Humor, Entertainment, Recreation, and Reactions to Trauma

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Illinois Medieval Association
contact email: 

In Literature as Recreation in the Later Middle Ages, Glending Olson refers to the ancient analogy between recreation and a bow. The bow must be unstrung in order to maintain its effectiveness, just as people need recreation to remain productive. Yet another function of recreation is in reaction to traumatic events, a coping mechanism to deal with hardships and trauma with which life presents us. The COVID-19 crisis has produced a variety of reactions to the trauma of the pandemic, including entertainment: films released directly to streaming services, virtual art galleries, streaming plays, streaming concerts. This session will explore ways that medieval people may have used humor, entertainment, and recreation to cope with the trauma and hardships they encountered. I am seeking papers from any aspect of medieval studies. Because the symposium is organized around individual sessions distributed throughout the year, the deadline for this session is not firm, and it will remain open until full. Potential dates for online sessions are

Saturday, October 16

Saturday, November 13

Saturday, February 12

Saturday, February 19

Saturday, February 26

Saturday, March 5

Email a proposal/abstract of no more than 300 words to for consideration. Papers will be limited to 20 minutes. Papers presented in this session are eligible for submission to Essays in Medieval Studies, the Illinois Medieval Association’s peer-reviewed proceedings journal.

This session will be online with free registration.