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IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 509: Gendering Heresy, II: Women and the Inquisition

Tuesday 14 July 2009, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Michelle M. Sauer, Department of English, University of North Dakota
Paper 509-aThe Lauragais Heretics and the Gender Paradigm
(Language: English)
Yvette Debergue, Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney
Index terms: Gender Studies, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 509-bMargery Kempe: Shrewd Speech and Canon Law
(Language: English)
Arvind Thomas, Department of English, Fordham University
Index terms: Canon Law, Language and Literature - Middle English, Sexuality, Women's Studies

This session focuses on the place and treatment of women in inquisitorial records.

Paper -a:
This paper will draw on my recently submitted PhD Dissertation that examines the different ways that men and women responded to the arrival of the heretical sect to the Languedoc in the first half of the 13th century. Previous studies have emphasized the different ways that women and men participated in the sect, as supporters and also as good women and good men. This paper will demonstrate the different ways that women and men reacted and responded to family members who chose to undertake the consolamen. Responses ranged from unconditional support to outright rebuff. Additionally this paper will establish that these reactions can be predicated and traced along gender lines.

Paper -b:
In The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery the protagonist frequently attracts charges of unorthodoxy. Clerics attack her for articulating her visions and meditations. What enables Margery to speak without fear of legal reprisal? What empowers her to refute the charges of heresy leveled against her? In my paper, I shall argue that Margery mobilizes the juridical procedures of canon law to ensure that her communion with God, her practice of sexual continence, and her frequent pilgrimage rest on such firm legal grounds that they emerge as unquestionably orthodox especially when examined by her clerical prosecutors.