Forces of Nature: Liberating Women in the Middle Ages, NeMLA, April 3-6, 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Christiana Purdy Moudarres

Forces of Nature: Liberating Women in the Middle Ages

In 1361, Boccaccio began compiling the first collection of biographies in post-classical Western literature devoted exclusively to women, De mulieribus claribus (On Famous Women). The work has often been regarded as a milestone in attitudes toward women in the Middle Ages, a period much maligned for its misogyny. As early as the twelfth century, however, debates over the very nature of the female body call for a more nuanced understanding of medieval womanhood, a topic which this panel will engage by focusing on writings by and/or about medieval women within Western Europe, historical and/or fictional, religious and/or secular. In doing so, this session will provide a window onto what remains an overlooked tradition. Did the historical circumstances of Boccaccio's famous work mark the beginning of the querelle des femmes or the end of an unwritten chapter?
Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to by September 30, 2013.