Queer Community in the Middle Ages @ Leeds IMC 2023

Date / time: 5 September, 12:00 am

Queer Community in the Middle Ages @ Leeds IMC 2023


Call for Papers, deadline – 5 September 2022

The notion of an emergent medieval ‘gay subculture’ remains one of the most highly contested claims of John Boswell’s 1981 magnum opus ‘Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality’. In the decades since its publication, research on medieval queerness has tended to emphasise the individual over the collective whether in terms of identity, experience and as constructed discursive subjects. Despite this, landmark studies such as those by Michael Rocke, Carolyn Dinshaw and Kadin Henningsen have demonstrated some of the ways in which medieval people built networks of companionship and mutual support grounded in a shared experience of living outside of their societies’ norms of gender and sexuality. Consequently, it is time to reassess the value of communities, networks and subcultures as a productive methodological framework for thinking about medieval queerness.

In keeping with the Leeds International Medieval Congress 2023 theme of ‘Networks & Entanglements’, we are seeking papers on intersections of queerness and community during the Middle Ages. We invite broad interpretations on the definition of ‘queer’, and indeed papers that reject queerness as a methodological lens: our interest is in any and all experiences of genders and sexualities which fall outside the norms of medieval societies. Submissions from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome, and papers can pertain to any geographic region or time period between 300-1500. Papers might explore themes such as:

  • Reconstructing queer subcultures through trial records
  • Communities of letters
  • Homosociality and intimate friendship
  • Literary and visual depictions of queer communities
  • Sex work and mutual aid

Please submit an abstract of up to 300 words, as well as your name, affiliation, and your preference for whether to present in-person or virtually, to Tim Wingard (tim.wingard@york.ac.uk) by Monday 5th September.