How do we educate ourselves with a broken history primarily written and translated by people who do not care about us? As Ann Matter says, we must learn ‘to read blanks’ but of course that means first both immersing ourselves in and fighting against the history written for us, so we can authorize our own narrative.
This syllabus concerns itself with the lesbian body and the middle ages, by examining this foundational era to western society, a period of history that typically is separated from queer history, we can start to pick up the pieces of our broken archives. A sentence here, a sentence there, an annotation, we must look at crumbs. This syllabus, while short, has prioritized texts that are predominantly about the Queer Female Body rather than books/papers which are just one-off sentences here and there.
Muñoz is included to showcase how Queer academics should learn to trust themselves. Trust their gut, trust their feelings as Margot Kidder does when she sees a woman lick her lips on her television, as Alison Bechdel does when she sees the butch women in the diner with her ring of keys. We must take that gut, that instinct and look backwards to piece together our queer history.
Theory and Methodology
- Muñoz, José Esteban. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. University of Minnesota Press, 1999
- Canadé Sautman, Francesca, and Pamela Sheingorn, editors. Same Sex Love and Desire among Women in the Middle Ages. 1st ed, Palgrave, 2001
- Lochrie, Karma, et al., editors. Constructing Medieval Sexuality. University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
- —. Heterosyncrasies: Female Sexuality When Normal Wasn’t. University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
The Body and Gender Separation
- Twice Invisible Twice Marginalized by Jacqueline Murray, found in Handbook of Medieval Sexuality
- Green, Monica Helen. Making Women’s Medicine Masculine: The Rise of Male Authority in Pre-Modern Gynaecology. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Arielle Moscati is a student over at UC Berkeley and a lifelong archivist of queer history. She hopes to continue her work on medical texts in the Middle Ages.