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The Politics of Virginity in the Kingdom of Leon

The Politics of Virginity in the Kingdom of Leon
125 Queens Park, Room 310
Time: Oct 25th, 4:00 pm End: Oct 25th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women & Gender Studies (FAS), Visual Studies (UTM), Spanish & Portuguese (FAS), Religion, Study of (FAS), Medieval Studies (FAS), Jewish Studies, History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), Book History/Print Culture, Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC), Art (FAS), 400-1200, 1500-1800, 1200-1500
Lecture by Lucy Pick, University of Chicago

The Centre for Medieval Studies is pleased to present the Alumni Lecture for 2012:

Lucy Pick, University of Chicago

The Politics of Virginity in the Kingdom of León

Thursday, October 25, 4pm
Room 310, Centre for Medieval Studies, 125 Queen's Park

The lecture is open to the public. There will be a reception following the lecture. For further information, please contact the Centre for Medieval Studies at (416) 978-4884.

Abstract: With only a handful of exceptions, from the eighth-century Adosinda until the change from the Old Spanish to the Roman liturgy in 1080, when we know of a king of León who has a daughter, that daughter is not married off in a strategic alliance, but rather remains unmarried and connected to some form of religious life.  These women were not, however, nuns or abbesses, bound under vows of obedience to a particular community.  Rather, they lived as women vowed to chastity, committed to religious life and consecrated to God, but independent and still able to control their own property, much of which consisted of the monasteries given to them by their families to support their way of life.  Their property certainly provided them with the resources to ensure their influence within the kingdom.  But they also possessed the spiritual capital that came from their consecrated status, which was equally valuable for their families, and which allowed them to be appropriate custodians of family memory, imitators of the martyrs, and intermediaries with the divine.This talk will discuss the political theology that accounted for this spiritual capital, from Leander of Seville's adoption and adaptation of Ambrose's views of consecrated virginity, to their reflection in hagiography and historiography of the period.

About the speaker: Lucy Pick is a historian of medieval religious thought and practice. Her current research and teaching interests include the relationships between gender and religion, connections between historical writing and theology, the development of monastic thought and practice, reading and writing as spiritual exercises, and the ways in which religion shapes lives through ritual. Her 2004 book, Conflict and Coexistence: Archbishop Rodrigo and the Muslims and Jews of Thirteenth-Century Spain, discusses Jewish, Christian, and Muslim relations in thirteenth-century Toledo by making connections between the political theology, historical and polemical writings, scholarly patronage, and politics of Archbishop Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (1209-1247) and shows how majority groups define themselves by framing and reframing discourses about minority theological competitors. Professor Pick is currently working on a monograph studying the intersection of gender, politics, and religion in the Middle Ages by examining the careers of royal women in early medieval Spain, especially their role as consecrated virgins, to discover in what their power consisted, from where it was derived, and how it was represented.

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