[UPDATE] Disguise and Incognito: 1000-1500 (Kzoo: May 14-17 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
James Howard / ICMS: Kalamazoo 2015
contact email: 

We invite abstracts for 15-20 minute paper sessions on disguise and incognito for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 14-17 2015. Submit via e-mail to jwhowa2@emory.edu with ICMS in the subject header. Please send it in no later than September 15, 2014.


This session aims to explore the use of disguise and incognito in texts from the high and late Middle Ages (c.1000-1500). It will approach disguise and incognito from a number of disciplinary intersections, including Arthurian studies, performance studies, gender studies, and studies of rhetoric. One touchstone for the session is Molly Martin's 2011 book Vision and Gender in Malory's Morte Darthur, which explores disguise as a visual maneuver that allows masculine performances to be judged: making Tristram invisible so that he may be examined. The performances of disguise connect material culture to forms of identity formation. For instance, Susan Crane's seminal work The Performance of Self (2002) draws concrete connections between court pageants and 15th century romances, work that continues to be expanded by Andrea Denny-Brown (Fashioning Change: The Trope of Clothing in High- and Late-Medieval England, 2012) and others. Disguise allows the transgression of particular subject roles, allowing critics and historians to examine the boundaries of class, religion, and gender.

This session is especially open to papers that approach disguise in new and innovative ways. For instance, most work on disguise focuses on romances, fabliaux, or city culture, and much remains to be done to explore what they establish about sexuality, roleplaying, and performance. There are also lots of instances of disguised or crossdressing saints like St. Pelagia and St. Eugenia. Papers can also analyze disguise through late medieval dramatic performances and allegories.