Gendered Literature and Literacy: Papers in Memory of Catherine Innes-Parker

This session is organized in honour and memory of Catherine Innes-Parker by exploring a topic that featured prominently in her scholarship: medieval women’s books and reading practices.

In a 2002 article, Innes-Parker took a novel approach to women’s texts from medieval England that highlighted the extent of their circulation and suggested that “gendered attitudes and patterns of literacy are more complex than has previously been recognized” (p. 239). These attitudes and patterns continue to merit further investigation, and this session seeks to explore them in all their complexities.

Possible paper topics include:

  • Medieval views of gender and their effect on literary creation

    BL, Add MS 7970 fol. 140v

    British Library, Add MS 7970 fol. 140v

  • Women as book owners and creators
  • Intersectional approaches to medieval book history
  • Gender and vernacular literacy
  • Gendered reading practices
  • Medieval women’s devotional literature
  • Gender and inscribed audiences



While the temporal and geographical focus of this session, in keeping with Catherine’s scholarship, will be on late medieval England (c. 1100-1500), papers related to these themes but with other geographical or temporal concerns are also welcome.

This session is for the Canadian Society of Medievalists conference. This year’s conference will take place between June 1-3, 2020 in London, Ontario, which is approximately 2 hours by train or car from Toronto.

Proposals for 20-minute papers (in English or French) should include a one-page abstract, title, contact information and a one-page CV (required for CSM papers). Proposals and inquiries can be sent to the session organizer, Dr. Krista A. Murchison via email  (Deadline: January 10th, 2020). Participants in the CSM congress must be members of CSM at the time of the congress.