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Queerness in Medieval Religion

February 19 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Come and listen to a pair of talks on queerness in medieval religion and mythology!

Queer(y)ing the past: Rediscovering gender non-conforming narratives in the middle ages
Speaker: Jonah Coman (Glasgow School of Art)
Queer people have a strained relationship with Christianity and its far-reaching influence in a non-religious world. A mythological past of the Christian church has been weaponised for the past two centuries in order to condemn same-sex attraction and gender variance. This talk sheds a light on queer practitioners in the medieval church and argues that gender variance was historically not only accepted, but encouraged by Christianity.

Queer Themes in Norse Mythology
Speaker: Lee Colwill (University of Cambridge)
The relatively small corpus of Norse mythology contains a significant number of stories in which non-normative gendered and sexual behaviour feature prominently. The most obvious example of this is the god Loki, whose ability to transform his sex and even species is both help and hindrance to the other gods, but other examples include Odin, Thor, and several occurrences of warrior women, all of whom move between gendered identities. These instances allow us to build up a picture of a mythological world in which categories of gender were by no means discrete and challenge the idea of the Viking Age as a hypermasculine era which had no room for queer existence.


February 19
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm