Kalamazoo 2017: Session announcement

Our roundtable was recently approved by the programming committee of the 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies. The roundtable, “Saintly Bodies,” will feature six short papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Read our proposal, check out our exciting line-up of speakers, and mark your calendars for Kalamazoo!

Saintly Bodies: Materiality, Manuscripts, Movement
Organizers: Jenny C. Bledsoe (Emory University) and Lynneth Miller (Baylor University)

As works such as Caroline Walker Bynum’s Christian Materiality have demonstrated, the relationship between materiality and spiritual practice is often one fraught with complications and seeming contradictions. The tension between decaying material objects such as bodies, manuscripts, or relics highlights the discrepancy between the spiritual ideas these objects represent and the reality of the corruptibility inherent to all material objects.  When the material body in question is one gendered female, the relationship becomes even more complex.

This panel, “Saintly Bodies: Materiality, Manuscripts, Movement,” seeks to further explore the relationship between female bodies, material objects, and spiritual discourse and practice. How does gender affect the relationship between material objects such as bodies, manuscripts, and relics and the spiritual ideas tied to or communicated through these objects? What can a gendered approach to studies of materiality reveal about medieval literature, history, and religion?

This panel will take a multidisciplinary approach to these questions, drawing on manifold methodologies in order to address these questions as fully as possible. Our presenters represent a variety of professional levels (associate and assistant professors and PhD candidates and students) and address the topic from different disciplines (art history, history, and literature), periods (from Anglo-Saxon hagiography to the present-day reception of a medieval Liègeois holy woman), and regions (England, Italy, the low countries). We have chosen a six-person roundtable format for our panel in order to facilitate cross-disciplinary exchange and productive audience-engaging discussion following six seven-minute papers.

“Translated Bodies and Traveling Souls: Movement in Anglo-Saxon Hagiography”
Rebecca Straple, Western Michigan University

“Sacrilegious ‘Relics’: Female Bodies in the Tale of the Cursed Dancing Carolers”
Lynneth Miller, Baylor University

“Reworking Relics: Painting the Teodolinda Chapel in Monza”
Laura Maria Somenzi, Emory University

“The Lives and Afterlives of Holy Women: Medieval Spirituality and Seventeenth-Century Printing in the Low Countries”
Barbara Zimbalist, University of Texas, El Paso

“Ida of Nivelles in Manuscript, Print, and the Translated Collection”
Sara Ritchey, University of Louisiana, Lafayette

“Finding Women Saints in the Body of the Text”
Courtney Rydel, Washington College