Call for papers: Early Modern Women, Religion, and the Body

Alon Lischinsky alischinsky at
Mon Jul 15 09:01:47 UTC 2013

(With apologies for cross-posting)

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Early Modern Women, Religion, and the Body
22-23 July 2014, Loughborough University

Plenary speakers: Professor Mary Fissell (Johns Hopkins) and Dr
Katharine Hodgkin

With public lecture by Alison Weir (evening of 22 July, Martin Hall
Theatre): ‘“The Prince expected in due season”: The Queen’s First

This two-day conference will explore the response of early modern
texts to the relationship between religion and female bodily health.
Scholars have long observed that understandings of the flesh and the
spirit were inextricably intertwined in the early modern period, and
that women’s writings or writings about women often explored this
complex relationship. For instance, how did early modern women
understand pain, illness, and health in a religious framework, and was
this different to the understanding of those around them? Did women
believe that their bodies were sinful? And were male and female
religious experiences different because they took place in different

We invite proposals that address the relationship between religion and
health, and the spirit and flesh, with a focus on female experience in
any genre in print or manuscript. Genres might include medical,
literary, religious, autobiographical, instructive, and rhetorical

Topics might include, but are not limited to

Methods of recording or maintaining bodily and spiritual health
The function of religion/faith in physiological changes (e.g.
Illness, providence, and interpretation
Suffering as part of religious experience and conversion
Spiritual melancholy, madness, demonic possession, or witchcraft
The physical effects of prophesising/preaching
Chastity and religious life
Spiritual and physical births/reproductive tropes
Ensoulment and pregnancy
The miraculous or martyred female body
The body and sin
Uses of the Bible in medical treatises

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, complete panels, or
roundtable discussions. Suggestions for discussions on pedagogical
approaches to teaching the above topics are also welcome.

Please send abstracts of 300 words for 20-minute papers, or longer
proposals for panels or roundtables, to Rachel Adcock, Sara Read, and
Anna Warzycha at emwomen at by 31st January 2014.
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