Sadomasochism in Medieval Cultures

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Christopher Vaccaro
contact email: 

Painful Pleasures: Sado-masochism in Medieval Cultures

Editor, Christopher T. Vaccaro



Call for Papers



This interdisciplinary collection will contain essays that engage with manifestations of sadistic and masochistic pleasure in medieval texts and cultures. Such impulses may be implicit in the functioning of institutions such as the schoolroom or the church or embedded within the very framework of pre-modern European culture. Examining this jouissance around power, control, dominance, and submission within medieval culture provides yet unexplored insights into these premodern phenomena as well as into our own presuppositions as to what the medieval means in relation to current (kinky) sexual practices.    


We are especially interested in arguments focused around visual culture, gender, race and ethnicity, cultures on the borders/margins or marginalized. Examinations of court/secular cultures will be prioritized.


Essays should explore the project’s central premise: that medieval texts and cultures manifest a type of erotic thrill (jouissance) that resonates with contemporary BDSM pleasures and yet in other ways differs in articulation. 


Relevant topics include but are not limited the following:


Please submit abstracts (250-500 words) or complete essays (8,000-10,000 words including references) to Christopher T. Vaccaro at


Abstracts are due by March 15th, 2020