Session Title

Medieval(ist) Bodies and Boundaries (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Karra Shimabukuro

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of New Mexico

Presider Name

Maggie M. Williams

Presider Affiliation

William Paterson Univ./Material Collective

Paper Title 1

“A Forest on the Flat Earth”: Forms, Reformations, and a Forest of Roods

Presenter 1 Name

Richard Ford Burley

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Boston College

Paper Title 2

Crossing Boundaries to Reclaim the Female Body: An Autobiographical Engagement with a Medieval Saint's Torture Marks

Presenter 2 Name

Nicole Nyffenegger

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. Bern

Paper Title 3

Torture and Tattoos: The Duality of Narratives

Presenter 3 Name

Karra Shimabukuro

Paper Title 4

Communal Bodies and Permeable Boundaries

Presenter 4 Name

Karen Eileen Overbey

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Tufts Univ.

Start Date

11-5-2017 1:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 1360

Description

In hagiographies the saint’s story--his or her narrative--is written on the body, sometimes in the form of blessed marks, more often through the marks of torture suffered for the faith. Similarly, we medievalists record our histories, traumas, and passions on our bodies in the form of tattoos. Both the saints’ marks and our body art can be hidden or visible, private or public. These imprints also cross boundaries, countering expectations and norms, inhabiting the margins, and often being seen as transgressions. How can we apply these ideas--of transgression, marking, scarring, and marginality--to exploring contemporary tattoos in tandem with medieval corporeal marks? How too can these threads open or contribute to current conversations about performance, feminism, agency, materiality, and narrative?

This roundtable encourages an interdisciplinary discussion of how the textual history of marked saints’ bodies and the material record of academics’ tattoos can inform one another. Presentations might consider the similarities between manuscript pages and tattoo designs; the fact that both vellum and parchment are literal skin being written/drawn on; or the ways the content of each type of mark is informed by the form and format of the body part or the page. We welcome autobiographical discussions of tattooed bodies, and we encourage alternative forms of presenting. This roundtable aims to explore the intersection between the way that medievalists display their narratives through body art, and the ways that medieval saints’ lives were written on the body.

Karra Shimabukuro

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May 11th, 1:30 PM

Medieval(ist) Bodies and Boundaries (A Roundtable)

Schneider 1360

In hagiographies the saint’s story--his or her narrative--is written on the body, sometimes in the form of blessed marks, more often through the marks of torture suffered for the faith. Similarly, we medievalists record our histories, traumas, and passions on our bodies in the form of tattoos. Both the saints’ marks and our body art can be hidden or visible, private or public. These imprints also cross boundaries, countering expectations and norms, inhabiting the margins, and often being seen as transgressions. How can we apply these ideas--of transgression, marking, scarring, and marginality--to exploring contemporary tattoos in tandem with medieval corporeal marks? How too can these threads open or contribute to current conversations about performance, feminism, agency, materiality, and narrative?

This roundtable encourages an interdisciplinary discussion of how the textual history of marked saints’ bodies and the material record of academics’ tattoos can inform one another. Presentations might consider the similarities between manuscript pages and tattoo designs; the fact that both vellum and parchment are literal skin being written/drawn on; or the ways the content of each type of mark is informed by the form and format of the body part or the page. We welcome autobiographical discussions of tattooed bodies, and we encourage alternative forms of presenting. This roundtable aims to explore the intersection between the way that medievalists display their narratives through body art, and the ways that medieval saints’ lives were written on the body.

Karra Shimabukuro