CFP: Theorizing Gender in Medieval Texts (9/15/05; Kalamazoo, 5/4/06-5/7/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Marla Segol
contact email:

Theory: The process of theorizing gender in medieval texts

This panel will be dedicated to exploring the process of theorizing =20
gender in medieval texts.
It will focus on some key questions inherent to this process, such as =20=

the politics of interpreting particular texts and artifacts, and of =20
relating those interpretations to prevailing constructions of history =20=

and/or culture.

When we read a text or an artifact we make some fundamental decisions =20=

about its nature and the social conditions that produced it. This =20
decision making process consists in part of determining the ways in =20
which it participates in its cultural milieu. Many of these =20
determinations are of necessity based in a dialectical, rather than a =20=

dialogical, or even a multivocal understanding of history and =20
culture. This dialectical process has been the ballast of those self-=20
designated =91realists=92 wishing to write women out of history. This =
has =20
been quite effective because as a matter of course a dialectical view =20=

of history stifles plurality, and smoothes over the distinctiveness =20
of the moment by forcing them to resolution in synthesis.

More often than not these problems are at the crux of debate on =20
reading gender in medieval texts. Because of the rewriting that has =20
occurred, the particular instance is of great importance to the study =20=

of women and gender in the middle ages. As feminist scholars =20
attempting to read against this sort of rewriting, we so often focus =20
on the moment at which conventional narratives (contemporaneous or =20
emended) break down to reveal a complexity in engenderment, or a =20
difference from our expectations. These moments are crucial for us, =20
in that they manifest some of the difference that has been smoothed =20
into Hegelian synthesis. At the same time, however, without the =91big =20=

picture=92 it is difficult to assess the significance of a particular =20=

instance. We must always wrestle with what we have received, and in =20
the act of theorizing gender and women=92s experiences, we attempt to =20=

connect the instance to the larger narrative. Given that the two are =20
interrelated, we tread continuously on slippery ground.
This panel will focus on these negotiations. I invite submissions =20
that specifically engage the process of theorizing gender and women=92s =20=

experiences. Individual papers might discuss in depth the process of =20
negotiating a particular instance crucial to our understanding of =20
women and gender in the middle ages, with special attention to the =20
ways in which we engaged big-picture constructs thought to govern =20
discourse on the subject. Some of these narrative constructs might =20
include the normalization of maleness, heterosexuality, Chrsitianity, =20=

and Europeanness. Alternatively, I invite papers exploring the ways =20
in which these =91rules=92 of interpretation are made.

Please send abstracts by September 5 to Marla Segol:

Marla Segol
2A52 Paterson Hall
Religion and Classics
Carleton University
1152 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1S 5B2 Canada

Marla Segol
Assistant Professor of Religion
Carleton University

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Fri Aug 12 2005 - 11:07:15 EDT

cfp categories: