Session Title

Vices and Virtues: Gender, Subversion, and Moralizing Discourses

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Jacob Doss; Matthew Vanderpoel

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Texas-Austin; Univ. of Chicago

Presider Name

Matthew Vanderpoel

Paper Title 1

Chrétien's Economies of Shame

Presenter 1 Name

Ryan Smith

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. at Buffalo

Paper Title 2

Luxury and Luxuria: Gendering Jewelry in the Late Middle Ages

Presenter 2 Name

Sophie Ong

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Rutgers Univ.

Paper Title 3

Herrad of Hohenbourg's Interpretation of Conrad of Hirsau's System of Vices and Virtues: Women and Men as Authors and Audiences

Presenter 3 Name

Cheryl Goggin

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Southern Mississippi

Paper Title 4

Gendering Florilegia: Vice, Virtue, and Making Monastic Language

Presenter 4 Name

Jacob Doss

Start Date

12-5-2019 8:30 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1275

Description

Significant watersheds in medieval Christianity have often entailed the reconceptualization of notions of vice and virtue and of gender. From the twelfth-century "renaissance" and "reformation," amid the thirteenth-century "pastoral revolution," and after the rediscovery of Aristotle, these two conceptual categories formed a mutually influential discourse. However, much of the scholarship on the development of discourses of vice and virtue has not incorporated gender as a central category of analysis, outside of specific case studies, if at all. Where gender has been addressed vice and virtue has often been treated primarily as an egalitarian, gender-neutral discourse. Certainly, on one level, one's susceptibility to vice or the development of virtue was not the domain of one or another gender, but this did not stop medieval people from creatively deploying these concepts in gendered terms. Despite this seemingly ambivalent relationship to gender, medieval Christians wielded virtue and vice to organize social hierarchies, construct theoretical and practical anthropologies, and, as in telling cases such as Prudentius' Psychomachia, to subvert gender binaries.

This panel will aim both to interrogate and theorize, broadly, the extent to which moralizing discourses concerning the vices and virtues incorporated notions of gender and vice versa. How does the gendering of specific personifications of vices and virtues reinforce and subvert medieval discourses about gender? How do normative commitments to gender roles and performances structure programmatic and didactic accounts of vice and virtue? To what extent does the intersection of vice and virtue with gendered language change between different religious or non-religious contexts, for example between monasteries, the universities, and popularizing works for the laity, or in the politics of the nobility? How may recent gender- and queer- theoretical thought equip us to interpret medieval writings on vice and virtue?

Jacob Doss, Matthew Vanderpoel

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May 12th, 8:30 AM

Vices and Virtues: Gender, Subversion, and Moralizing Discourses

Schneider 1275

Significant watersheds in medieval Christianity have often entailed the reconceptualization of notions of vice and virtue and of gender. From the twelfth-century "renaissance" and "reformation," amid the thirteenth-century "pastoral revolution," and after the rediscovery of Aristotle, these two conceptual categories formed a mutually influential discourse. However, much of the scholarship on the development of discourses of vice and virtue has not incorporated gender as a central category of analysis, outside of specific case studies, if at all. Where gender has been addressed vice and virtue has often been treated primarily as an egalitarian, gender-neutral discourse. Certainly, on one level, one's susceptibility to vice or the development of virtue was not the domain of one or another gender, but this did not stop medieval people from creatively deploying these concepts in gendered terms. Despite this seemingly ambivalent relationship to gender, medieval Christians wielded virtue and vice to organize social hierarchies, construct theoretical and practical anthropologies, and, as in telling cases such as Prudentius' Psychomachia, to subvert gender binaries.

This panel will aim both to interrogate and theorize, broadly, the extent to which moralizing discourses concerning the vices and virtues incorporated notions of gender and vice versa. How does the gendering of specific personifications of vices and virtues reinforce and subvert medieval discourses about gender? How do normative commitments to gender roles and performances structure programmatic and didactic accounts of vice and virtue? To what extent does the intersection of vice and virtue with gendered language change between different religious or non-religious contexts, for example between monasteries, the universities, and popularizing works for the laity, or in the politics of the nobility? How may recent gender- and queer- theoretical thought equip us to interpret medieval writings on vice and virtue?

Jacob Doss, Matthew Vanderpoel