Seminar: The Middle Ages


This course will investigate historical understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality in Western European culture from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. We will focus on questions of sexual difference, nature and nurture, the existence (or non-existence) of cultural "norms," the emergence of identity tied to erotic desire, sexual power dynamics and consent, and depictions of transgender and non-binary people. Our primary readings will emphasize literary works, but these will be continuous with texts emerging from medical, legal, and religious discourses. How contingent or intractable are understandings of gender and sexuality in medieval culture, and how do they shift within contexts of class, race, and religion? We will read lives of saints, a romance about a transgender youth (Heldris of Cornwall's Silence), mystical visions of erotic union with Christ, and works by Hildegard of Bingen, Geoffrey Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, and more.
Course Attributes:

Section 01

Seminar: The Middle Ages
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