Appel à contributions : Gender, Science and the ‘Natural’ World

Lieu : Université de Swansea (Royaume-Uni)

Dates : 06-08 janvier 2020

Date limite de réponse à l’appel : 31 juillet 2019

Two contrasting interpretations of human creation – the Aristotelian conception of the ‘natural’ default of life as male, and Hildegard of Bingen’s conception of life as a feminized process of natality and viriditatas (‘greening’) – subscribe in different ways to an ancient and medieval worldview that prioritises a God-given schematic order with the human at its centre. For Aristotle (d. 322 BCE), however, ‘Females are weaker and colder in their nature (than males) and we should look upon the female state as being as it were a deformity’ (On the Generation of Animals 4:3); whereas for Hildegard (d. 1179) the natural world presents as a dynamic, God-given revelation of natality in its greenness, unfolding and flourishing: ‘By the secret design of the Supernatural Creator . . . the infant in the maternal womb receives a spirit, and shows by the movements of its body that it lives, just as the earth opens and brings forth the flowers of its use when the dew falls on it’ (Scivias, I.iv). This conference will interrogate such gendered configurations of the ‘natural’ world in the medieval imaginary and the influence of scientific and medical ideas upon understandings of the universe.

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