Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3710
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Nirenberg , David.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Conversion, Sex, and Segregation: Jews and Christians in Medieval Spain
  • Source: American Historical Review 107, 4 (October 2002): Pages 1065 - 1093.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Antisemitism Group Identity Honor Jews Muslims Segregation Sexuality Vincent Ferrer, Dominican Preacher, Saint
  • Geographic Area: Iberia
  • Century: 13- 14- 15
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  • Abstract: David Nirenberg reminds us that sexual prohibitions are among the most universal ways in which communities imagine their boundaries. Although he explains that this universality makes them attractive to historians and other social scientists, he also acknowledges that it makes them difficult to analyze historically. How, he asks, are we to subject such general phenomena to the particulars of place and time? In order to confront this question, Nirenberg first describes a sexualized logic through which medieval Christians imagined their common solidarity and the boundaries that set them apart from their Muslim and Jewish neighbors. Then he traces that logic across a period of dramatic transformation in Spanish history, a period punctuated by the massacre of thousands of Jews in 1391 and the conversion to Christianity of thousands more. He does so to analyze how the logic of sexual boundaries structured the expression of contemporary anxieties about these changes and how this logic itself was transformed by these anxieties. In this manner, Nirenberg's investigation of medieval Spain provides a case study for questions that are relevant to any number of societies whose categories and classifications are radically destabilized by mass conversion, assimilation, or emancipation. [Reproduced by permission of the American Historical Association.]
  • Author's Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00028762
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