Constructions of Women Warriors in Medieval Eurasia (proposal due; 9/15/2012)
The construction and historicization of the Amazonian type women warriors have generated a long legacy in both Western and Eastern cultures. Either as grotesque feminine other without breasts (such as depicted by Herodotus, Hippocratic Treatises, and Apollodorus) or as heroic women paragons to be emulated (such as China's most famous Mulan), these women warriors were mirrors of the patriarchal societies that constructed them.The ancient world's literary impulse to construct these women warriors and women's kingdoms continued in the Middle Ages. Examples can be found in the writings of Boccaccio, Chaucer, De Pizan, and travel writings of Mandeville and Marco Polo. In the East, "women's kingdom" continued to evolve in Chinese literature and historiography.
This year (2012) at the Medieval Congress, we had two well-attended sessions exploring the appropriation and transformation of these cultural impulses of constructing women warriors in medieval Eurasia. The interdisciplinary and East-West approaches of these two panels were well-received and generated much interests to continue the discussion and exchange. A small ad-hoc group was formed after the second session.
Representing this small group, I wish to propose two more sessions for next year so that we can extend the forum and reach out to more scholars. Our goal is to collect enough papers from these sessions to form an anthology.