Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality

introduction to the journal

Logo of Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality: the title in a sans-serif font, wrapped around a mosaic of the eye of Empress Theodora"Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality" (MFF, e-ISSN 2151-6073) is an online, peer-reviewed journal of interdisciplinary scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality in medieval studies. We invite studies of literature, history, religion, art and architecture, and medievalism, including ones that employ theoretical models ranging from (but not limited to) queer theory and trans studies, critical race theory, decolonial and postcolonial approaches, disability studies, ecocriticism, materiality, affect theory, and history of emotion. Studies of specific authors or events are welcome, but should be framed for an audience of feminist medievalists broadly construed as well as for specialists in the case study.

Editorial board

General Editor

Jennifer C. Edwards, History, Manhattan College

Associate Editors

Jessica Barr, Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Liz Herbert McAvoy, English, Swansea University
E. Ann Matter, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Lynn Shutters, English, Colorado State University

Subsidia Editor

Emily Francomano, Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University

Book Review Editor

Melissa Ridley Elmes, English, Lindenwood University

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal for Gender and Sexuality: A History

MFF was born in 1984, the result of a serendipitous encounter at Kalamazoo airport between three feminist medievalists in the aftermath of the annually convened International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University. Bearing the title "Medieval Feminist Newsletter" (MFN), its founders and foremothers, E. Jane Burns, Roberta (Bonnie) Krueger, Elizabeth Robertson, and, a little later, Thelma Fenster, established it primarily as a forum for facilitating communication and intellectual exchange between feminist medievalists in the academy who had been feeling disconnected from one another. Its first issue, distributed primarily by hand and by mail, appeared in May 1986. MFN included short research papers and papers from Kalamazoo sessions focusing on gender, discussions surrounding the teaching of medieval studies, summaries of current research into medieval gender and sexuality, and issues surrounding feminist publications. As such, MFN began as a precursor to the now fully international Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS), which was launched in its wake in 1992 to provide a more formal framework for communication and mutual support, and as a primary forum for research into medieval sexuality and gender across the world.

In 1999, MFN morphed into "Medieval Feminist Forum" to better reflect its newly established status as a fully peer-reviewed academic journal, responding further in 2014 to additional important epistemological shifts by adding the qualifier A Journal of Gender and Sexuality to its primary title. Under that aegis, it continues to offer a forum promoting  scholarship and interdisciplinary exchange, especially in the context of medieval gender and sexuality studies across the globe. MFF went fully online in 2009 and, in its evolved format, continues the ethos of the original "Newsletter" in its committed support of a diverse and fully inclusive medieval studies.

aims and scope

As the journal of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS), Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality (MFF) publishes articles and book reviews promoting interdisciplinary scholarship on medieval women, gender, and sexuality. We invite submissions from scholars at any stage in their careers, but suggest that graduate and advanced undergraduate students review our recommendations for student writers. Manuscripts undergo double-blind peer review. Submissions that have a focused argument supported by primary-source evidence, contextualized in current scholarly literature, and written in a clear style that engages an audience versed in feminist theory are most successful in the review process. MFF publishes articles of original research as well as state-of-the-field historiographies or literature reviews; we will consider work on the medieval period as well as on medievalism. Scholars interested in reviewing books for MFF should contact the Book Review Editor.

current issue: volume 57, issue 2

Cover image of Medieval Feminist Forum, volume 57, issue 1: the title and issue information in black on a white background, with the image of a mosaic eye of Empress TheodoraArticles

Calkas’s Daughter: Paternal Authority and Feminine Virtue in "Troilus and Criseyde," by Jennifer Alberghini

Affect and the Tomb in Robert Henryson's "Testament of Cresseid," by Elizabeth Elliott

Mothers, Space, and Power in "Athelston," by Kirsty Bolton

A Mind of Her Own: Women's Interiority in the Middle English and Older Scots Pastourelles, by Anne L. Klinck

The Cunning Linguist of Agbabi’s “The Kiss," by Elan J. Pavlinich

Alchemy, the Liber aureus, and the Erotics of Knowledge, by Kersti Francis

John Crophill: A Trustworthy Man in Fifteenth-Century Rural England, by Rehan Shah


Who Does She Think She Is?, by Caroline W. Bynum

When Feminism Isn't Enough, by Monica H. Green

Book Reviews

"Whose Middle Ages? Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past," edited by Andrew Albin, Mary C. Erler, Thomas O'Donnell, Nicholas L. Paul, and Nina Rowe, reviewed by Ana C. Núñez

"The Lay Saint: Charity and Charismatic Authority in Medieval Italy, 1150–1350," by Mary Harvey Doyno, reviewed by Mary Anne Gonzales

"Superior Women: Medieval Female Authority in Poitiers’ Abbey of Sainte-Croix," by Jennifer C. Edwards, reviewed by Alexandra Verini

"Nuns’ Priests’ Tales: Men and Salvation in Medieval Women’s Monastic Life," by Fiona J. Griffiths, reviewed by Holle Canatella

"This Is My Body: Eucharistic Theology and Anthropology in the Writings of Gertrude the Great of Helfta," by Ella Johnson, reviewed by Jessica Barr

"Margery Kempe’s Spiritual Medicine: Suffering, Transformation and the Life Course," by Laura Kalas, reviewed by Lucy C. Barnhouse

"The Letters of Margaret of Anjou," edited by Helen Maurer and B. M. Cron, reviewed by Gabrielle Storey

"The Mélusine Romance in Medieval Europe: Translation, Circulation, and Material Contexts," Lydia Zeldenrust, reviewed by Angela Jane Weisl

past issues

Volume 56, issue 2 (2020) of "Medieval Feminist Forum" contained articles by Dana M. Polanichka, Gillian Adler, Susan Signe Morrison, Jane Clayton, Michelle Armstrong-Partida, and Jenna K. McKellips and book reviews.

All past volumes of "Medieval Feminist Forum" are available on our ScholarWorks platform.


MFF also welcomes proposals for special issues, which will appear in the order the finalized volume is submitted, at most one special issue a year of the two we publish annually. The editing of a special issue of MFF provides the guest editor(s) with an opportunity to bring a group of scholars together and to stimulate them to do their best possible work. MFF encourages authors to reflect widely on their topic; part of the guest editor’s role is to transmit this intellectual spirit to the contributors. The contributors should understand that a narrowly specialized article is not appropriate for MFF, even if the article relates to the special issue’s theme. The best special issues are those in which every article engages with large and serious issues, framed in a way that medievalists from different specialties are able to engage the theme discussed.

A special issue typically consists of an introduction written by the guest editor(s), an article written by (one of) the guest editor(s), and five or six other articles by contributors invited by the guest editor. The contributor list may be the result of an open call or a pre-curated set of contributions. Guidelines for proposing a special issue and for guest editor responsibilities will also be available on the journal's ScholarWorks page.

Please see further policies on submissions and submit your entire and completed work at the journal's ScholarWorks page.

PRICING and subscriptions

"Medieval Feminist Forum" is published annually in a digital format, and is only available as an add-on to membership in the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship. Membership dues, journal subscriptions and orders of individual issues, which can also be printed on demand, are handled by our distributor, ISD. Subscription pricing and membership dues are as follows:

  • Student/retiree/independent scholar memberships in SMFS only are $15.
  • Student/retiree/independent scholar memberships in SMFS and subscriptions to MFF are $25.
  • Individual memberships in SMFS only are $30.
  • Individual memberships in SMFS and subscriptions to MFF are $55.
  • Institution or library subscriptions to MFF are $90.
  • Our subscription order form can also be used to contact ISD for print-on-demand orders.