Tuesday, August 11, 2015

CFP: Holy Celebrity: Saints and/as Social and Economic Capital

CfP: Panel at International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo (USA), 2016

With apologies for cross-posting! Please feel free to share this CfP with all relevant parties.
“Holy Celebrity: Saints and/as Social and Economic Capital” – panel sponsored by the Hagiography Society

Scholars have often commented on the link between sanctity and celebrity. Both the saint and the celebrity are elevated above the everyday, with identities carefully crafted by cultural producers to respond to the needs and desires of an audience, region, or temporality. Sacralisation/celebrification entails a series of processes which (re)formulate a subject into a product fit for social, political, and economic consumption. Yet sanctity/celebrity is not simply exploitative, but enjoyable and perhaps even empowering. What does it really mean to be a medieval celebrity? How does celebrity intersect with sanctity? What does such a categorization add to the study of hagiography? Can fame resonate on both a social and spiritual level, and how does the medieval idea of fame generate, overlap with, and inform contemporary discourses of fame, celebrity, and sanctity?

Relevant topics for this session include:
- Saints as commercial products and/or economic agents
- The construction of Sanctity and Communal Identity
- Audience reaction(s) to a saint and textual reception
- Power dynamics between celebrity/saint and star-maker/confessor or hagiographer/cleric/scribe
- The social function of celebrity/sanctity
- Film theory’s contribution to the study of sanctity more generally

If you’re interested in speaking on this panel, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words and aParticipant Information Form (PIF), which can be found at http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF. Deadline for submissions: 1 September 2015. Please email your abstract and PIF to the panel organisers, Alicia Spencer-Hall (aspencerhall@gmail.com) and Barbara E. Zimbalist (bezimbalist@utep.edu).

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