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Full-Text Articles in History

Imperatrix, Domina, Rex: Conceptualizing The Female King In Twelfth-Century England, Coral Lumbley Oct 2019

Imperatrix, Domina, Rex: Conceptualizing The Female King In Twelfth-Century England, Coral Lumbley

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality

This article draws on methods from transgender theory, historicist literary studies, and visual analysis of medieval sealing practices to show that Empress Matilda of England was controversially styled as a female king during her career in the early to mid twelfth century. While the chronicle Gesta Stephani castigates Matilda’s failure to engage in sanctioned gendered behaviors as she waged civil war to claim her inherited throne, Matilda’s seal harnesses both masculine and feminine signifiers in order to proclaim herself both king and queen. While Matilda’s transgressive gender position was targeted by her detractors during her lifetime, the ...


A Space Of Her Own: Genderfluidity And Negotiation In The Life Of Christina Of Markyate, Meghan L. Nestel Oct 2019

A Space Of Her Own: Genderfluidity And Negotiation In The Life Of Christina Of Markyate, Meghan L. Nestel

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality

This paper draws on transgender studies and theories of gender performativity and genderfluidity to consider how twelfth-century holy woman Christina of Markyate resists traditional and third-gender binary policing. It argues that Christina is genderfluid, and that as a secular, masculinized, and religious virgin, she co-exists within and moves among multiple gender spaces that allow her to establish her own authority.


Chaucer's Pardoner: The Medieval Culture Of Cross-Dressing And Problems Of Religious Authority, Larissa Tracy May 2019

Chaucer's Pardoner: The Medieval Culture Of Cross-Dressing And Problems Of Religious Authority, Larissa Tracy

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality

One of the most ambiguous and contentious characters in Geoffrey Chaucer’s fourteenth-century Canterbury Tales is the Pardoner, the last (and arguably worst) of the pilgrims described in the General Prologue. The Pardoner accused of being a gelding or a mare endowed with several effeminate traits, plays on multiple gendered associations—including that of a cross-dressing woman. Throughout the Canterbury Tales Chaucer manipulates gender expectations and assumptions in the figure of the Pardoner without fully clarifying the Pardoner’s sex, sexuality or gender, leaving the text open to potentially subversive interpretations. By the fourteenth century, cross-dressing was a relatively common ...


Demonic Pedagogy And The Teaching Saint: Voice, Body, And Place In Cynewulf's Juliana, Christina M. Heckman May 2019

Demonic Pedagogy And The Teaching Saint: Voice, Body, And Place In Cynewulf's Juliana, Christina M. Heckman

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality

In Cynewulf’s Old English poem Juliana, the saint frames her encounters with her adversaries as pedagogical confrontations, refusing the lessons they attempt to “teach” her and ultimately adopting the identity of a teacher herself. These confrontations depend on three key tropes in the poem: Juliana’s voice, as a material manifestation of language deployed by the saint; her body, both as living body and as relic; and place, especially the place of the saint’s martyrdom and/or burial. Viewed through theories of material feminism, these tropes reveal diverse forms of agency in the poem, as both human and ...


“A Drunken Cunt Hath No Porter”: Medieval Histories Of Intoxication And Consent, Carissa M. Harris May 2019

“A Drunken Cunt Hath No Porter”: Medieval Histories Of Intoxication And Consent, Carissa M. Harris

Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality

This essay traces medieval representations of intoxication and consent and links them to contemporary cases, including Brock Turner’s 2016 rape trial and the 2017 slew of lawsuits filed against Baylor University. Through an examination of medieval texts from a range of genres, including the Biblical stories of Lot and Noah, the Digby Mary Magdalene play, proverbs, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue, the 1292 legal case of Isabella Plomet, and Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne, this essay explores past views of gender, perpetrators, culpability, alcohol, and consent. It argues that victim-blaming those who have been assaulted while ...