TitleGender Roles and Sexual Transgression
Date/TimeTuesday 5 July 2022: 09.00-10.30
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairDaisy Black, School of Humanities, University of Wolverhampton
Paper 532-a Permeable Borders: Towers, Tombs, and Other Queer Spaces in the Works of Hrotsvit von Gandersheim
(Language: English)
Philip Liston-Kraft, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Latin; Sexuality
Paper 532-b Talking Genitalia in the Old English Riddles: Sex, Gender Roles, and Polysemic Solutions
(Language: English)
Iona Lister, Department of English, University of Toronto
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Language and Literature - Old English; Medicine; Sexuality
Paper 532-c 'Luego se tornava muger': Crossing Gender Borders in Sendebar
(Language: English)
Ulrike Becker, Zentrum Macht und Herrschaft, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Language and Literature - Spanish or Portuguese
AbstractPaper -a:
Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (fl. 960) addresses an array of transgressive sexualities from scopophilia to sodomy that threaten her virgin protagonists, who struggle to liberate themselves from the fetters of eros by seeking refuge in chastity and death. In her plays and legends, Hrotsvit erects boundaries meant to guard her martyrs against the threat of sexual contamination. Such boundaries prove pregnable, however: eros cannot be kept outside the walls. Hrotsvit then seeks to channel the energy inherent in the sexual drive and redirect it into the realisation of a heterotopic vision in which chastity is generative and life continues beyond death.

Paper -b:
Five Old English riddles from the Exeter Book speak in the first person and suggest genitalia alongside a more everyday solution. Riddle scholarship has tended to focus on isolating one correct answer, and critics frequently dismiss the sexual solution, but this paper contends that much can be gained from viewing both sexual and non-sexual answers simultaneously. Drawing on blending theory as put forward by Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier, and considering work by John Tanke that examines Riddle 20 as both 'sword' and' 'phallus', this paper examines how these riddles tell stories about gender roles in early medieval England.

Paper -c:
'Fontes', 8th exemplum of Sendebar o Libro de los engaños e los asayamientos de las mujeres - whose translation from Arabic was commissioned by Fadrique, brother of Alfonso the Wise, in 1253 - is about an heir to the throne whose gender changes after a betrayal, whereupon he makes a pact with the devil. It is precisely the incongruity often attributed to this exemplum (cf. i.a. Andreea Weisl-Shaw, 'The Power of Woman's Words' (2014), 114) that inspires to focus on the crossing of gender borders. For this purpose, the intentions of the narrator play a decisive role, but it is also worth analysing the transcultural narrative traditions and gender aspects with regard to power and domination.