Session Title

The Beast with Two Backs

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Monsters: The Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory and Practical Application (MEARCSTAPA)

Organizer Name

Asa Simon Mittman, Jacqueline Stuhmiller

Organizer Affiliation

California State Univ.-Chico, Univ. of California-Berkeley

Presider Name

Jacqueline Stuhmiller

Paper Title 1

Beastly Desires: Heteronormative Correctives in Marie de France's Guigemar, Bisclavret, and Yonec

Presenter 1 Name

L. Kip Wheeler

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Carson-Newman Univ.

Paper Title 2

Bestiality, Bodies, and Boundaries in Medieval Scandinavia

Presenter 2 Name

Christine Ekholst

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Guelph

Paper Title 3

Show Us Your Naughty Bits: Signs of Erasure in Monstrously Erotic Mélusine Images

Presenter 3 Name

Lydia Zeldenrust

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Queen Mary, Univ. of London

Start Date

15-5-2016 8:30 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1160

Description

According to medieval religious mores and doctrines, married heterosexual couples were only allowed to have sex in certain positions, under certain circumstances, and for certain reasons. Any sexual practices that did not conform to these strict rules were sinful and beastly – in a word, monstrous. MEARCSTAPA invites papers that are occupied with monstrous medieval sex, broadly interpreted. Possible topics could range from illicit unions, non­normative sexual positions, and sexual violence all the way to what we would today consider to be “paraphilias,” including teratophilia (a sexual attraction to monsters or the monstrous) itself. Sources of monstrous sex might include records of homosexual relationships, legal records regarding marriage with intersex individuals, prostitution, sexual acts associated with witchcraft, possible cases of child abuse, and punishments meted out in penitential manuals, the sexual play within fabliaux, charivaris, Carnival, and the representation of all manners of couplings in the images of Gothic marginalia, carved misericords, and other sites of visual play.

What acts were defined as “monstrous,” and was this definition consistent across or within cultures? How did people describe, explain, excuse, punish, and/or celebrate sexual monstrosity? Was monstrous sex always depicted negatively, or was it sometimes seen as benign or even positive?

Asa S. Mittman

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May 15th, 8:30 AM

The Beast with Two Backs

Schneider 1160

According to medieval religious mores and doctrines, married heterosexual couples were only allowed to have sex in certain positions, under certain circumstances, and for certain reasons. Any sexual practices that did not conform to these strict rules were sinful and beastly – in a word, monstrous. MEARCSTAPA invites papers that are occupied with monstrous medieval sex, broadly interpreted. Possible topics could range from illicit unions, non­normative sexual positions, and sexual violence all the way to what we would today consider to be “paraphilias,” including teratophilia (a sexual attraction to monsters or the monstrous) itself. Sources of monstrous sex might include records of homosexual relationships, legal records regarding marriage with intersex individuals, prostitution, sexual acts associated with witchcraft, possible cases of child abuse, and punishments meted out in penitential manuals, the sexual play within fabliaux, charivaris, Carnival, and the representation of all manners of couplings in the images of Gothic marginalia, carved misericords, and other sites of visual play.

What acts were defined as “monstrous,” and was this definition consistent across or within cultures? How did people describe, explain, excuse, punish, and/or celebrate sexual monstrosity? Was monstrous sex always depicted negatively, or was it sometimes seen as benign or even positive?

Asa S. Mittman