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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1110: Bodily Dimensions: Sensual and Supernatural Borders, II

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Jack Ford, Department of History, University College London
Moderator/Chair:Vanessa da Silva Baptista, Department of History University College London
Paper 1110-aThe Transformative Touch: Powerful Objects and the Body in the Late Medieval Period
(Language: English)
Heather Taylor, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Studies (MEMS) University of Kent
Index terms: Medicine, Social History
Paper 1110-bMagical Bodies: The Use and Abuse of the Body in Medieval Spells
(Language: English)
Tabitha Stanmore, Department of History, University of Bristol
Index terms: Medicine, Social History
Paper 1110-cTransgressive Blood in Dante's Comedy
(Language: English)
Anne C. Leone, Department of Languages Literatures & Linguistics Syracuse University New York
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Italian, Medicine, Religious Life

Skin, blood, hair, and limbs were overlooked yet significant substances and organs for medieval contemporaries. The papers in this session show how these bodily members were inverted within the medieval imagination: touch, viewed as the lowliest of the five senses, allowed the channelling of divine power through sacred objects; the magical practitioner could choose both to ritually cleanse their body or desecrate and defile it; and for Dante, blood transgresses boundaries - transcending its physicality as a bodily fluid, blood helps to define the communities of the Church and body politic while also representing the violence occurring within them.