IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1505: Women at Sea, I

Thursday 6 July 2017, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Roberta Magnani, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
Moderator/Chair:Rachel E. Moss, Université de Paris I
Paper 1505-aBlack Andromeda: Manuscripts, Seascapes, and Race in Medieval France
(Language: English)
Anna Klosowska, Department of French & Italian, Miami University, Ohio
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Manuscripts and Palaeography
Paper 1505-bQueer Seas, Stranger Tides: Sea-Changing Bodies in the Digby Mary Magdalen Play
(Language: English)
Daisy Black, Department of English Language, TESOL & Applied Linguistics, Swansea University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Language and Literature - Middle English, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 1505-cChaucer's Watery Bodies and Bodies of Water
(Language: English)
Roberta Magnani, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 1505-d'That swerde ys myne': Queer Identity and Malory's Ladies of the Lake
(Language: English)
Amy Louise Morgan, School of Literature & Languages, University of Surrey
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Maritime and Naval Studies, Religious Life
Abstract

Tales of women at sea populate the realms of literature and history, as well as the shadowy space between fact and fiction. They call our attention to questions of agency and otherness. The sea can seem to be dominated by men in economic and martial terms, and the woman at sea is often set adrift by men who on land have ultimate power over her. But perhaps at sea, a woman enters a more generative and transformative space. The woman at sea is frequently unmoored, lost, vulnerable, her direction chosen by wind and fate. Yet the sea may also open up a more feminine, queer, imaginative space: the woman adrift in a place of transformation, negotiation and transition in which she can re-cast her sense of self. For women the sea is a space of otherness, but also a space where their identity can be imagined and performed. While the edge of the ocean is a boundary, the open sea seems boundless. It defies linearity. Thus, women in oceanic narratives can inhabit a different temporality than is available in narratives defined by land. They enter an exceptional space, a place where bodies need not be territories.