Call for Papers: Birth, Sex, Death – Rites of Passage in the Medieval and Early Modern World

Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th May 2013: University of Birmingham

Papers are invited for the 2013 EMREM two-day interdisciplinary symposium at the University of Birmingham. This year’s theme focuses on birth, sex and death as rites of passage. How were life stages demarcated in medieval and early modern societies and how were transitions between them negotiated? In what ways were the defining acts of birth, sex and death understood and represented in records, rituals, art and literature? What social and religious factors determined how they were celebrated and regulated, and how were these norms challenged or changed over time? How closely related were the concepts and imagery of birth, sex and death?

Postgraduate speakers from all disciplines are welcome to share their research at this friendly and well-established symposium.
Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
·         Rituals and sacramental practices
·         Representations in literature, visual and material culture and music
·         Scientific (mis)understandings of life processes
·         Pregnancy, birth and baptism
·         Family ties, ancestry and inheritance
·         Courtship and marriage
·         Extramarital sex and illegitimacy
·         Widowhood, holy orders and the single life
·         Disease, medicine and the Black Death
·         Vanitas, memento mori and the Danse Macabre tradition
·         Self-mortification, martyrdom and saints’ cults
·         Burial rites, funerary monuments and commemoration
·         Areas of overlap: death in childbirth; ideas of rebirth; death and sex in the mystic tradition
Papers should be 20 minutes in length. Please send proposals of approximately 300 words to emremforum@googlemail.com<mailto:emremforum@googlemail.com> by Friday 22nd March 2013.
Limited funding is available to help cover external speakers’ travel and accommodation expenses. Refreshments and numerous networking opportunities provided.

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