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A Woman of Passion, or the Powerful Emotions of Lukardis of Oberweimar (d. 1309)

bannerDate: Tuesday November 18,
Venue: Rogers Room, Woolley Building,The University of Sydney All welcome

Abstract: According to her vita, Lukardis of Oberweimar began her career as a young Cistercian nun suffering from various ailments. Her passions make her a stigmatized holy woman, who undergoes a spiritual pregnancy and visible stigmata, and eventually shares her charisma with the sisters of her convent of Oberweimar. In this paper I propose reading her life as a text in which the transformative power of emotions is central, both in her own life and in that of the convent. Her transformation is an emotional transformation, happening through the bodily performance of passions, a word which merits comment; her sanctity and emotional sharing transform the convent into an emotional community which, most probably, does not last.

Exploring the power of emotions as represented in the vita offers an opportunity to reflect, first, on the importance of emotions in late-medieval anthropology, and secondly on the problems a (medievalist) historian meets while working on emotions in history.

Piroska Nagy is a professor of medieval history at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).  From 2014 to 2017 she is also an International Partner Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.  Professor Nagy has previously taught at the Université Paris I, the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, Université de Rouen and the Central European University. She is author of Le don des larmes au Moyen Age. Un instrument spirituel en quête d’institution, Ve-XIIIe siècle (Paris: Albin Michel, 2000) and co-author, with Damien Boquet, of Sensible Moyen Age. Une histoire culturelle des émotions et de la vie affective dans l'Occident médiéval, (Paris: Seuil, forthcoming in 2015).  With Damien Boquet in 2006, Nagy launched the first French research project on the history of emotions, EMMA, EMotions in the Middle Ages: and coedited with D. Boquet Émotions médiévales (2007); Le sujet des émotions au Moyen Âge (2009); Politiques des émotions au Moyen Âge (2010); La chair des émotions au Moyen Âge (2011).

Image: Christ on the Cross, Schnütgen Museum, Cologne. Devotional image attributed to a female monastic designer, Germany in the 14th century. Discovered and published by J. Hamburger, in Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997