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Eschatological time as women’s time? Gendered temporality and female holiness in Early Christianity and Byzantium

Description du projet

Une recherche sur la disparition des femmes saintes

Pourquoi les femmes saintes ont‑elles progressivement disparu au cours du millénaire byzantin? Pour répondre à cette question, le projet GenTime, financé par l’UE, enquêtera sur le lien entre le temps et la construction du féminin dans les discours hagiographiques byzantins et de l’Antiquité tardive. Ce projet comparera ce lien aux attentes eschatologiques qui façonnaient les premiers idéaux chrétiens de la sainteté féminine. Il analysera des histoires sur des femmes saintes datant du 2e au 13e siècle. Ce projet mettra également en lumière la persistance des stratégies utilisées pour contrôler les femmes au sein des ordres sociaux patriarcaux. Les résultats du projet accroîtront la sensibilisation sur la façon dont les discours genrés de ces époques ont été utilisés de manière historique pour promouvoir des modes de vie qui relèvent davantage des luttes de pouvoir entre groupes sociaux concurrents.

Objectif

This proposal investigates the nexus between time and the construction of the feminine in Late Antique and Byzantine hagiographical discourses. By looking both at ways time is experienced through the body and construed by society and religion, GenTime engages with a highly debated problem in Byzantine studies: why did female saints progressively disappear over the Byzantine millennium? GenTime argues that this trajectory has to be understood against the eschatological expectations shaping early Christian ideals of female holiness. In the 2nd and 3rd century the impending end of times subsumed any other temporality and led to the subversion of traditionally construed “women’s time”. Once the Roman Empire became Christian, the eschatological horizon was reinforced in Byzantium by the widespread circulation of apocalyptic motives, adopted by the Imperial power for political and moral purposes. Eschatologically-motivated narrative patterns about women saints became entrenched and their ongoing success made it hard to accommodate new experiences of holiness when other models of lay temporality eventually emerged during the Middle Byzantine era. GenTime looks at stories about women saints produced between the 2nd and the 13th century CE by adopting a longue durée perspective and using narratology to analyze how patterns of temporalities are inscribed in the text. It builds on feminist phenomenology to highlight the persistence of strategies used to control women’s time within patriarchal social orders. GenTime works with medieval sources and it reflects on the dialectics between integration/assimilation, minority/majority cultures, gender/societal values, all of them of major concern in modern societies. In doing so, it raises awareness about the ways gendered discourses of time have historically been used to promote lifestyles that, ultimately, have less to do with women’s empowerment and more with power struggles between competing social groups.

Coordinateur

SYDDANSK UNIVERSITET
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 207 312,00
Adresse
CAMPUSVEJ 55
5230 Odense M
Danemark

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Région
Danmark Syddanmark Fyn
Type d’activité
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Liens
Coût total
€ 207 312,00