Session Title

Women and the Sensory in Medieval Art

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Pamela A. Patton, Julie A. Harris

Organizer Affiliation

Southern Methodist Univ., Speruts Institute

Presider Name

Pamela A. Patton

Paper Title 1

Gender and the Senses in the Carolingian Era: Prudentius of Troyes’s Sermo de vita Maurae

Presenter 1 Name

William Diebold

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Reed College

Paper Title 2

Beautiful Flesh: Uta from Naumburg and the Clash of Medieval and Modern Perceptions of Attractiveness

Presenter 2 Name

Na'ama Shulman (Congress Travel Award Winner)

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Tel Aviv Univ.

Paper Title 3

"Black is the new black": Clothing and Misbehavior in Medieval Toledo

Presenter 3 Name

Julie A. Harris

Start Date

10-5-2014 10:00 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 213

Description

Women and the Sensory in Medieval Art

Throughout the medieval world, women were perceived as closely linked to the bodily senses, not just because of their own supposed sensitivity to sensory experience, but also for the strong sensory reactions they were thought to provoke in men. As Marc Bloch and others have argued, such associations drew upon larger notions, largely crafted by male Classical and medieval thinkers who were themselves strongly wary of the sensory, that linked women with carnality and sensory pleasure and men with reason and sensory restraint. The same ideas also infused medieval works of art produced in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures alike. This session examines the relationship between women and the senses as it is set out in such works, asking: how do traditional perceptions of the intersection between women and the sensory shape medieval images and objects? How did such perceptions and their visual expression vary among disparate medieval cultures, periods, and places? How did such works correspond to the lived experience of medieval women? To what extent did women share the male-generated notion that the senses were a domain special to them?

Pamela A. Patton

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May 10th, 10:00 AM

Women and the Sensory in Medieval Art

Bernhard 213

Women and the Sensory in Medieval Art

Throughout the medieval world, women were perceived as closely linked to the bodily senses, not just because of their own supposed sensitivity to sensory experience, but also for the strong sensory reactions they were thought to provoke in men. As Marc Bloch and others have argued, such associations drew upon larger notions, largely crafted by male Classical and medieval thinkers who were themselves strongly wary of the sensory, that linked women with carnality and sensory pleasure and men with reason and sensory restraint. The same ideas also infused medieval works of art produced in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures alike. This session examines the relationship between women and the senses as it is set out in such works, asking: how do traditional perceptions of the intersection between women and the sensory shape medieval images and objects? How did such perceptions and their visual expression vary among disparate medieval cultures, periods, and places? How did such works correspond to the lived experience of medieval women? To what extent did women share the male-generated notion that the senses were a domain special to them?

Pamela A. Patton