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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 325: Learned and Heretical Women and Their Networks in the Islamic and Western Middle Ages

Monday 3 July 2023, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Victoria Turner, School of Modern Languages - French, University of St Andrews
Paper 325-aThe Place of Women in the Heretical Narratives of Languedoc, Lombardy, and the Rhineland in the 11th and 12th Centuries
(Language: English)
Robin Gatel, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Social History, Theology, Women's Studies
Paper 325-bChristine de Pizan's City of Ladies, 1405: A Proto-Feminist Network of Women
(Language: English)
Maria Yvonne Bancila, Facultatea de Limbi și Literaturi Străine, Universitatea din București
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan

Paper -a:
This paper focuses on the place of women in the heretical narratives of the 11th and 12th centuries across Languedoc, Lombardy, and the Rhineland. Unlike the 13th century where the number of heretical reports increased in size and diversity, this paper focuses on a period where the representation of dissidence was scarcer and relied on a multitude of smaller, sometimes nearly insignificant, accounts. It seeks to demonstrate how the presence of women could be used as an ideological tool to artificially exacerbate the importance of a group regarded as a spiritual threat to the church. This paper will also consider to what extent the mentioning of women should always be inserted within the local narratives and tropes of heresy as these two themes evolved in parallel.

Paper -b:
While Christine de Pizan herself, as a woman author, holds quite an unique place in the society of her times, with its well-established network of social roles she succeeded in transgressing, in her famous Cite des Dames (1405) she also creates her own network of women, as a narrative device that allows her to put forth notable tenets of a proto-feminist stance. Figures of heroines, scholars, saints, or mythological characters become the metaphorical building blocks of a city of ladies - thus turning into a spatial network of the architecture of this imagined city.