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.