Performance Beyond Drama – Special Issue, JMEMS
The Editors invite submissions for Performance Beyond Drama, a special issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.
The field of performance studies has inspired critical reevaluations of drama as an embodied, rather than simply textual, medium. However, apart from a few exceptions, premodern scholarship has yet to examine non-theatrical performances with the same rigor afforded plays and dramatic entertainments. This special issue addresses this gap in the field. What might closer attention to offstage cultural performances―quotidian and ritualized, occupational and festal, carefully premeditated and improvised—reveal about medieval and early modern culture? What are the roles of the premodern spectator and in what ways does the transactional nature of performance redistribute authority? What work does performance do to initiate, reform, or ratify a sense of community? And how might an insistence on performance as decidedly non-metaphorical—that is, not as a conceit that representssocial practice, but as something that is itself a form of social practice—help us to recover voices otherwise silenced in drama-focused studies? We invite submissions that address these inquiries. Of particular interest are essays in dialogue with nonliterary disciplines, such as social anthropology, speech act theory, cognitive theory, and theorizations of political activism and performativity. The volume aims to take performance seriously as a viable medium of cultural and social maintenance, rather than as a symptom of more text-based interpretive practices. Scholars of different disciplines, not just literary study, are welcome.