IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 508: Lesbian Studies and the Premodern: At the Intersections, I - Historiography

Tuesday 11 July 2006, 09.00-10.30

Organisers:Noreen Giffney, Women's Studies, University College Dublin
Diane Watt, Department of English Literature & Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University
Moderator/Chair:Diane Watt, Department of English Literature & Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University
Paper 508-bThe Present Future of Lesbian Historiography
(Language: English)
Valerie Traub, Department of English, University of Michigan
Index terms: Gender Studies, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Sexuality, Women’s Studies
Paper 508-cQueer History and Erotic Reading
(Language: English)
Lara Farina, Department of English, West Virginia University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Sexuality, Women’s Studies
Abstract

This session focuses on historiographical and theoretical issues pertaining to the writing of histories of same-sex affective and sexual desires between women. Carla Freccero asks what alternatives to reproductive futurity (to use Lee Edelman’s term) and its variations (progressivist history, germination metaphors, developmental narratives tout court) might we forge or might already be available for queering (our relation to) historical time? Valerie Traub’s presentation will suggest some future directions for lesbian historiography, and, in an effort to infuse the practice of lesbian history with greater methodological self-consciousness, she will identify certain perennial concerns about female-female desire, bodies, and eroticism that have slipped into and out of historical view. Lara Farina will argue that histories of medieval sexuality have failed to account for the very act of reading as a sexual practice. She insists that by shifting our attention from a search for the explicit representation of sexual acts to the erotic nature of reading routines, a new appreciation of early English devotional sexuality becomes possible.