Friday, September 22, 2006

Text, Image, and Performance in the Medieval Cloister: Kalamazoo 2007

The interaction of text and image in medieval culture has received astonishing attention in the past fifty years. Indeed, the recognition of literacy’s multiple forms during the Middle Ages – authoring, compiling, reading, vocalizing, editing, performing, comprehending – has arguably proven among the most fruitful revisions of traditional historiography in the discipline. Yet this renewed scrutiny has in many ways focused on royal strata of readers and authors. This session invites papers that explore how cloistered men and women engaged with illustrated texts during the high Middle Ages. The collaborative, performative nature of illustrated books, be they liturgical, devotional, didactic or historical and, crucially, their reception by the larger monastic community that engaged with the manuscript. We encourage papers that draw attention to broader implications of their conclusions outside and beyond the object(s) under immediate scrutiny. Sample topics could include: notions of reception and performance, pedagogy broadly conceived, illustrated texts as sermons, and unusual gender roles (in either production or reception).

Please send abstracts to Holly Flora at or Elizabeth Monroe at by October 15, 2006. The organizers hope to publish the session papers in a forthcoming volume of essays.


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