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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Laid Bare: Attitudes to Nudity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period

10th March 2018, 09:00 to 16:00, St Cuthbert's Society Senior Common Room, 12 South Bailey, Peter Murray Jones (King's College, Cambridge) and Jill Burke (The University of Edinburgh)

An interdisciplinary workshop on attitudes to nudity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period

Confirmed speakers include Peter Murray Jones (Cambridge) on medieval medicine and medical manuscripts; Dr Jill Burke (Edinburgh) on representations of the body in Renaissance art; Tristan Lake on attitudes to nakedness in Anglo-Saxon England; Laura Campbell on French translations of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve; and Elizabeth Archibald on nudity in images of bathing.

Call for papers.

Proposals are invited for an interdisciplinary workshop on attitudes to nudity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (deferred from last term).

---REGISTRATION IS OPEN---

[WORKSHOP] Laid Bare: Attitudes to Nudity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period

Saturday 10th March 2018

Senior Common Room, St Cuthbert’s Society, 12 South Bailey

If you would be interested in attending, please contact Tristan Lake (tristan.lake@durham.ac.uk).

Free attendance, registration necessary.

An interdisciplinary workshop on attitudes to nudity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period will take place in Cuth's on Saturday 10th March. Guest speakers will include the medical historian Peter Murray Jones (King's College, Cambridge), and the art historian Jill Burke (The University of Edinburgh).

This project aims to consider attitudes to nudity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period in a variety of media and genres – not just art but also archaeology, theology, literature, history, law and medicine. Whilst the important role of nudity in Christian teaching and theology has been sufficiently acknowledged by contemporary scholarship, the extensive range of attitudes and associations projected onto the medieval body have yet to be fully revealed. Nudity undergoes its own fashion changes, in which the body is ever shifting regarding the meanings inscribed upon it, variables such as faith, ethnicity, social status, gender, sex, age, health and bodily ability alongside changes in environment and context act to continually alter the meaning and experience of nudity. Within the period under review nudity may represent one or more of the following categories: innocence, heroism, purity, vice, temptation, monstrousness, eroticism, beauty, barbarism, paganism, divinity, weakness and power. Consequently, nudity within the middle ages and early modern period is a highly charged state of being, central to various cultural beliefs and identities which required delicate negotiation on both an ideological and practical level, particularly in relation to the necessities of daily life (e.g. washing, sex and grooming).

The multiplicitous nature of the body in these periods provides a highly fertile and underexplored field of study; naturally suited to interdisciplinary discussion. We are bringing together a group of experts representing a range of fields and evidential sources to discuss and share their perspectives on this topic. We hope to set up a network with a view to further meetings, and eventually to a collection of essays and an associated exhibition.

Please see attached workshop programme for further information.

Contact e.f.archibald@dur.ac.uk; tristan.lake@dur.ac.uk . for more information about this event.