Friday, May 15, 2009

The Masculine Self in Late Medieval England, by Derek G. Neal

Derek Neal is a colleague at Nipissing University, and this is his first book. I think it will be a hit, because he takes on a set of current scholarly issues and manages to discuss the theoretical perspectives and source material with great clarity. The cover illustration makes me laugh, because Derek specifically says early in the book that he is interested in non-elite Englishmen and that there will be little or no "swordplay" in it; I am unaware that he mentions armor or helmets anywhere in the text, though shoes do show up briefly.

If you are tempted to think that gender is just another trendy scholarly fad you can safely ignore, I challenge you to read this book and then say it didn't enrich your view of later medieval England, or didn't impress you with the possibilities of this kind of analysis.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Earl and Neal in dialogue -- "Cruelty in History: A Conversation" -- an appreciation

I always enjoy the seminars from the history seminar series here at Nipissing University, and today's was no exception. The subject was well-chosen, and the discussants did it justice. They actually were talking to each other, but without excluding the audience, which was numerous. Indeed, the audience was pulled right in and proved to have plenty to say. I include a couple of pictures.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reminder: Earl and Neal talk about cruelty in history, Friday, March 13, 2:30 pm, Room A224

How pertinent is "cruelty" as a term of historical analysis? Is the historian who refers to a given custom, episode or individual "cruel" making a useful judgment, or one that obscures historical knowledge? In dwelling on "cruelty" in history do we sometimes run the risk of buying into the investments of particular audiences or interests? And how do we teach about cruelty in history without becoming sensationalistic or exploitative?

Derek Neal and Hilary Earl will explore these questions in a conversation that investigates cruelty (as defined both by historical actors and by present-day historians) in a range of historical settings from premodern times to the present, with particular focus on Dr. Earl's research into twentieth-century war and genocide.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Derek Neal Speaks: The Damage Done:


From Dr. James Murton:

The next talk in the History Department Seminar Series features our own gender and medieval historian Derek Neal, speaking on "Sex and the Damage Done: A Rare Prosecution for Sodomy in Late Medieval England."

Next Friday, Oct 24, 3:00 pm, Rm A224 (note the later than normal time to accommodate the Arts & Science Council Meeting).

Refreshments will be served.

Hope to see you there!


Image: The White Hart Inn in Blythburgh, Suffolk, was built in the 13th century as an ecclesiastical court venue, where such cases would have been tried.

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