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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 141: The Borders of Life and Death: The Supernatural World, I - The Medieval Undead

Monday 6 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Wellcome Collection
Organisers:Joanne Edge, Department of History & Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
Jude Seal, Independent Scholar, York
Moderator/Chair:Ruth Salter, Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Reading
Paper 141-a'Like man, like revenant': Gender Representations and Characteristics of Revenants in Historia rerum Anglicarum and Eyrbyggja saga
(Language: English)
Chris Latham, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Mentalities
Paper 141-bThe Pastoral Function of the Walking Corpse in the Sermons of John Mirk
(Language: English)
Stephen Gordon, School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, University of Manchester
Index terms: Folk Studies, Mentalities, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 141-c'Ravens and dogs and bears, oh my!': Shape-Shifting Walking Dead in Medieval English Texts
(Language: English)
Polina Ignatova, Department of History, Lancaster University
Index terms: Folk Studies, Hagiography, Mentalities

In the records and narratives of the Middle Ages, death was not only of huge significance, but also not necessarily as permanent as one might otherwise believe. These sessions will explore the borders between life and death: how did medieval people (in a broad geographical and chronological range) navigate the uncertainties and liminal spaces between the living and the dead, and between being alive and being dead? In what ways did medieval people conceptualise near death experiences? How did people attempt to predict their own death or that of others? In what ways did the rituals around death represent a syncretism of cultures as religious conversions spread through populations?