Gender, Materiality, and Movement in Medieval French Literature and Lyric, Kzoo 2018

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Rachel May Golden, University of Tennessee
contact email: 


Gender, Materiality, and Movement in Medieval French Literature and Lyric

Special Session for the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 10-13, 2018

Rachel May Golden (University of Tennessee) and Katherine Kong (Independent Scholar), co-organizers


This session employs gender as a critical category of analysis to interpret aspects of materiality and movement in medieval French literature, lyric, and song. Over the last two years, we have considered aspects of gender and voice in these repertories in special sessions at Kalamazoo. In 2018, we propose to shift our focus while maintaining connection with past themes. In particular, we construe materiality and movement broadly—as they manifest within, between, and beyond the texts themselves—to include human bodies, material objects and culture, specific manifestations of a work or corpus, and related phenomena of travel, circulation, or transmission.  Writing, performance, and travel were profoundly gendered and often embodied activities in medieval France, and we hope to consider how lyric and literary repertories demonstrate these inflections. 


The shifting geopolitical landscape of medieval France— from the First Crusade, through the Hundred Years’ War—constantly generated and engaged songs, stories, and manuscripts in contexts predicated on movement, travel, and re-invention.  Quite fittingly, scholarship on medieval French literature and lyric has focused on sounds and stories as materials in motion, involving oral transmission, bodily performance, theories of mouvance, studies of manuscripts, and notions of songbooks.  


While studies of gender often focus on women’s experiences, this session proposes an inclusive examination of gender, to consider masculinities, femininities, their intersections, marked absences, and realizations. This kind of analysis is particularly apt for medieval French literatures because of the explicitly voiced and often explicitly gendered quality of these repertories and texts.  In particular, we aim to examine how writers, texts, and songs encode or shape gendered positions, variously complying with or subverting cultural expectations.


Abstracts for papers of 15-20 minutes are welcome through September 15 to Rachel Golden ( or Katherine Kong (  Submission guidelines and the required Participant Information Form are available at