Evil Feminity in Early Modern Spectacles

During the medieval and early modern periods, figures such as witches, prostitutes, women healers, amazons and possessed women were the objects of theological, medical, juridical discourses and institutions which more often than not rendered them outside the realm of « normative » femininity. At the same time, early modern spectacles in all their forms (drama, opera, ballet, entrées royales) contain a whole panoply of representations of such pilloried feminine subjects. This panel invites contributions that explore how such subjects’more often than not figures that represented « evil’ »perform their roles and reveal alternative subjectivities within the conventions of dramatic/aural/civic/written performances and communities.

Possible topics to be explored:
  • Actual staging
  • The socio-professional status of these performers in ?real’ life
  • Early-modern performance theory and its views on the potential civic role that this category of femininity could have had in the public sphere
  • Incunabula, manuscripts, archival evidence of performance texts (librettos, plays, ballet) engaging with representation of ?evil’ women
  • Possibilities of re-evaluating these plays through the lens of contemporary performance theory, gender studies
  • The relation between music and lyrics and the representation of the female protagonists in words and sound
Please send a 150-word abstract, keywords and a one page long CV to Andreea Marculescu (marculescu@ fas.harvard.edu) and Valentina Denzel (vdenzel@msu.edu) by May 26.

Tags : archives, manuscripts, early modern print culture, possessed, prostitutes, amazons, witches, actresses, opera, theatre, performance, « normative » femininity, gender

Responsables: Andreea Marculescu, Valentina Denzel