February 10 | Works-in-Progress Series: A Presentation by Karl Steel

Please join us on February 10, 11:30 am—1:00 pm in room 5105 for a presentation by Professor Karl Steel on his current work:

“Nothing to Lose: Medieval Castration, Clerical Celibacy, and a strange story from Peter of Cornwall’s Book of Revelations.”

Abstract

“My chapter explores this peculiar strain of medieval castration thinking, summed up by Jacqueline Murray – the leading scholar on the topic – with “the whole problem of the body was perceived to be located in the male genitals. Once they were removed, it was believed that the problem of lack of control of the flesh would simply disappear.”  This, however, is not the only story it will tell. Its second half considers an account of a tortured knight from Peter of Cornwall’s Book of Revelations. The knight’s nonsacrificial, meaningless genital injury, in which he gives up nothing and learns nothing, offers a route past the cultural significance of the phallus, preserved in both castration and penis anxiety, and ultimately past the outsized cultural significance which dominant social orders bestow on male pain.”

You can find the full paper here.

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