Max Harris

Position title: Solmsen Fellow (2015-2016)

Independent Scholar

Christ on a Donkey: Palm Sunday, Processional Theater, and Blasphemous Pageants

Christ on a Donkey explores Palm Sunday processions and other public representations of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem as embodied sites for the celebration, display, contestation, diffusion, and mockery of religious justifications for war and other exercises of power. Drawing on church processions, royal entries, and folk practices from as far apart as fourth-century Jerusalem, tenth-century Augsburg, and seventeenth-century Bristol, my project examines the mimetic practices deployed in such representations, the process by which royal entries and Palm Sunday processions came to resemble one another, and the shifting boundaries between narrative and performance, religion and politics, and dissent and blasphemy.

Max Harris is an independent scholar and Executive Director Emeritus of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. He has taught at the University of Virginia and, as a visiting professor, at Yale University. He is the author of five books: Theater and Incarnation (1990, 2nd ed. 2005), The Dialogical Theatre (1993), Aztecs, Moors, and Christians: Festivals of Reconquest in Mexico and Spain (2000), Carnival and Other Christian Festivals: Folk Theology and Folk Performance (2003), and Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools (2011). His work has won the Otto Gründler Book Prize, and (twice) the David Bevington Award for the Best New Book in Early Drama Studies.