Showing posts with label sexuality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sexuality. Show all posts

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

OUT NOW: Sexual Culture in the Literature of Medieval Britain (D.S. Brewer, 2014)

Edited by Amanda Hopkins, Robert Allen Rouse and Cory James Rushton

It is often said that the past is a foreign country where they do things differently, and perhaps no type of "doing" is more fascinating than sexual desires and behaviours. Our modern view of medieval sexuality is characterised by a polarising dichotomy between the swooning love-struck knights and ladies of romance on one hand, and the darkly imagined and misogyny of an unenlightened "medieval" sexuality on the other. British medieval sexual culture also exhibits such dualities through the influential paradigms of sinner or saint, virgin or whore, and protector or defiler of women. However, such sexual identities are rarely coherent or stable, and it is in the grey areas, the interstices between normative modes of sexuality, that we find the most compelling instances of erotic frisson and sexual expression.

This collection of essays brings together a wide-ranging discussion of the sexual possibilities and fantasies of medieval Britain as they manifest themselves in the literature of the period. Taking as their matter texts and authors as diverse as Chaucer, Gower, Dunbar, Malory, alchemical treatises, and romances, the contributions reveal a surprising variety of attitudes, strategies and sexual subject positions.

About the Editors:

Amanda Hopkins teaches in English and French at the University of Warwick; Robert Allen Rouse is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Cory James Rushton is Associate Professor of English at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada.


Introduction: A Light Thrown upon Darkness: Writing about Medieval British Sexuality
Robert Allen Rouse and Cory James Rushton

1. ‘Open manslaughter and bold bawdry’: Male Sexuality as a Cause of Disruption in Malory’s Morte Darthur
Kristina Hildebrand

2. Erotic (Subject) Positions in Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale
Amy S. Kaufman

3. Enter the Bedroom: Managing Space for the Erotic in Middle English Romance
Megan G. Leitch

4. ‘Naked as a nedyll’: The Eroticism of Malory’s Elaine
Yvette Kisor

5. ‘How love and I togedre met’: Gower, Amans and the Lessons of Venus in the Confessio Amantis
Samantha J. Rayner

6. ‘Bogeysliche as a boye’: Performing Sexuality in William of Palerne
Hannah Priest

7. Fairy Lovers: Sexuality, Order and Narrative in Medieval Romance
Aisling Byrne

8. Text as Stone: Desire, Sex, and the Figurative Hermaphrodite in the Ordinal and Compound of Alchemy
Cynthea Masson

9. Animality, Sexuality and the Abject in Three of Dunbar’s Satirical Poems
Anna Caughey

10. The Awful Passion of Pandarus
Cory James Rushton

11. Invisible Woman: Rape as a Chivalric Necessity in Medieval Romance
Amy N. Vines

For more information, please visit the publisher's website.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

CFP: 7th Global Conference: The Erotic

Tuesday 11th September – Thursday 13th September 2012

Mansfield College, Oxford

Call for Papers

Mapping the field of the erotic is a complex and frustrating endeavour; as something which permeates lived experience, interpersonal relationships, intellectual reflection, aesthetic tastes and sensibilities, the erotic is clearly multi-layered and requires a plethora of approaches, insights and perspectives if we are to better to understand, appreciate and define it.

This inter- and trans- disciplinary project seeks to explore critical issues in relation to eroticism and the erotic through its history, its emergence in human development, both individual and phylogenetic, as well as its expression in national and cultural histories across the world, including issues of transgression and censorship. The project will also explore erotic imagination and its representation in art, art history, literature, film and music. These explorations inevitably touch on the relationship between sexualities, gender and bodies, along with questions concerning the perverse, fetishism and fantasy, pornography and obscenity.

Papers, presentations, workshops and pre-formed panels are also invited on any of the following themes:

* the erotic and identity

* disability, ethnicity, gender, class and eroticism

* the erotic in education and the education of the erotic

* eroticism in popular culture and media: cinema, tv, theatre, radio, newspapers and magazines, the internet in all its forms

* the erotic in literature and on the screen exploitative eroticism, e.g., pornography

* the erotic, ethics and philosophy the eroticised (or de-eroticised) body

* absence, control and excess of the erotic

* the erotic and sexuality: is there a difference, and if so, what? the erotic in representation

* the erotic and (post- neo-)colonialism

* eroticism in the making of the exotic

* the erotic in mythology

* the erotic and the non-human’ (vampires, zombies, cyborgs, etc)

* eroticism and technology: sex toys and other turn-ons

This project will run concurrently with our project on Monsters and the Monstrous – we welcome any papers considering the problems or addressing issues on Monsters and The Erotic for a cross-over panel. We also welcome pre-formed panels on any aspect of the monstrous or in relation to crossover panel(s).

