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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

'Gender and Authenticity in the Medieval Cult of Relics”

8th March 2016, 17:30, Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Professor Julia Smith, University of Glasgow

followed by a drinks reception at the Cafe, Palace Green Library.

This event is part of the IMEMS Openness and Secrecy seminar series for 2015/16.

Please note that places for this event will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book your place click here

The lecture will assess the role of women as privileged witnesses to the trustworthiness of relics in the wider context the situational construction of their authenticity.

Julia Smith is the Edwards Professor of Medieval History at the University of Glasgow, and is working on a project entitled Christianity in Fragments: Relics in Medieval Perspective. This examines the instrumental use of small material objects in late antique and early medieval Christian practice from a variety of perspectives, and offers a new analysis of the origin and growth of relic cults. She collaborates with archaeologists, heritage scientists and textile specialists to realise the historical potential of surviving early medieval relic deposits. Recent publications include an essay on relics as ‘portable Christianity’, an edition of all the relic labels surviving at Saint-Maurice d’Agaune from the 7th to the 17th century, and a historical analysis of the relic labels preserved in the Sancta Sanctorum. She has also published on politics, gender, hagiography and saints’ cults in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, c300-1100, including The Cambridge History of Christianity III: Early Medieval Christianities, 600-1100 (with Thomas F X Noble, 2008); Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000 (2005); Gender in the Early Medieval World: East and West 300-900 (with Leslie Brubaker, 2004), Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West (2000) and Province and Empire: Brittany and the Carolingians (1992).

Contact for more information about this event.