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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1308: Challenging Our Perceptions of Women in the Middle Ages and Beyond

Wednesday 12 July 2006, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Elisabeth Salter, Institute for Medieval & Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) / Department of English Literature & Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University
Paper 1308-aThe Annunciation and the Virgin Mary: A Feminist Reading
(Language: English)
Ann-Catrine Eriksson, Department of History & Theory of Art, Umeå Universitet
Index terms: Art History - General, Art History - Painting, Women’s Studies
Paper 1308-bCuriouser and Curiouser: Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice (née?) Perrers
(Language: English)
Candace Robb, Independent Scholar, Seattle
Index terms: Archives and Sources, Economics - Trade, Political Thought, Women’s Studies
Paper 1308-cThe Persistence of the Medieval Male Perspective
(Language: English)
Berit Åström, Department of Language Studies, Umeå Universitet
Index terms: Gender Studies, Sexuality, Women’s Studies

Abstract paper -a: Marina Warner states in her study of the cult and myth of the Virgin Mary: 'She was the culmination of womanhood' (Warner, Alone of all her Sex,1976, p.xx). The paper 'The Annunciation and Virgin Mary' presents the motif of the Annunciation and Virgin Mary from a feminist point of view, since I believe that by doing a feminist reading of how the Virgin Mary is portrayed in this particular motif, we can get an understanding of how this 'culmination of womanhood' was presented in different historical and geographical contexts.

Abstract paper -b: Alice Perrers was a major figure of Edward III's reign about whom we know little - a challenge to a novelist who strives for historical accuracy. After using her as a character in several of my crime novels, I set out to write a novel of her life. Work progressed smoothly until I found a fact that turned much of my research on its head: 'Perrers' was Alice's married name, not her maiden name. This negates all the old theories of her origins and changes her social status in interesting ways. In this paper I discuss the implications of this new information.

Abstract paper -c: In her work The Persistence of Medievalism, Angela Weisl has looked at how narrative features in medieval culture are echoed in modern popular culture. Making use of her framework, I look at how the male perspective in medieval texts revolving around sexual exploitation of women is echoed in present-day texts. The texts studied are the medieval versions of Livy's tale of Virginia and Apuleius, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Mission Impossible 2. In each instance, the audience is invited to empathise with a father or lover, rather than with the threatened woman. Despite societal changes, the male perspective persists.