TitleDeviancy, Transgression, and Queer Desires
Date/TimeWednesday 6 July 2022: 16.30-18.00
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairRoland Betancourt, Department of Art History, University of California, Irvine
Paper 1332-a Classifying Criminals: Public Power, Judicial Ritual, and Policing Gender in Late Medieval Flanders
(Language: English)
Mireille Juliette Pardon, History Department, Berea College, Kentucky
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Law; Social History
Paper 1332-b The Old Russian Life of St Niphon of Constantine and Early East Slavic Queer History
(Language: English)
Jacob Bell, Department of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Slavic; Sexuality
AbstractPaper -a:
Judicial spectacles at the end of the Middle Ages showed the power of the state through its ability to punish, but also through its ability to classify, controlling the categories of man/woman and criminal/citizen. My paper analyses bailiff accounts from 15th-century Bruges and Ghent to show increasing corporal and capital punishment as well as changing descriptions of criminality as legal officials more clearly defined the border between criminals and the rest of the community. This focus on classification through judicial ritual is also related to the persecution of cross-dressing where punishments involved the public reassertion of the 'correct' gender expression.

Paper -b:
The Old Russian vita of St Niphon presents the troubled life of a 4th-century bishop who struggles to reconcile his lust for men and engagement in same-sex sex acts with his devotion to God, for which he subjects himself to severe asceticism. Despite his flaws, Niphon is presented as a favorite of God's, visited by Christ, the Theotokos, and several saints. This paper suggests that interrogating the border between Niphon's sexual activities and his reception by divine grace reveals how East Slavic monastics understood and discussed same-sex desire and represents a heretofore overlooked aspect of East Slavic queer history, imported via Greek hagiography.