Playing in the Margin and along the Border in Medieval Drama (Sewanee Medieval Colloquium 2017)

deadline for submissions: 
October 14, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Jeff Stoyanoff
contact email: 

Call for Papers: 43rd Annual Medieval Colloquium at Sewanee: The University of the South


 Panel: Playing in the Margin and along the Border in Medieval Drama


Medieval literature is often a story of fragments - of the incomplete pieces that have come down to us from a lost whole. Medieval drama exemplifies such a situation, and even its greatest examples are often looked at as outside of the standard realm of medieval literature. A few plays have found their way into the standard canon - The Second Shepherds’ Play and Everyman, typically - but by and large, medieval drama exists in the margins and along the borders of medieval literature. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to show how medieval drama engages issues of gender, class, proto-nationalism, and disability, among others, in innovative and potentially subversive ways. Furthermore, these texts employ affect and performance in ways that other literature simply cannot.

It is from such positions in the margins or along borders, then, that this panel seeks papers that consider what medieval drama presents to its audience and how it presents them in order to affect that audience, whether medieval or modern. How as a liminal genre can medieval drama create and provoke in ways that other medieval literatures cannot? How does medieval drama use its marginal position, its existence along and understanding of borders (then and now) to present ideas and issues that might undermine norms? How are bodies (animal, vegetable, and mineral) gendered, disabled, colonized, classed, etc in medieval drama, and how, then, do we interpret such bodies within both the play and the society from which it has been produced?

Comment: Christina Fitzgerald, Professor of English, University of Toledo. Professor Fitzgerald is the author of The Drama of Masculinity and Medieval Guild Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). 

Please send a 300-word abstract and current CV to Jeff Stoyanoff ( by 14 October 2016.