CFP for Leeds 2017 session: COME TALK BEHEADINGS WITH ME

Excuse, again, the blogular silence. But I have a cunning plan for Leeds IMC 2017: it involves beheadings. One of our MA students here in Geneva is working on decapitation, as you do, and I’ve consequently become interested in beheadings almost by proxy. I pounced on at least one person at Leeds this year crying “talk to me about beheadings!!”

So, in order to cater to this peculiar interest, let’s talk beheadings at Leeds IMC 2017. I’m reasonably certain the aforementioned Geneva student will give me a proposal; I have something I can work on myself, but don’t have to (it’s not thesis-related), so if I get enough interest I’ll happily step back to moderator status.

Without further ado: a CFP. It’s a bit vague, but in essence, if you have an interesting case of beheadings and you want to talk about it, get in contact with me.

Losing Their Heads: Beheading Narratives, Gender and Social Roles

CFP – panel for Leeds IMC 2017

Organiser: Amy Brown, University of Geneva

‘The head of woman is man’: so what to do with a headless woman? What does it mean (other than death) to lose one’s head? What meanings can the severed head have? How do medieval narratives treat women who decapitate others, or bring about decapitations? How does the gender of the decapitator and the decapitatee affect the symbolic value placed on the body, the head, and the process of decapitation? What social norms are violated when a body is beheaded, and which are upheld?

This session is open to proposals dealing with any genre, language, or source type: romance, hagiography, sermons, art, relics, artefacts. I have discussed with potential participants texts such as the Old English Judith, the life of St Edmund, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the artistic represention of John the Baptist’s death, but that’s by no means an exhaustive list.

‘Gender’ in this context should be interpreted as applicable to masculinity as well as femininity, and to specific variations in gendered performance according to social role. (Eg: if you’ve got a beheading story that does something interesting in the way it differentiates between, say, men of one class or race and another, I’m just as interested in that as I am in masculine-feminine oppositions).


Send proposals to:

amy.brown AT by the 5th of September.

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