Wednesday, August 31, 2011

“Affect and Emotional Production in Early Drama”

“Affect and Emotional Production in Early Drama” International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan 10-13 May 2012 In their Introduction to The Affect Theory Reader (2010), Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth argue that “affect is found in those intensities that pass body to body (human, nonhuman, part-body, and otherwise), in those resonances that circulate about, between, and sometimes stick to bodies and worlds, and in the very passage or variations between these intensities and resonances themselves.” Affect, then, “is the name we give to those forces…that can serve to drive us toward movement, toward thought.” Likewise, in her recent book Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion (2010), Sarah McNamer examines affectively oriented medieval texts and argues that these texts supplied their users with “‘intimate scripts’…quite literally scripts for the performance of feeling—scripts that often explicitly aspire to performative efficacy.” Work like this has productively complicated our understanding of affect and its relation to emotional production. This panel invites work that critically examines the relationship between affect and emotional production in medieval and Renaissance performance. How did devices such as gesture, sound and silence, music, rhythm and choreography, props and performing objects, staging and scenic choices, spatial arrangements, or visual and textual elements generate the kinds of intensities and resonances that Gregg and Seigworth describe? How were these forces specifically employed to enhance or complicate emotional responses in spectators and/or performers? What were the goals and stakes of such emotional production? Given the slipperiness of these terms—and the many theories of affect and emotion—the organizer is open to a range of interpretive possibilities, approaches, and methodologies. The organizer also invites topics from across all geographies and performance traditions in the Middle Ages and/or Renaissance. Please submit one-page abstracts and a completed Participant Information form ( to Jill Stevenson at no later than September 15, 2011. Feel free to contact Jill with questions about the session. For general information about the 2012 Medieval Congress, visit:

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