" of medieval performances, many scholars have analyzed these events' aural and visual elements, examining how performances in the Middle Ages engaged the eye and ear. However, performances engage all five senses for performers and audience members—both intentionally and unintentionally. This was especially true in the Middle Ages, when performances regularly took place as part of ceremonies, rituals, celebrations, and domestic events. Medieval plays not only incorporated smells, tastes, physical contact, sights, and sounds into their design, but performance events were also performed alongside other (sometimes competing, sometimes complementary) sensualities. This panel seeks work that examines not only how medieval performances engaged one or more of the senses, but also how this sensuality may have impacted a performance's meaning and value. The panel's organizer welcomes work from all medieval periods and geographic regions.

Submission Details: Submit one-page abstracts and contact information to Jill Stevenson at no later than September 15, 2009.