Gender in Material Culture
Bath (Royaume-Uni, 4-6 janv. 2013)

Apologies for cross-posting. Proposals of papers are invited for the annualGender and Medieval Studies conference that will meet on thetheme of ‘Gender in Material Culture’ at Bath Spa University (Corsham Courtcampus) from 4th to 6th January 2013. I would be grateful if you couldcirculate this via any email lists you may have.

The Conference will consider the gendered nature of social, religious andeconomic uses of ?things’, exploring the way that objects and the materialenvironment were produced, consumed and displayed in medieval culture.

Papers will address questions of gender from a range of interdisciplinaryperspectives, embracing literature, history, art history, and archaeology.Plenary papers will be delivered by Prof. Catherine Karkov, University ofLeeds and Dr Simon Yarrow, University of Birmingham.

From saintly relics to grave goods, and from domestic furnishings to thebuilt environment, medieval people inhabited a material world saturated withsymbolism. Gender had a profound influence on the production and consumptionof this material culture. Birth charms and objects of Marian devotion werecrafted most often with women in mind, whilst gender shaped the internalspaces of male and female religious houses. The material environment couldevoke intense emotions from onlookers, whether fostering reverence inreligious rituals, or inspiring awe during royal processions. How did genderinfluence encounters with these objects and the built environment’ Seldompurely functional, these items could incorporate complex meanings, enabling
acts of display at every level of society, in fashionable circles atEuropean courts or amongst civic guilds sponsoring lavish pageants. Didgender influence aesthetic choices, and how did status shape the way thatpeople engaged with their physical surroundings’ In literary texts and inart, the depiction of clothing and objects can be used to negotiate symbolicspace as well as class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity. Texts and imagesalso circulated as material objects themselves, with patterns oftransmission across the British Isles, the Anglo-Norman world, and betweenEast and West. The exchange of such objects both accompanied and enactedcross-fertilisation in linguistic, political and cultural spheres.

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 tothe GMS committee at by 14 September 2012. Pleasealso include your name, research area, institution and level of study inyour abstract. The Kate Westoby Travel Fund provides limited financialsupport for postgraduates and independent researchers who wish to attend themeeting. Please consult the GMS website for further details: