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Framing premodern desires between sexuality, sin and crime: an introduction

Walker, Garthine ORCID: 2017. Framing premodern desires between sexuality, sin and crime: an introduction. Lidman, Satu, Linkinen, Tom, Kaartinen, Marjo and Heinonen, Meri, eds. Framing Premodern Desires: Sexual Ideas, Attitudes, and Practices in Europe, Crossing Boundaries: Turku Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 9–26. (10.5040/9789048551422.0005)

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Garthine Walker is Professor of Early Modern History at Cardiff University. She specialises in the histories of early modern crime, gender, and sexualities, and in historical theory and approaches to history. She is working on a new history of rape funded by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2013–2016). In medieval and early modern societies, sexualities were perceived, described, and encountered in a variety of ways, some but not all of them familiar to us. This volume emphasises the localities and temporalities of sexuality, the visibility and invisibility of sexual desires, as well as the intersections of sexuality and moral offences between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. The chapters that follow touch upon a series of related issues: how perceptions of sexuality changed over time and in relation to other types of change; how love, desire, and a range of other emotions related to people’s sexual identities and behaviours; how sexuality and perceptions of it were connected to religion, law, ethnicity, and other cultural forms. Some of the essays invite us to consider the ways in which intersections of fiction and academic research can deepen our understanding of sexualities as conceptualised and practised many centuries ago. Throughout the volume, we return to the fact that in many societies, certain forms of sex were crimes, including sex before marriage, adultery, sodomy, and incest. Yet even these were not legally or culturally understood in precisely the same way in all parts of Europe during these several centuries. We are invited to consider, therefore, in what ways and why certain sexual acts were defined as crimes and how such cases were handled in court, the extent to which people shared the concerns of legislators, churchmen, and jurists, as well as to interrogate our assumptions about what form a historicised category of ‘desire’ might take....

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Publisher: University of Amsterdam Press
ISBN: 9789048551422
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2024 14:45

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