Attending to Early Modern Women Workshop: Sex and Marriage: Then and Now

by Jessica C. Murphy

Katharine Cleland, Katie Kalpin Smith, Sara Keeth, and I will be leading a workshop at ATW this year (http://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/conferences/atw2015/index.cfm). Taking “Taxonomies of Time” as its primary theme, this workshop will explore the similarities and differences between the topics of gender, sexuality, and marriage in the early modern and modern worlds. In particular, the workshop will focus on the regulation and representation of female bodies in relationship to marriage. We are interested in looking at the early modern period alongside our own as well as how ideas about women’s bodies compare when outside of marriage (before and after) or within marriage. Workshop participants will put excerpts from early modern texts, including The Duchess of Malfi, in conversation with relevant current events, including the heated public debates over gay marriage and birth control. Our hope is that workshop discussion will encourage participants to think comparatively about issues of sex and marriage across time and across the boundaries of the institution itself (before, during, and after marriage).

I thought I would share our readings with you all as we get them together for the conference organizers. So far, we have:
Liptak, Adam. “Justices Rule in Favor of Hobby Lobby.” The New York Times 30 June 2014. NYTimes.com.
—. “Supreme Court to Decide Marriage Rights for Gay Couples Nationwide.” The New York Times 16 Jan. 2015. NYTimes.com.
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet (excerpts: selections from Act 3, scene 5) from Greenblatt, Stephen et al., eds. The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition, 2nd Edition. 2nd edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008.
Webster, John, The Duchess of Malfi (excerpts: selections from Act 2 and Act 5) from Greenblatt, Stephen et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.

I am also working on a brief description of greensickness to share with workshop participants (and you).

Happy reading! Jessica

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