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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Inventions of the Text Seminar Series

Inventions of the Text complements our Research Seminar series. Inventions is organised by a team of postgraduate researchers, and combines papers by academics from Durham and beyond with presentations by PhD students. Seminars run roughly every couple of weeks during term time, with around eight or nine events a year. After each seminar, attendees are welcome to socialise with the speaker(s) over dinner. They are generally for University staff and students, although sometimes open to the public.

Forthcoming Inventions of the Text Seminars

Inventions of the Text

White Wombs, Jewish Doctors and Saracen Mummies: The Logic of Infertility in Late Medieval England

30th October 2019, 17:30 to 19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr. Lucy Allen (Trinity College Dublin)

An Inventions of the Text seminar.

Medieval drama dwells upon miraculous gestation: saints Anne and Elizabeth conceive in old age; a Virgin bears a Son. Their stories claim centre stage, but around them jostle discourses relating to far more quotidian or even sinister manifestations of infertility, which end not with conception but with gruesome medical treatment, sinister intervention, or pregnancy loss. In this paper, I argue that ‘barrenness’ is mobilized as a paradoxical marker of sacred virtue within the late medieval Christian tradition, demonizing, erasing and consuming Jewish and Muslim bodies and the fertility they promise.

Contact for more information about this event.

Past Inventions of the Text Seminars