Session Title

Race and Racism in Hagiography

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Hagiography Society

Organizer Name

Felege-Selam Yirga

Organizer Affiliation

Ohio State Univ.

Presider Name

Felege-Selam Yirga

Paper Title 1

The Man of Law's Tale and Thomas Becket's Saracen Mother

Presenter 1 Name

Meriem Pagès

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Keene State College

Paper Title 2

The Ambivalence of Blackness as Portrayed in Sixteenth-Century Spanish Religious Iconography

Presenter 2 Name

María J. García Otero

Presenter 2 Affiliation

South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics

Paper Title 3

Racialized Flesh: The Creation of Saints Cosmas and Damian's "Miracle of the Black Leg"

Presenter 3 Name

Laura Ingallinella

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa/Medieval Academy of America

Start Date

11-5-2019 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 2040

Description

Racial differentiation in the Middle Ages has in recently received more attention, with scholars willing to question the oft-recited truism that while ethnic prejudices may have existed, race is strictly a modern concept. Yet, time and again race, as tied to black skin color, appears in hagiographic texts as a marker of morality or character. Early medieval hagiographies of Egyptian ascetic have the devil or demons appear as black boys, most famously in Athanasius’ Life of Antony. This even extends to saintly figures identified as black: Abba Moses, a black ascetic from the community of Scetis, tells the archbishop “your skin is as black as ashes. You are not a man so why should you be allowed to meet men?” Hagiography shows the different uses of racial and ethnic differentiation to construct religious and political identity, and even the ways in which the lives of holy figures aided in race-making. Barbara Zimbalist

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May 11th, 10:00 AM

Race and Racism in Hagiography

Fetzer 2040

Racial differentiation in the Middle Ages has in recently received more attention, with scholars willing to question the oft-recited truism that while ethnic prejudices may have existed, race is strictly a modern concept. Yet, time and again race, as tied to black skin color, appears in hagiographic texts as a marker of morality or character. Early medieval hagiographies of Egyptian ascetic have the devil or demons appear as black boys, most famously in Athanasius’ Life of Antony. This even extends to saintly figures identified as black: Abba Moses, a black ascetic from the community of Scetis, tells the archbishop “your skin is as black as ashes. You are not a man so why should you be allowed to meet men?” Hagiography shows the different uses of racial and ethnic differentiation to construct religious and political identity, and even the ways in which the lives of holy figures aided in race-making. Barbara Zimbalist