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This article only scratches the surface of the peculiar fascination that emerged in the Renaissance around physiological ambiguity and gender identity. If one picks through the dubious concepts of anatomy and the strong binarist and heteronormative positions of both medicine and the law, there are some interesting developments in attitudes toward subjective gender identity.

One of the peculiarities of the podcast is that although the episodes go live on Saturday...that's "Saturday" in South Africa where our fearless leader Sheena lives. Usually it makes for this awkward moment of "do I post the blog the day before?" but since I'm going to be out of the house all day tomorrow, it's a plus this time.

The Lesbian Historic Motif Project - Episode 15a - On the Shelf

(Originally aired 2017/10/07)

Welcome to On the Shelf for October 2017.

When I recorded last month’s On the Shelf, the new expanded format hadn’t actually gone live yet. So I’m still working with the format and getting a sense of what listeners would like to hear.

I included this article despite being only tenuously related to the Project's focus because it forms an interesting contrast and counterpoint to cases of women cross-dressing and passing as men. Of particular interest are the differences in economic opportunities and in what aspects of the case were of concern to the courts. More generally, it provides insight into the differences between modern and medieval approaches to gender and sexuality.

The October "On the Shelf" episode is up at the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. In addition to listing the books covered by the blog in the past and forthcoming month, and anouncing this month's author guest (Caren Werlinger), there's an Ask Sappho segment about how rulers with lesbian relationships were viewed in history. The transcript for this episode will go up tomorrow.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 14e - The Highwaywoman Special

(Originally aired 2017/09/30)

[First two verses of “The Highwayman” by Alfred J. Noyes, music by Phil Ochs, pronouns adjusted]

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 14a - On the Shelf

(Originally aired 2017/09/02)

Welcome to On the Shelf for September 2017.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 6 - The True History of Catharina Vizzani

(Originally aired 2017/01/28)

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 5 - Laudomia Loves Margaret

(Originally aired 2016/12/31)

[Note: I have not transcribed the poems that are quoted in the podcast. The translations I used are from: Eisenbichler, Konrad. “Laudomia Forteguerri Loves Margaret of Austria” in Same Sex Love and Desire Among Women in the Middle Ages (ed. By Francesca Canadé Sautman & Pamela Sheingorn), Palgrave, New York, 2001.]

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 14d - What did Medieval Lesbians Do in Bed?

(Originally aired 2017/09/23)

You might guess from the title of this episode that this one is definitely not safe for work, though you’re going to get far more technical details than racy erotica. But be aware that we’re going to talk about sex today. A lot.


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