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This response outlines the predominant current conceptions of gendered materiality in contemporary theory (such as Karen Barad’s development of Judith Butler’s thought) and in medieval studies (such as work by Caroline Walker Bynum). It identifies and expands upon four themes from the two articles in the section that are pertinent to the descriptions of textiles and other material objects in a wider range of medieval texts and current medievalist scholarship: 1) the idea that textiles and other material things can have biographies; 2) the idea that textiles are today (but not necessarily in medieval writing) perceived as connective networks; 3) the ways in which textiles can be compared to texts and used as metaphors for texts; and 4) the importance of (sometimes racialised) shine in the description of textiles. The response demonstrates connections between the English and French texts discussed by authors in the section, and a range of German literature, including Orendel or the Grey Robe, Konrad of Würzburg’s Trojan War, Wirnt of Grafenberg’s Wigalois and Hartmann of Aue’s Erec.
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Bildhauer, Bettina "Textiles, Gender, and Materiality: A Response." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 56, No. 1 (2020) : 70-83.