Call for Papers: Pray and Play with Mary: From Processions and Pilgrimages to Performances (Deadline: 13 September 2022)

This special session wishes to analyze the multiple sources and multimedia of Marian processions and pilgrimages. The scientific importance of the session lies in understanding how these devotional practices could be perceived as a form of theatrical performance. The polysensoriality of these ephemeral events encouraged liturgical unity outside the church. Therefore, how did the civic environment interact and participate in these religious rituals? And finally, how did processions and pilgrimages contribute to developing an urban Marian cult by enhancing a deep local cohesion?

The session will encourage an interdisciplinary approach. Liturgy, music, drama, and visual arts were deeply interconnected with the expression of Marian devotions. For this reason, these elements will be examined in relation to processions and pilgrimages to understand the dramatization of the Virgin’s cult. This multimedia approach provides the groundwork for new perspectives on Medieval performance in general. Moreover, the analysis of case studies will not only aim to highlight specific aspects and general phenomena in Late Medieval Europe, but also to define identities and devotees’ experiences in the reality of processional performance.

Scholars are invited to submit a 300-word abstract, excluding references. Proposals should also include name, affiliation, email address, the title of the presentation, 6 keywords, a selective bibliography, and a short CV. The panel is expected to take place as part of the 58th International Congress on Medieval Studies, which will be in a hybrid format, Thursday, May 11, through Saturday, May 13, 2023. Please send the documents to by September 13, 2022.


Published by Blair Apgar

Blair (they/them) recently completed their PhD in History of Art at the University of York with Hanna Vorholt and Amanda Lillie. Their thesis focused on the role of Matilda of Canossa in the sociopolitical development of the Investiture Controversy, and its relationship to Matilda’s material patronage. As an early career researcher, their work aims to unpack the historiographic construction of powerful medieval women’s legacies. They are also interested in the representation of the Middle Ages in modern media.

One thought on “Call for Papers: Pray and Play with Mary: From Processions and Pilgrimages to Performances (Deadline: 13 September 2022)

  1. All Marian holidays are important days for agriculture. They determined the farming year, which began with Candlemas and ended on Martini

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