MLA 2025 Special Session - Medieval Masculinity and Its (Ir)Relevance

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Megan Maldonado
contact email: 

This is a Special Session proposal (i.e., not guaranteed session) for MLA 2025. Full session title is "Chivalry is Dead? Medieval Masculinity and Its (Ir)Relevance." You can find the CFP on the MLA website at this link:

I invite papers that explore medieval conceptions of masculinity, what the "medieval masculine" could mean, how it is embodied, and whether medieval masculinity can address the abundantly visible yet often dismissed "masculinity crisis" today. Questions we might ask:

+ What makes Chaucer's Monk in The Canterbury Tales a "manly man" (GP 167)? What does that mean?

+ What is chivalry in the context of medieval romance and to what extent does it inform modern notions of chivalry?

+ To what effect do today's popular voices on masculinity (e.g., Dr. Jordan Peterson, Andrew Tate) evoke medieval conceptions of masculinity or chivalry?

+ Can we understand medieval masculinity without placing it in tension with or opposition to the feminine?

+ What does male loneliness or isolation look like in medieval literature?

Given the oversaturation of applying such labels as "fragile" or "toxic" to masculinity, I am especially interested in papers that can think beyond (but not necessarily exclude) the negative contours of masculinity.

To submit the CFP, email me a 200-word abstract and brief bio (email address is Please send PDF or .doc format only. Include in the the subject line "MLA 2025 Masculinity".