Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Call for Papers:  Gender and Voice in Medieval French Literature and Lyric
Special Session at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan (May 11-14, 2017)
Rachel May Golden (University of Tennessee) and Katherine Kong (Independent Scholar), co-organizers

This session employs gender as a critical category of analysis to examine the voiced nature of, and expressions of emotion in, medieval French literature, lyric, and song.  In so doing, the panel seeks to bring together interdisciplinary approaches, such as from literature, musicology, gender and sexuality studies, philology, and history.

While studies of gender often focus on women’s experiences, this session proposes to employ gender inclusively to consider masculinities, femininities, their intersections, marked absences, and manifestations. This kind of analysis is particularly apt for medieval French literatures because of the explicitly voiced quality of these repertories and texts. From the first-person desires of the troubadours, to the gendered dialogues of the chanson de geste, medieval French texts powerfully speak in ways that continue to influence western cultural assumptions and inspire new intellectual investigations.

In particular, we aim to examine how writers, texts, and songs encode or shape gendered positions, variously complying with or subverting cultural expectations.  Further, we seek to interrogate how emotion is voiced and enacted in gendered ways, especially emotions that are typically coded as masculine or feminine, such as epic grief, maternal lament, the sufferings of fin’amour, or knightly bravado and camaraderie. In dialogue with current scholarship on emotions in the Middle Ages, we are also interested in how issues of gender might inflect the very understanding of medieval emotions themselves—as rhetoric, as performance, as affect, or as transformation.  Finally, we also welcome interrogations of how gendered voices are both performed and embodied as sites of desire, violence, dominance, and power.

Abstracts for papers of 15-20 minutes are welcome through September 15 to Rachel Golden ( or Katherine Kong (
Submission guidelines and the required Participant Information Form are available at

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