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Barber Lecture to Address Medieval Bodies

Posted by Jenna Ray on Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013

Event Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 7:30 pm
Location: HFA Recital Hall

William Burgwinkle, professor of Medieval French and Occitan at Cambridge University, will be the featured speaker at the 2013 Barber Lecture on Tuesday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. The title of Burgwinkle’s talk is “Medieval Bodies: Looking and touching.”

Burgwinkle argues that in an age of visual saturation, the medieval image stands even more prominently as an enigma. He asks how we are to read images that were produced in an age that is so similar and yet so distant from our own: an age in which visual material was relatively rare outside of public spaces and churches and in which the subject matter seems so insistently religious. Using W.J.T. Mitchell’s notion of visual culture and a series of thirteenth-century manuscript illuminations of saints and martyrs, Burgwinkle will argue for a more open and creative reading of medieval imagery, one that takes into account the various techniques by which we view and interpret the world and incorporates a reception that is sensuous and emotional as well as scholarly and devotional.

Burgwinkle is a specialist in the fields of literature, film, and cultural studies, gender and sexuality, and critical theory. He is the author of numerous books, including Sodomy, Masculinity and Law in Medieval Literature, 1050–1230, Love for Sale: Materialist Readings of the Troubadour Razo Corpus, and Razos and Troubadour Songs. Burgwinkle received his PhD in French literature, theory, and culture from Stanford University. He has taught at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and is currently a fellow of King’s College at the University of Cambridge, where he directs undergraduate studies in modern and medieval languages and has served as director of research.

The Barber Lecture Series is made possible by a gift to the University of Minnesota, Morris from Laird Barber, professor emeritus of English, and the late Dorothy Barber.

The 2013 Barber Lecture is free and open to the public. It will also be streamed live online.