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Start Date

9th Mar 2018 3:30pm

End Date

9th Mar 2018 5:00pm


Room 346, Humanities Building, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

ALL WELCOME. For enquiries, please contact Humanities Admin Team

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The inaugural seminar in the Humanities Showcase will be on Friday the 9th of March, 3.30-5 in Hum346.

Our first seminar features presentations from Lucy Tatman and Liz Freeman, and is loosely themed to consider “silence”. 

Dr Lucy Tatman


How is it possible to write of the myriad kinds of silence with which we are surrounded? I am thinking especially of those dense or jagged silences so impervious to words, which increasingly appear in a world become too much, and too little, to bear.

Dr Elizabeth Freeman

“Speaking and Teaching are the Master’s Task; the Disciple is to be Silent and Listen”. Did Medieval Nuns Follow this Instruction? Case Studies from the German Rhineland (12th and 13th Centuries).

Restraint of speech, silence, vigilance over the senses – these similar but different terms were fundamental to western Christian monastic life during the Middle Ages (and to this day). Almost always seen as positives, they were also seen as tangible – the ideal silence was produced by active efforts, on the part of both individuals and the broader monastic community, and not by casual omission of noise. What did this silence consist of and what was it designed to achieve? And what about the section in the Benedictine Rule – the most widespread monastic rule in medieval Europe – that permitted the monastery’s master to speak and teach? Did this lead to female masters teaching their fellow nuns? Case studies from German Rhineland nunneries show us the complexities of the public voice within medieval western Christian culture, including the gendered nature of that voice. It seems that nuns in the Rhineland were able to exploit the coexistence of multiple normative concepts in ways that nuns elsewhere did not. Yes, Hildegard of Bingen will make a brief appearance, but the focus of this paper will be the less well-known nuns at Sankt Thomas an der Kyll, in the shadow of the monks of Himmerod.