Call for Papers: Medieval and Early Modern Performance

 Liminal Time and Space in Medieval and Early Modern Performance: Call for Papers

5th-7th September 2014, University of Kent

Sponsored by the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Centre for Creative Writing and the School of English, University of Kent.

Plenary speakers:

Professor Carol Symes (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Professor Andrew Hiscock (Bangor University).

This interdisciplinary, cross-period conference seeks to explore the representation, effects, and meanings of liminal time and space in medieval and early modern performance. It will consider time and space in conjunction across a range of performance events between the tenth and seventeenth centuries to examine the productive interrelations between both concepts and to draw out their ambiguous, transitional, and transitory aspects.

The socio-cultural construction of time and space has been the focus of much critical enquiry in recent years; as part of this work, scholars have begun to examine the ways in which writers, actors and other artists have shaped or been shaped by shifting concepts of time and space. The Reformation, the establishment of permanent playhouses, and the advances of cartography and travel are just a few examples of specific historical events and cultural phenomena in which thinking about time and space has been central. Yet few projects juxtapose space with time and most remain within their designated period and disciplinary boundaries. This conference will explore times and spaces ‘in between’ these more specific, identifiable, and well-documented cultural phenomena and to do so in light of the inherently transitional and ephemeral nature of performance.

Bringing together scholars working on medieval and early modern performance in its broadest sense, including drama, liturgy and piety, processions, music, dance and poetry, the conference will also offer the opportunity to investigate how time and space in performance express the continuities and ruptures in wider cultural thinking between the medieval and early modern periods. It will also include a creative writing event and the premiere of a film about the Marlowe 450 theatre project currently taking place in Canterbury.

We welcome proposals from researchers working in all areas of medieval and early modern performance cultures, and especially encourage papers dealing with non-dramatic performance practices. Potential topics for papers may well include, but are by no means limited to:

  •  ‘Non-traditional’, temporary or undocumented performance spaces
  •  Non-space/place
  •  Timelessness
  •  Collapse/slippages in time and space in performance, including modern adaptations of medieval or early modern performance (including literature)
  •  Anachronism or archaism in performance
  •  Bracketing/periodization of time in performance or research
  •  Liminal geographic spaces
  • Blurring of public/private, sacred/profane, foreign/domestic, real/fictional, on/offstage , masculine/feminine, natural/civilised times and spaces
  •  Difficulties of perceiving/experiencing space
  •  Embodied and disembodied time and space
  •  Immersive performance and/or history
  •  Forgetting, memory and time
  •  Haunted spaces
  •  Disruptions/continuity in medieval and early modern time and space
  •  Historicising/mythologizing time and space
  •  Fragmented time


Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Dr Sarah Dustagheer ( and Dr Clare Wright ( by Monday 14th April 2014.