Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cognitive Theories of Medieval Performance

Cognitive Theories of Medieval Performance

Modern Language Association Convention

December 2009

Philadelphia, PA

Many theatre scholars are now employing cognitive theory to explore drama and performance. This research has supported long-held claims about theatre, while simultaneously complicating and challenging our assumptions about theatrical events and their cultural work. The large number of recent essay collections, articles, special journal issues, and conferences devoted to this interdisciplinary approach reflects its relevance and significance. See specifically, Performance and Cognition, eds. Bruce McConachie and F. Elizabeth Hart (New York: Routledge, 2006); Staging Philosophy: Intersections of Theater, Performance, and Philosophy, eds. David Krasner and David Z. Saltz (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006); the December 2007 issue of Theatre Journal dedicated to work on performance and cognition; the Theatre and Cognitive Studies Symposium held at the University of Pittsburgh in February of 2009; and Bruce McConachie’s Engaging Audiences: A Cognitive Approach to Spectating in the Theatre (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

This panel seeks papers that use evidence and theory from cognitive science to analyze medieval drama, performance, and/or theatricality. Although papers that analyze dramatic texts are welcome, this session specifically invites work that employs cognitive theory to explore aspects of medieval performance events and theatrical culture. This panel's organizer hopes to include work from a range of medieval periods and geographic regions. One-page abstracts to Jill Stevenson ( by March 15th. This panel is sponsored by the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.

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