IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 626: 'Diana and all her sect': Remembering Women Warriors, II

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship
Organisers:Sophie Harwood, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Roberta Magnani, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
Amy Louise Morgan, School of Literature & Languages, University of Surrey
Moderator/Chairs:Natasha Ruth Hodgson, School of Arts & Humanities, Nottingham Trent University
Shazia Jagot, School of Literature & Languages, University of Surrey
Paper 626-aIdentity Crisis: The Polyvalency of Gender and Race in Aucassin et Nicolette
(Language: English)
Alison Williams, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan
Paper 626-bZenobia, East and West
(Language: English)
Anna Klosowska, Department of French & Italian, Miami University, Ohio
Index terms: Gender Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Women's Studies
Paper 626-cDiana's Sect: Amazon Queens between East and West
(Language: English)
Roberta Magnani, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Military History, Women's Studies
Abstract

The trope of the warrior woman, whether literary construct or historical figure, has been harnessed throughout medieval culture as a technology of memory, that is, as a way of recuperating but also policing, female-coded historiographies in which women’s agency can be imagined and performed. Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, Diana, the goddess of the hunt, the biblical Judith, Zenobia and Semiramis, among many others, function as epistemological paradigms which recast not only roles traditionally assigned to women in political and military conflicts, but also conventional histories of warfare and cultural difference. The liminality of these warrior women, as women occupying a masculine space and often the labile confines between East and West, also translates into a reassessment of the geographical and cultural boundaries between civilisations, in particular between white Christianity as default dominant identity and the constructed alterity of other racial and religious subject position. Remembering and reappropriating women warriors allows therefore the performance of these boundaries, at times to reinforce them and at times to unsettle them.