Call for Papers – Gender in Material Culture

Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2013
Corsham Court, Bath Spa University

Gender in Material Culture
4th-6th January 2013

Keynote Speakers
Prof. Catherine Karkov, University of Leeds
Dr Simon Yarrow, University of Birmingham

From saintly relics to grave goods, and from domestic furnishings to
the built environment, medieval people inhabited a material world
saturated with symbolism. Gender had a profound influence on
production and consumption in this material culture. Birth charms and
objects of Marian devotion were crafted most often with women in mind,
whilst gender shaped the internal spaces of male and female religious
houses. The material environment could evoke intense emotions from
onlookers, whether fostering reverence in religious rituals, or
inspiring awe during royal processions. How did gender influence
encounters with these objects and the built environment? Seldom purely
functional, these items could incorporate complex meanings, enabling
acts of display at every level of society, in fashionable circles at
European courts or amongst civic guilds sponsoring lavish pageants.
Did gender influence aesthetic choices, and how did status shape the
way that people engaged with their physical surroundings? In literary
texts and in art, the depiction of clothing and objects can be used to
negotiate symbolic space as well as class, gender, sexuality and
ethnicity. Texts and images also circulated as material objects
themselves, with patterns of transmission across the British Isles,
the Anglo-Norman world, and between East and West. The exchange of
such objects both accompanied and enacted cross-fertilisation in
linguistic, political and cultural spheres.

The Conference will consider the gendered nature of social, religious
and economic uses of ‘things’, exploring the way that objects and
material culture were produced, consumed and displayed. Papers will
address questions of gender from a range of interdisciplinary
perspectives, embracing literature, history, art history, and

Themes will include:
·               adornment, clothing and self-fashioning
·               the material culture of devotion
·               objects and materialism
·               the material culture of children, adolescents and life cycle
·               emotion, intimacy and love-gifts
·               entertainment and games
·               memory and commemoration
·               pleasure, pain, and bodily discipline
·               production and consumption
·               monastic material culture
·               material culture in literary texts

Please e-mail proposals of approximately 300 words for 20 minute
papers to the GMS committee at by 14
September 2012. Please also include your name, research area,
institution and level of study in your abstract. The Kate Westoby
Travel Fund provides limited financial support for postgraduates and
independent researchers who wish to attend the meeting.

This entry was posted in Call for Papers. Bookmark the permalink.