Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5585
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Karras , Ruth Mazo.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Prostitution and the Question of Sexual Identity in Medieval Europe [The author argues that the prostitute's acts defined her identity; furthermore male officials feared prostitutes' independence and needed to control their behavior].
  • Source URL: Journal of Women's History (Full Text via Project Muse) 11, 2 (Summer 1999): 159-177. Link Info target = '_blank'>Journal of Women's History (Full Text via Project Muse) 11, 2 (Summer 1999): 159-177. Link Info
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Historiography Prostitutes Sexuality
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: 13- 14- 15
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  • Abstract: What has by now become the master narrative of the history of sexuality holds that not only homosexuality but the whole concept of sexuality is a creation of nineteenth-century bourgeois society. This article argues that sexual identities, constructed through what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick calls "minoritizing discourses," can be found much earlier, in premodern Western societies. In the European Middle Ages, for example, although there is nothing congruent to a modern homosexual identity, prostitution was a sexual identity in any relevant sense of the word. This case raises the question of whether the interplay between act and identity might not be more complex than many interpreters of Michel Foucault would make it, and whether the fact that sexuality is socially constructed means that it was constructed only in the nineteenth century.
  • Author's Affiliation: Temple University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 10427961
  • Material/Technique :
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