Reflections from Jonah Coman

Presenters have been asked to comment on the motivations, perspectives and sources that inform their work in LGBT history as well as their thoughts regarding the upcoming conference. Jonah Coman, a PhD student in Medieval Studies at the University of St. Andrews, offers the following reflections:

The personal is political. I don’t want to pretend it is not, and I don’t want to pretend I don’t have the privilege of being able to research my community’s past. My work reconciling a secular modern gender diversity with a medieval Christian gender fluidity gives believers and non-believers alike a past to see themselves into.

I would say my endeavour is metaphysical or philosophical in part – I use medieval Christian paradoxes to reveal a history less blighted by violence, while transforming these religious ideas into a temporal philosophy.

Medieval images of crucifixion are the most striking of my sources, but poetry and theology is also a very important part of my material.

LGBT history is usually mapped in mainstream discourse as ‘the Greeks’ [and then] ‘Stonewall’. I’m excited to see this gap in history filled in, and to share my own expertise in medieval ideas about gender and sexuality.

In a present so full of violence, hate and plights, the the historian of queerness finds love across time and space. Join us and discover lovers and foremothers.