From medieval fairs to modern films, the industries of popular culture continually revisit and reinvent the Middle Ages, entertaining audiences while generating a profit. And Disney's--both Walt's and the Corporation' s -- contribution to this field is virtually unparalleled. From its many "medieval" films (Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, A Kid in King Arthur's Court) to its re-creations of fairy-tale romances (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted), from its architecture of iconic castles to its renovation of outmoded identities (princesses, pirates), Disney¹s multifaceted medievalism is America's most culturally visible monument to the western Middle Ages -- a monument that, like all of Disney's products, has been globally disseminated. However, since Disney's Middle Ages spans from his pre-Mickey retellings of fairy tales, through the studio's early princess films and into 're-writings' of the company's own traditions in more recent films, this monument is itself continually under reconstruction.
Our proposed essay collection "Disney's Medievalisms" will tackle this cultural legacy from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including literary, cinematic, architectural, and sociological. It will address such questions as: How do the Middle Ages figure in Disney's essentially American historical narrative? What do Disney's turns to medievalism reveal about twentieth- and twenty-first-century cultural concerns, and why are the Middle Ages a preferred setting for modern's children entertainment? How do the child and the medieval intersect, and to what end?
Potential contributors should contact Susan Aronstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tison Pugh (email@example.com) with 200-word abstracts of their proposals by May 1, 2010. Professor Aronstein is the author of Hollywood Knights: Arthurian Cinema and the Politics of Nostalgia, and Professor Pugh is the author of Queering Medieval Genres and the co-editor of two collections addressing 'medieval' cinema: Race, Class, and Gender in "Medieval" Cinema and Queer Movie Medievalisms.