2018 Johnston Award for Best Conference Paper

Alexandra Johnston Award
Award Year: 

Winner: Min, Mariah Junglan (University of Pennsylvania) “‘Is It I, Lord?’: The Silhouette of Judas Iscariot in Early English Cycle Drama.” Sewanee Medieval Colloqium, Sewanee: The University of the South, 2017.

This excellent paper integrates performance and medieval studies to examine how N-Town plays examine the character of Judas in the Passion Narrative, which is greatly expanded from its Biblical sources. Focusing on Christ as a commodity to be sold, the apostles develop a new angle to the betrayal, one that encodes a slippage between present and future, as, to quote Min, “Judas is portrayed as always already having done the things he will only eventually come to do in the future and, in a similar vein, how he is constructed as a figure who is associated with his character attributes even before the texts imbues him with them.” Clearly contextualizing her study in the historical, dramatic, and anthropological resources, this nuanced work asks whether the N-Town emphasis on the eternal possibility of mercy “threatens to destabilize the narrative of the Passion.” The prize committee noted the excellent methodology of Min’s work, and the clear and lively writing in this provocative and suggestive piece of scholarship.

Award Committee: Carol Symes, Katherine Brokaw, Alexandra Johnson (ex officio), and Suanne Westfall (chair). Awards announcement and presentation took place during the MRDS business meeting in May at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.