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Emotions, gender, and authority at the curia of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)

Project description

Emotions, gender, and authority at the curia of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)

Pope Innocent III is often regarded as the most powerful pope of the Middle Ages, serving from 1198 to 1216 – a period of crisis and renewal within the Latin Church. The EU-funded PapalEmotions project will examine how Pope Innocent III and his curia used emotions to communicate papal authority and how this was shaped by contemporary ideas about gender. The project will investigate emotional rhetoric in papal letters, sermons and biography produced by the curia with a focus on expressions of sorrow, anger, and emotive pastoral imagery. PapalEmotions aims to develop a novel framework for the use of emotional discourse to understand masculine hegemonic authority.

Objective

By the end of the twelfth century, the papacy had become one of the most influential institutions in Latin Christendom. Using ideas and approaches from gender studies and the history of emotions, this interdisciplinary project investigates how the pope and his curia used emotions to communicate papal authority, and how this was shaped by contemporary ideas about gender. It focuses on the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216), which was a period of both crisis and renewal within the Latin Church. Scholars of clerical masculinity have fruitfully analysed depictions of emotional expression in central-medieval episcopal texts to determine how clerical authors used emotional signification to convey an exclusively male authority. Few studies, however, exist on papal emotions, and scholars have not examined the role played by gender in the ways in which central-medieval popes conveyed their authority. The project makes use of a variety of sources including papal letters, sermons, and biographies. These documents are rich with gendered emotional coding, and I focus on how expressions of sorrow, anger, and emotive pastoral imagery were used in instances when the pope faced challenges to his authority. I argue that examining expressions of emotion sheds light on how the papal curia’s rhetorical manipulation and use of discourses of masculinity influenced the way in which it communicated papal authority. In doing so, I provide an innovative framework for the use of emotional discourse to understand masculine hegemonic authority. This project will be developed at CGS Aalborg (host) and IAHR Vienna (secondment) to allow me to collaborate with outstanding researchers in the history of papal communication at these institutions, ensuring that my project is at the cutting edge of research and will develop my career. The results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed open access articles, a popular history magazine article, a podcast, and workshops for high-school pupils.

Coordinator

AALBORG UNIVERSITET
Net EU contribution
€ 207 312,00
Address
FREDRIK BAJERS VEJ 7K
9220 Aalborg
Denmark

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Region
Danmark Nordjylland Nordjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 207 312,00