We welcome submissions from within specific disciplinary boundaries, but we are also particularly interested in interdisciplinary contributions that balance the scope of insight that disciplines bring with the limitations that disciplinary boundaries create in failing to recognise cross-disciplinary connections, which neglect important historical and cultural perspectives on the development of the ‘erotic’ as a locus of attention. Consequently, we are particularly keen to encourage submissions that are not subsumed within disciplines, but cut across and between disciplinary vocabularies to provide new synergies, domains and inter-disciplinary possibilities. We warmly welcome proposals which go beyond traditional paper presentations and encompass also panels, performances and workshops.

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 16th March 2012. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 22nd June 2012.

Abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords

E-mails should be entitled: The Erotic Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). Please note that a Book of Abstracts is planned for the end of the year. All accepted abstracts will be included in this publication. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:

Natalia Kaloh Vid
University of Maribor,

Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Network Leader
Freeland, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

The conference is part of the Gender and Sexuality series of research projects, which in turn belong to the At the Interface programmes of Inter-Disciplinary.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore discussions which are innovative and challenging. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.

For further details of the project, please click here.

For further details of the conference, please click here.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2012: Gender and Punishment

Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester
11-13 January 2012

Registration is now open for GMS 2012: Gender and Punishment. Click here to register or here to visit the conference website.


Wednesday 11 January

12:45-1:45pm: Registration (Foyer)

1:45pm: Welcome and Opening Remarks by Dr. Anke Bernau (University of Manchester) (John Thaw Studio Theatre)

2-3:30pm: Keynote Lecture (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: Professor Gale Owen-Crocker (University of Manchester)
Professor Dawn Hadley (University of Sheffield): Masculinity and Mass Graves in Anglo-Saxon England

3:30-4pm: Coffee (Foyer)

4-5:30pm: Parallel Sessions

Panel 1a: Torture and Spectacle (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: TBC
(i) David Matthews (University of Manchester): “Take example, and thereof beware”: The Medieval Execution Ritual
(ii) Megan Welton (University of Notre Dame): Diversis angustiata cruciatibus: Adelheid of Italy and Tenth-Century Capture, Torture, and Gender
(iii) Iain MacInnes (UHI Centre for History): “A somewhat too cruel vengeance was taken for the blood of the slain”: punishment of rebels and traitors in medieval Scotland, c.1100-c.1400

Panel 1b: Holy Women and Punishment (G16)
Chair: TBC
(i) Jessica Cheetham (University of Bristol): Mechthild of Magdeburg and Vicarious Punishment
(ii) Clare Monagle (Monash University): Authority and Punishment in the Letters of Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena
(iii) Kate E. Bush (The Catholic University of America): Cani Giudei: Anti-Semitism in the Sermons of Saint Catherine of Bologna

5:30pm: Close

6pm: Wine reception at International Anthony Burgess Foundation (Engine House, Cambridge Street)


Thursday 12 January

9:30-11am: Parallel Sessions

Panel 2a: Space and Punishment (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: TBC
(i) Sergi Sancho Fibla (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Marguerite d’Oingt’s Pagina Meditationum. The female hell for the “brothers of flies”
(ii) Polly Stevens Fields (University of Nevada, Reno): Reconsideration of Hrothwissa’s Convent Dramas: Source and Site of Female Punishment in Paphnutius
(iii) Kristin Distel (Ashland University): Holy Fear as Incentive for Enclosure

Panel 2b: Presence and Absence in Punishment (G16)
Chair: TBC
(i) Drew Maxwell (University of Edinburgh): “Traytur untrew and trowthles”: Women's roles as punishers and teachers in the concept of trowth within Ywain and Gawain and Sir Launfal
(ii) Hannah Priest (University of Manchester): “De l’altre part la dame a prise”: Hiding Punitive Violence Against Women in Insular Romance
(iii) Carl G. Martin (Norwich University): “Par destresce e par poür”: Bisclavret’s Constrained Bodies

11-11:30am: Coffee (Foyer)

11:30-1pm: Parallel Sessions

Panel 3a: Law and Punishment (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: TBC
(i) Daniela Fruscione (University of Frankfurt): Adultery, gender and punishment in the 7th century: Legal and social frames
(ii) Charlene M. Eska (Virginia Tech): Castration in Early Irish Law
(iii) Gillian R. Overing (Wake Forest University): Within Striking Distance: Gender, Insult and Injury in Some Anglo-Saxon Laws

