Σάββατο, 26 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

Representing the Sexuality of Women in Medieval Europe and Byzantium

CALL FOR PAPERS: for the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 12-15, 2010

Session: Representing the Sexuality of Women in Medieval Europe and Byzantium

Session Chairs: Sherry Lindquist, Knox College; and Mati Meyer, The Open University of Israel, Raanana
Images of sexuality are profoundly contested in many societies, and the issues involved have particularly significant real-world consequences for women in patriarchal cultures. It is therefore urgent that we have recourse to relevant historical perspectives that are grounded on a wide-ranging array of nuanced studies. In spite of the evocative scholarly debate that is emerging, we still have only a minimal understanding of this long-neglected but vital subject. Michael Camille, Madeline Caviness and others have addressed some of the ideological meanings inherent in images that appear to display sexual content in western art. Richard Trexler, Robert Mills, Martha Easton and others find historical and theoretical methods of addressing sexual themes in devotional and theological motifs, while Jeffrey Hamburger and Caroline Walker Bynum warn against imposing modern assumptions about sexuality in what they consider to be predominantly religious contexts. Recovering the range of possible medieval views is made more difficult by the disproportionate amount of male, clerical voices whose written work survives, and which often express negative and misogynist views of women by focusing on Eve’s imperfect or Mary’s singular nature. Such views may (or may not) be countered in more vernacular, secular works. It appears that Jewish and Byzantine attitudes towards sexuality differed significantly from the ones expressed by western ecclesiastical writers. Although Sarit Shalev Eyni and Diane Wolfthal, among others, are beginning to explore these topics, there is even less modern scholarship on how the visual operated to reflect, construct or subvert normative attitudes about women’s sexuality in medieval Europe outside of Latin Christianity.

This session seeks papers that offer a comparative, synthetic and interdisciplinary approach to the intersection of sex and images in the Middle Ages, especially as it pertains to the lived experience of medieval women. It invites papers about the built spaces of sexual encounters, the gestural vocabulary of sexual practices, and the visual and written depictions of these activities. We particularly encourage proposals that suggest new methodological approaches or that aim to re-evaluate long-standing approaches and arguments. Themes of special interest include: displays of sexuality in Western and Eastern medieval art; possible cross-cultural affinities or diversities in sexual imagery; the relationship of interior/exterior to sexual representations; allegorical and phantasmagorical places for sexual encounters; and the way that normative, alternative or changing social perceptions towards sexuality are negotiated in the visual realm.

Please send electronic proposal and CV to Sherrylindquist@hotmail.com and msmati@mscc.huji.ac.il.

Source: http://www.bsana.net/opportunities/conferences/leeds.html