Among the many treasures of the Carolingian world is a lengthy handbook written by an aristocratic woman named Dhuoda (c. 800–c. 843 CE). Deeply personal and incredibly learned, the Liber manualis affords this mother her only opportunity to connect to two distant sons: a fourteen-year-old serving as a political hostage at the court of Charles the Bald and an infant taken from her arms while still nursing. This talk will explore what Dhuoda's handbook reveals about Carolingian conceptions of gender, the central role of reading in aristocratic Christian life, and the reach of political communication across both geographical expanses and gendered divisions.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
DANA POLANICHKA is Associate Professor of History at Wheaton College. Her interests include late antique and medieval intellectual and cultural history, especially medieval conceptions of sacred space, Christian rituals, liturgical performance, art and architecture; Carolingian history and historiography; gender, sexuality, and the conception of scandal at the Carolingian court; legacies of Roman history, literature, art, architecture, and ritual in the medieval world.
Presented by St. Jerome's University Medieval Studies and the University of Waterloo.