Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is Edinburgh a useful term for the study of Medieval Europe?

Well, I am blogging from a bed of purple, Auld Reekie.

I arrived in Edinburgh on Monday, I have, in fact, completed my degree. Its all finished. Come the third of July I will be a "Bachelor", there is something pretty cool about that, after three years, I'm done.

I had two exams, for my two units. I think I did OK in both. The latter I had a bit of fun with, it invited me to discuss the use of the terms "Masculinity" and "Homosexuality". I set up two positions, firstly the unspoken assumption that they are useful terms, then the criticism, the position that seeks to reject the terms completely. I spent most of my time redeeming the terms.

Masculinity is too simple by itself, but there are medieval masculinities, I reject the three gender model, it does not account for the divisions between nuns and monks that develop in the 12th century, or the gender anxiety felt by monks. The man vs non-man model is more subtle than it sounds, but a more useful model is that of a continuum. Fighting man, leading into praying man, alongside working man. Most men fit somewhere between the models. Praying men are more similar too praying women than they are too other formulations of the feminine.

Homosexuality I do have to reject, homosex occurs (look up Peter Damian), homolove occurs (look up Anselm of Bec), they are not necessarily linked. If a monk is celibate, and all sex is forbidden, then there is no reason to get all het up about homolove. Interestingly similar reasonings separating homosex (levitical condemnations) and homolove (David and Jonathan), can be applied to the bible.

So, having done that, I am in Edinburgh, in the real world. I am not qualified to comment on gender/sexuality identifications after the Herrenfrage (see Jo Ann McNamara). I would love to say wonderful things about sunny Edinburgh, I haven't seen it yet this trip. Rainy Edinburgh is pretty nice though. I am having a wonderful time. Natasha is working at the mo, I am split between being a househusband, and job hunting. I'm going to be up in Edinburgh for the whole summer. Eventually me and Natasha will both be working; we'll be living like real people. That is pretty scary. The whole summer is a kind of trial run. So far it is going pretty well, watch this space.

No comments:

Post a Comment