Panel 3b: Virgins and Punishment (G16)
Chair: TBC
(i) Christine Williamson (University of York): The Moment of Death in the Passiones of the Virgin Martyrs: Exploring Gendered Forms of Execution in Medieval Hagiography
(ii) Sarah Schäfer (University of Paderborn): “Letting Satan in…” On teeth, tongues, throats and symbolic defloration in Female Saints’ Legends
(iii) Stavroula Constantinou (University of Cyprus): Holy Violence: Crime and Punishment in the Miracles of Saint Thecla

1-2pm: Lunch (Foyer)

2-3:30pm: Parallel Sessions

Panel 4a: Punitive Scripts of Selfhood (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: TBC
(i) Emily Rhodes (University of Bristol): Punishment & Imitatio Christi: Medieval Holy Women Creating Purgatory
(ii) Sarah Macmillan (University of Birmingham): Punishment, Pain and the Invisible Injuries of Christina Mirabilis
(iii) Michelle M. Sauer (University of North Dakota): Devotional Violence and Sacred Sacrifice: Asceticism, Flagellation, and Penetration in A Talkyng of the Loue of Gode

Panel 4b: Gendered Punishment (G16)
Chair: TBC
(i) Rachel Jones (Cardiff University): Punishing the Unruly Female Saint: The Anomalous Case of Mary Magdalene
(ii) Inna Matyushina (University of Exeter): Punishments in Chastity Tests
(iii) Anastasija Ropa and Edgar Rops (University of Wales, Bangor): Gender specific punishment in the ‘Queste del Saint Graal’ and contemporary legal practice

3:30-4pm: Coffee (Foyer)

4-5:30pm: Keynote Lecture (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: Dr. Anke Bernau (University of Manchester)
Professor Karen Pratt (King’s College, London): Does the punishment fit the crime, or only the person? The intersection of gender, class and punishment in Old French

5:30pm: Close

7pm: Conference Dinner at Felicini (Oxford Road)


Friday 13 January

9:30-11am: Parallel Sessions

Panel 5a: Uncanny Bodies and Punishment (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: TBC
(i) Stephen Gordon (University of Manchester): Post-Mortem Punishment and the Fear of the Errant Corpse in Writings of William of Newburgh
(ii) Patricia Skinner (University of Swansea): The Gendered Nose and its Lack – some thoughts on medieval rhinectomy
(iii) Katja Fält (University of Jyväskylä, Finland): Men, Women and Devils - Representations of Gender and the Diabolic in the Late-Medieval Wall Paintings of the Diocese of Turku (Finland)

Panel 5b: Discipline and Punish (G16)
Chair: TBC
(i) Kathy Frances (University of Manchester): Penance and Punishment: The Male Body and Masculine Bonds in John Audelay the Blind’s Counsel of Conscience
(ii) Frank Battaglia (College of Staten Island/CUNY): Boys Should Be Heroes: Beowulf’s disciplinary discourse
(iii) Rachel Friedensen (Western Michigan University): Si invita passa est: Consent and Gender in Anglo-Saxon and Frankish Penitentials
11-11:30am Coffee (Foyer)

11:30-12:30pm: Panel 6: Timely Punishment (John Thaw Studio Theatre)
Chair: TBC
(i) Beverly R. Sherringham (Farmingdale State College, New York): The Graceful Fall: Medieval Misogyny as a Redemptive Precursor to an Egalitarian Society
(ii) Daisy Black (University of Manchester): Troublesome Flotsam: Verbal Resurrections of a Drowned Past

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch (Foyer)

1:30-2:30pm: GMS Business Meeting (G16)

3-4:15pm: Optional Workshops

(i) John Rylands Library Manuscript Collections (John Rylands Library, Deansgate)
(ii) The Heronbridge Skeletons (led by Dr. Bryan Sitch) (Manchester Museum, Oxford Road)

4:15pm Conference Close


Registration is now open. Click here to register. For more information, visit the conference website or the University of Manchester website, or email the conference convenors.

Monday, 23 August 2010

More Tweenage She-Wolves...

Following on from my post on Mattel's Monster High dolls, here's another she-wolf for the tweens - this time brought to us by the good folks at Disney.

Wizards of Waverly Place was created for the Disney Channel in 2007. Now in its third series, the show focuses on the three Russo siblings - Alex, Justin and Max - who are the children of a former wizard and a mortal. They live in Manhattan, and juggle keeping their wizard life a secret while living as normal American teens. Sound familiar? It's pretty hard not to think Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Hannah Montana. And like its predecessors, the show is proving a huge hit with its pre-teen/tween audience. The first film was made in 2009, and a sequel has recently been announced. The 10-12 year olds that I teach tell me that Selena Gomez, the show's star, is rapidly replacing Miley Cyrus in their affections.

