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The Gender & Medieval Studies (GMS) Group is a UK-based organization devoted solely to putting together an annual interdisciplinary conference, which furthers the study of medieval gender. The conference is an annual peripatetic event that has been running since at least the late 1980s (oral history suggests that it was running in 1987 at the latest) and traditionally takes place in early January.

It is geared as much towards postgraduate students as established scholars. A steering committee exists to help ensure the continuation of the conference from year to year.

The next conference will take place at the University of Hull on the 6th- 8th January.  A call for papers may be found below.

 To keep up-to-date on plans for the GMS conference series, please subscribe to the listserv address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   


Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2016
The University of Hull

Gender and Emotion

6th – 8th January 2016

 Keynote speaker: Professor Katharine Goodland, College of Staten Island


Call for Papers


The grief-stricken faces at Edward’s deathbed in the Bayeux Tapestry; the ambiguous ‘ofermod’ in The Battle of Maldon; the body-crumpling anguish of the Virgin witnessing the Man of Sorrows; the mirth of the Green Knight; the apoplectic anger of the mystery plays’ Herod and the visceral visionary experiences of Margery of Kempe all testify to the ways in which the medieval world sought to express, perform, idealise and understand emotion.

Yet while such expressions of emotion are frequently encountered by medievalists working across the disciplines, defining, quantifying and analysing the purposes of emotion and its relationship to gender often proves difficult.  Are personal items placed in early Anglo Saxon graves a means for the living to let go of, or perpetuate emotion, and how are these influenced by the body in the grave?  Do different literary and historical forms lend themselves to diverse ways of expressing men’s and women’s emotion?  How does a character expressing emotion on stage or in artwork use body, gender and articulation to communicate emotion to their viewer?  Moreover, is emotion viewed differently depending on the gendered identity of the body expressing it?  Is emotion and its reception used to construct, deconstruct, challenge or confirm gender identities?

This conference seeks to explore the manifestations, performances and functions of emotion in the early to late Middle Ages, and to examine the ways in which emotion is gendered and used to construct gender identities. 

Proposals are now being accepted for 20 minute papers.  Topics to consider may include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender and emotional expression: representing and performing emotion
  • The emotional body
  • Philosophies of emotion: theory and morality
  • Emotional objects and vessels of emotion
  • Language and emotion and the languages of emotion
  • Preserving or perpetuating emotion
  • Emotions to be dealt with: repressing, curtailing, channelling, transforming
  • Forbidden emotion
  • Living through (someone else’s) emotion
  • The emotions of war and peace
  • The emotive ‘other’
  • Place and emotion
  • Queer emotion

We welcome scholars from a range of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, archaeology and drama.  A travel fund is available for postgraduate students who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Please email proposals of no more than 300 words to organiser Daisy Black at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by the 7th September 2015.  All queries should also be directed to this address.  Please also include biographical information detailing your name, research area, institution and level of study (if applicable).






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Image copyright David Griffith