2024 Stevens Award for Best New Essay

Martin Stevens Award
Award Year: 
Winner: McCarty, Tamara (she/her). “Antisemitism, dance, and the law in the late medieval Holy Roman Empire,” postmedieval 14 (2023): 291–314. DOI: 10.1057/s41280-023-00278-y.
Tamara McCarty presents a compelling and thoroughly convincing argument in her essay that examines how dance performs the work of antisemitic tropes in the late medieval Holy Roman Empire. Christians, McCarty argues, presented Jewish dance in efforts to racialize Jewishness and used dance as a way to literally control them at a bodily level. Through thoughtful applications of race scholarship and theory applied to meticulous readings of various dance records, McCarty demonstrates how Jewish dances were not only villainized but also rendered illegal, thus perpetuating antisemitism. Furthermore, McCarty's article recovers for us the Jewish dance practices of which we have little knowledge and expands our perception of the larger performative cultures of the Middle Ages, showing us, too, that performance existed beyond the stage.
Committee: Tina Fitzgerald, Kirsten Mendoza, and Jeff Stoyanoff (chair). Awards announcement and presentation took place during the annual MRDS business meeting in May 2024, at the 59th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.