Wednesday, July 18, 2018

CFP Kalamazoo 2019: Dysphoric Pedagogies: Teaching About Transgender and Intersex in the Middle Ages (Due Sept 10)

"Earlier this year, UNESCO published a series of studies which showed how gender nonconformity lies at the core of both LGB and T discrimination in schools. Obviously, this also applies for intersex students. Sex education and the school environment tends to perpetuate the notion that only two sexes exist. "

The Global Alliance for LGBT Education

Dysphoric Pedagogies: 
Teaching About Transgender and Intersex in the Middle Ages 

Organizer: Gabrielle M.W. Bychowski 
(Case Western Reserve University) 

Co-Sponsor: “the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS)” 
and “the Teaching Association for Medieval Studies (TEAMS)” 

Questions about transgender and intersex in the Middle Ages are nothing new in scholarship and especially not within classrooms. Students have long seemed curious about all the non-binary and non-cisgender lives that populate the syllabi of pre-modern seminars, sections and surveys. Hands can shoot up from wondering students when reading about the isles of Hermaphrodites or Amazons, sainted monks who started their life living as women, ambiguous figures like Chaucer’s Pardoner, and fictional stories like Roman de Silence or historical personas such as Joan of Arc. Whether or not we consider ourselves intersex or transgender studies scholars, as instructors of pre-modern eras we wrestle with such questions about how to respond to students who are excited to connect the gender diversity they see in their world with the images and stories they are reading about in the distant past.

This panel aims to offer a range of pedagogy techniques, lesson plans, assignments, reading lists, and anecdotes for all those interested in enhancing how they teach about transgender and intersex in the Middle Ages. The concept of “Dysphoric Pedagogies” is drawn from the DSM-5 diagnostic language that describes the experience where one’s identified or expressed gender conflicts with the gender assigned by society. Within the modern world there are many ways to experience dysphoria and there are trans, intersex, and non-binary who do not experience this conflict. We want to hear about your valuable experiences in teaching through such instances of dysphoria within the art, history, and literature in an era before the DSM-5 and its various diagnoses, or the coinage of the words “transgender” or “intersex,” How have these moments of gender diversity and conflict provoked conversations about self and society, expression and audience, nature and nurture, gender norms and non-conformity, past and present? Each presenter is recommended to consider how you’ve engaged with the resonance between medieval figures and the long history of trans, intersex, gender queerness and non-binary gender. Abstracts should be 250-500 words.

Send abstracts to Gabrielle M.W. Bychowski (


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