Friday, August 16, 2019

CFP Leeds 2020: Beyond ‘Virgin’ Lands: Interdisciplinary Approaches to
Gendered Landscapes
by Emma O'Loughlin Bérat
Leeds IMC 2020 Call for Papers

*Beyond ‘Virgin’ Lands: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gendered

Organised by

Dr. Emma O’Loughlin Bérat (Independent/ Bonn Universität)

and Dr. Karen Dempsey (University of Reading)

Also see CFP

Interactions with the medieval landscape often appear as innately masculine.
 From Brutus’ foundation of the eponymous Britain to patrilineages derived
from castle names to metaphorically feminine (virginal and untamed) lands
awaiting male domination. Yet, as recent research shows, the apparent
prevalence of these ‘fantasies’ in medieval sources is due in part to
modern assumptions. In fact, historical women built castles and were patrons
of monasteries, the legendary Syrian princess Albina gave her name to Albion
before Brutus ever landed, female saints impressed their footprints
permanently into rock and the menstrual blood of Queen Medh carved furrows
into the Irish landscape. In symbolic, nominal, architectural, horticultural
and legal ways, to name a few, medieval women shaped, curated and cared for
the medieval landscape. Then as now, the landscape is a cultural construct:
the ways we understand it have much to do with the gendered preconceptions
and approaches we bring to our study and the sources and interactions we

Our interdisciplinary panel(s) will explore the ways women, other gendered
identities and non-human agents, both historical and representational, took
control of and shaped geographical landscapes at a variety of scales. We are
particularly interested in papers that move beyond artificial borders between
male/female, nature/culture, domestic/political and other oppositional

Questions may include but are not limited to:

 * How did women’s political, communal and private interests influence the
   ways medieval people understood their contemporary landscapes? To what
   extent did legends and landmarks left by women shape future notions of the
   land’s identity?
 * In what ways did women's devotional practices draw on landscapes at both
   micro and macro levels? What haptic, emotional, affective experiences can
   we understand from today?
 * What impact do masculine and paternalistic narratives have within the
   current discourses on medieval landscapes, particularly in heritage
 * What can we as scholars do to understand the diversity of class, gender,
   religious, racial and cultural positions always at play within the
   medieval landscape? How does eco-criticism and new materialism help in
   this study?

We hope these will be truly interdisciplinary discussions and welcome papers
from all fields, including anthropology, archaeology, heritage studies,
history, art history, literature and religion on any medieval period and
geographical region.

Please submit an abstract of 150-200 words to Emma Bérat
( [2]) and Karen Dempsey ( [3])
by 15 September 2019.


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