Workshop, Dec 2017: Female Charisma

Charisma: Imagining women’s power in medieval Europe

Saints, empresses, mothers, seductresses: medieval authors and artists were fascinated with the shapes women’s power could take. This workshop uses charisma as a key to thinking through women’s power in medieval Europe. While some medieval women enjoyed official authority, women could also influence others through a range of strategies not necessarily dependent on their public status. Over the three days of this international workshop, we will consider how theories of charisma, and the related concepts of enchantment, charm, celebrity and sacrality, allow us to understand modes of women’s influence. Thirteen scholars will come together from the fields of medieval literature, history, art history, performance, religious studies, and gender studies to examine how medieval European literary texts, art works and historical documents represent influential or fascinating women. Speakers will discuss Byzantine, Carolingian, English, French, Italian and Spanish sources spanning the early and late Middle Ages.

Hosted by Irina Dumitrescu and Emma Bérat, on behalf of the collaborative research center, SFB 1167, “Macht and Herrschaft – Premodern Configurations in a Transcultural Perspective”, University of Bonn.

Please contact Emma Bérat, eoloughl [at] uni-bonn [dot] de, before 15 November to register.

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Thursday, 30 November

13:00 – 13:15 – Welcome and Introduction. Greeting from Elke Brüggen (Vice-chair of SFB 1167)

Chair: Emma O’Loughlin Bérat (Universität Bonn)

13:15 – 14:30: Irina Dumitrescu (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn), “Charismatic Properties in Medieval Literature”

14:30 – 15:45: Gaia Gubbini (Freie Universität Berlin), “Fantastic, Fantasmatic, Supernatural: The Imaginary Woman in Langue d’Oc and Langue d’Oïl Literatures”

15:45 – 16:00: Coffee break

16:00 – 17:15: Nicola McDonald (University of York), “Romance Antinomies: The Good, The Bad and Beulybon”

Friday, 1 December

Chair: Ricarda Wagner (Universität Bern)

9:30 – 10:45: Emma O’Loughlin Bérat (Universität Bonn), “Charismatic childbirth and female genealogies in late medieval romance”

10:45 – 12:00: Stavroula Konstantinou (University of Cyprus), “The Charisma of the Mother Martyr: Motherhood and Self-Sacrifice in the Passion of Perpetua and Felicity”  

12:00 – 13:30: Lunch

Chair: Emma O’Loughlin Bérat (Universität Bonn)

13:30 – 14:45: Katherine Jansen (Catholic University of America), “Constructing the Charisma of Saint Catherine of Siena: Is Gender a Useful Category of Analysis?”

14:45 – 16:00: Peggy McCracken (University of Michigan), “The Charisma of Stone: Pygmalion’s It Girl” 

16:00 – 16:30: Coffee break

16:30 – 17:45: Stephen Jaeger (University of Illinois), “Eros and Charisma” 

Saturday, 2 December

Chair: Linda Dohmen (Universität Bonn)

9:30 – 10:45: Clare Lees (King’s College London), “The Allure of Anonymity in the Early Middle Ages” 

10:45 – 12:00: Elisabeth Dutton (Université de Fribourg), “Theatrical Women Beyond the Bible.  Women in non-scriptural drama in the late-medieval period.”

12:00 – 13:30: Lunch

Chair: Irina Dumitrescu (Universität Bonn)

13:30 – 14:45: Racha Kirakosian (Harvard University), “The Last Empress. Saint Richgard and the End of the Carolingian Dynasty”

14:45 – 16:00: Roland Betancourt (University of California, Irvine), “Slut-Shaming an Empress: Shame and Historiography in Byzantium”

16:00 – 16:30: Coffee break

16:30 – 17:45: Theresa Earenfight (Seattle University) Dynastic Power, Charisma, and the Exotic Foreign Spanishness of Catherine of Aragon

17:45 – 18:15: Wrap up, Irina Dumitrescu (Universität Bonn)