Public lecture: Professor Kathy Lavezzo (English, University of Iowa): “The Wandering Woman in the Jewish Boy: Gender, Antisemitism, and the English City”
March 27 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
The Middle Ages witnessed two monumental spatial phenomena, the rise of the city and the emergence of the doctrine of separate spheres. This talk considers the presence of a crucial way of understanding gender and urban space in a group of highly offensive texts: medieval English antisemitic literature. Focusing on one of the most widely told and influential medieval libels about Jews—the legend of the Jewish Boy—this presentation analyzes what happens when a racial and intolerant culture, oddly, imbues a woman with a public voice and public authority.
Professor Kathy Lavezzo (English, University of Iowa) is a well-established scholar in the field of medieval literary studies. Her wide-ranging work is especially engaged with issues of community, nationhood and social hierarchy; cultural geography and medieval cartography; Christian-Jewish relations; economy and trade; race and ethnicity; and gender and sexuality. Her most recent, groundbreaking book, The Accommodated Jew: English Antisemitism from Bede to Milton (Cornell, 2016) understands the mapping of Jews in English texts as richly responsive to the appearance of a secular and market-driven urban society in a Christian milieu. She is also the author of Angels on the Edge of the World: Geography, Literature, and English Community, 1000-1534 (Cornell, 2006), and of multiple articles published in prominent venues (Studies in the Age of Chaucer, New Medieval Literatures, and PMLA, among others); she is the editor of Imagining a Medieval English Nation (2003) and Essays in Memory of Richard Helgerson (2011). With Lisa Lampert-Weissig, Professor Lavezzo is also the principal investigator for a digital humanities project, Remappings. Her scholarship has been supported by a Frankel Institute Fellowship at the University of Michigan and a Solmsen Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities here at UW-Madison.