The episode that interests me here is Season 2, Episode 2: Beware Wolf. The episode begins with Justin (David Henrie) announcing that he is going on a blind date with a girl he has met on 'WizFace' (the social networking site for wizards). His family warn him not to do it, as the last girl he met on WizFace turned out to be a centaur. Nevertheless, a knock on the door reveals Isabella (Sarah Ramos) - an apparently 'cute' and normal young woman. Isabella and Justin immediately hit it off - much to the annoyance of Justin's sister Alex (Gomez). But Isabella is not what she seems. When Justin leaves the room, she takes Alex's jumper in her mouth and plays with it like a dog. Later, she laps water out of glass, and then bounds around a park, catching frisbees and selling 'hello' to everyone she sees.

Isabella, you see, is a werewolf. And when Justin kisses her, he becomes a werewolf too. His sister laughs; he is terrified; Isabella takes it all in her stride, casually dismissing everything Justin thinks he knows about werewolves as a 'stereotype'.

So what can we make of the Disney Channel's female werewolf? At first glance, she appears to be a completely domesticated she-wolf. Isabella's 'werewolf' characteristics manifest entirely in behaviour suited to a pet dog. When Alex suggests that she-wolves eat their human mates, Isabella tells her that this is a misconception: werewolves are actually 'very loving' (said as she nuzzles Justin like a friendly puppy). She then warns Justin that one of the main dangers of being a werewolf is 'chasing cars'.

When Justin is told that he is now a werewolf, he screams and falls behind a sofa. Stretching his hands (in a gesture reminiscent of the transformation scene in An American Werewolf in London), he prepares himself for what he thinks will be a painful metamorphosis. Isabella laughs condescendingly and tells him that actually transformation is quick and painless (and, as she later points out, nothing to do with the full moon). Hey presto - both Justin and Isabella are suddenly in 'werewolf' form.

This transformation apparently simply entails the two characters gaining some extra fur and remarkably dog-like face paint. Unsurprisingly (this is a Disney Channel family show after all), their clothes are undamaged. But more strikingly, their personalities/memories/thought processes are utterly unchanged. Justin acquires no particularly lycanthropic tendencies, apart from the habit of leaping up onto rocks and elonging 'ooooo' syllables at the end of words. Isabella is not changed at all, except for becoming slightly more hirsute and acquiring a puppy-like black nose.

And yet - there is something about this episode that, I would argue, links Isabella with a particular tradition of presenting the female werewolf. Note the major change that this show makes to the werewolf mythos - it is not the bite of the werewolf that transforms Justin: it's the kiss. Of course, the kiss is a chaste peck on the cheek (again - this is Disney), but as soon as Justin accepts a, shall we say, less than platonic relationship with the she-wolf, he is lost. So the troublesome sexuality of the female werewolf rears its head again, albeit in a saccharine, sanitized form. We might also remember here that Clawdeen Wolf, Mattel's shop-til-you-drop 'wolf in chic clothing', includes 'flirting with boys' as one of her interests. A glance at the other Monster High characters reveals that it is only the werewolf who is so upfront about her emerging sexuality: the vampire is a pink clothes-loving 'girly-girl'; the mummy has a steady boyfriend; the zombie is studious and wears 'nerd glasses'. Clawdeen is 'fierce', wears micro miniskirts and cropped tops, and opening announces her interest in boys. It should be remembered here that Wizards of Waverly Place's Isabella was first encountered by Justin as he looked through the 'World Wide Wiz-Web' for girls who wanted to date boys.

That this episode of Wizards of Waverly Place contains a subtle warning about the female of the species is made clear by the final lesson that Justin learns. Having been told expressly by his parents not to contact girls on WizFace, he is forced to admit that they were right, before his father will give him the cure for werewolfism. He is mocked by his whole family and repeatedly told that the girls he will meet on social networking sites will not be what they seem. In the final scene, the centaur girl (who seems lovely and totally interested in getting to know Justin, despite the fact that she is half horse) returns to ask for a second date. However, Justin has learnt his lesson - and runs away as quickly as he can.

So, the Disney Channel reminds its young viewers that meeting people on social networking sites is dangerous. Particularly, it warns young men that the women they meet may well turn out to be monsters - and that they should never ever kiss them. The fact that they have chosen a female werewolf to deliver this message reveals that the unsettling sexualization of the female werewolf lives on for another generation. Isabella (and Clawdeen) are the new breed of tweenage she-wolves. I just can't work out if they'll grow up to be Veruca from Buffy, Carrie from Sex and the City, or some horrifying hybrid of the two.

Why do I have the disturbing sensation that we'll soon be finding out?

Watch Season 2, Episode 2: Beware Wolf of Wizards of Waverly Place on You Tube.

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank my Yr. 5 pupil, Amy Ninian, for pointing me towards this episode of Wizards of Waverly Place.