The animal turn has become hugely influential in medieval scholarship over the last decade. However, the contributions of ecofeminism and queer ecology have often been side-lined. Nevertheless, scholars are increasingly finding these modes of analysis to offer useful ways of exploring the role of the animal in medieval romance texts.
The Medieval Romance Society is hosting three sessions on romance and the animal turn at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies 2020, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. All papers must be presented in English; however, we welcome submissions on romances from any region in the Middle Ages. We invite papers that respond to ecofeminist and queer ecological literary criticism; papers that respond to posthumanist and related philosophical theories; and papers which do not take a theoretical approach.
Session I: Romance and the Animal Turn I: Romance and Ecofeminism
This session welcomes papers looking at representations of gender, masculinity and/or femininity in relation to animals and nature in romance texts. Example topics could include: the role of the horse in chivalric masculinity, animal foster-mothers for human children, or gendered discourses of meat-eating. We particularly encourage papers that respond to contemporary ecofeminist theory, although this is not required.
Session II: Romance and the Animal Turn II: Romance and Queer Ecology
This session invites papers looking at representations of sex and sexuality and/or queer identity in relation to discourses of animals and nature in romance texts. Papers might explore the role of animals in the construction of heteronormative ideologies, queer animals in romance narratives, and species panic. We particularly encourage papers that respond to contemporary theories of queer ecology, although this is not required.
Session III: Romance and the Animal Turn III: Romance and Posthumanism
This session welcomes papers that explore discourses of human and animal identity in romance texts. Example topics could include: the role of the animal in ideologies of race, interspecies hybridity, and animal subjectivity in romance. We particularly encourage papers that respond to contemporary posthumanist theory, although this is not required.