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The Queen's Hand

Power and Authority in the Reign of Berenguela of Castile

By Janna Bianchini

Her name is undoubtedly less familiar than that of her grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, or that of her famous conqueror son, Fernando III, yet during her lifetime, Berenguela of Castile (1180-1246) was one of the most powerful women in Europe. As queen-consort of Alfonso IX of León, she acquired the troubled boundary lands between the kingdoms of Castile and León and forged alliances with powerful nobles on both sides. Even after her marriage was dissolved, she continued to strengthen these connections as a member of her father's court. On her brother's death, she inherited the Castilian throne outright—and then, remarkably, elevated her son to kingship at the same time. Using her assiduously cultivated alliances, Berenguela ruled alongside Fernando and set into motion the strategy that in 1230 would result in his acquisition of the crown of León—and the permanent union of Castile and León.

In The Queen's Hand, Janna Bianchini explores Berenguela's extraordinary lifelong partnership with her son and examines the means through which she was able to build and exercise power. Bianchini contends that recognition of Berenguela as a powerful reigning queen by nobles, bishops, ambassadors, and popes shows the key participation of royal women in the western Iberian monarchy. Demonstrating how royal women could wield enormous authority both within and outside their kingdoms, Bianchini reclaims Berenguela's place as one of the most important figures of the Iberian Middle Ages.

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The Queen's Library

Image-Making at the Court of Anne of Brittany, 1477-1514

By Cynthia J. Brown

What do the physical characteristics of the books acquired by elite women in the late medieval and early modern periods tell us about their owners, and what in particular can their illustrations—especially their illustrations of women—reveal? Centered on Anne, duchess of Brittany and twice queen of France, with reference to her contemporaries and successors, The Queen's Library examines the cultural issues surrounding female modes of empowerment and book production. The book aims to uncover the harmonies and conflicts that surfaced in male-authored, male-illustrated works for and about women.

In her interdisciplinary investigation of the cultural and political legacy of Anne of Brittany and her female contemporaries, Cynthia J. Brown argues that the verbal and visual imagery used to represent these women of influence was necessarily complex because of its inherently conflicting portrayal of power and subordination. She contends that it can be understood fully only by drawing on the intersection of pertinent literary, historical, codicological, and art historical sources. In The Queen's Library, Brown examines depictions of women of power in five spheres that tellingly expose this tension: rituals of urban and royal reception; the politics of female personification allegories; the "famous-women" topos; women in mourning; and women mourned.

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Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England

Carole Levin

In Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England, Carole Levin and Robert Bucholz provide a forum for the underexamined, anomalous reigns of queens in history. These regimes, primarily regarded as interruptions to the “normal” male monarchy, have been examined largely as isolated cases. This interdisciplinary study of queens throughout history examines their connections to one another, their constituents’ perceptions of them, and the fallacies of their historical reputations. The contributors consider historical queens as well as fictional, mythic, and biblical queens and how they were represented in medieval and early modern England. They also give modern readers a glimpse into the early modern worldview, particularly regarding order, hierarchy, rulership, property, biology, and the relationship between the sexes. Considering topics as diverse as how Queen Elizabeth’s unmarried status affected the perception of her as a just and merciful queen to a reevaluation of “good Queen Anne” as more than just an obese, conventional monarch, this volume encourages readers to reexamine previously held assumptions about the role of female monarchs in early modern history.

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Queenship and Sanctity

The Lives of Mathilda and the Epitaph of Adelheid (Medieval Texts in Translation)

Sean Gilsdorf

Queenship and Sanctity brings together for the first time in English the anonymous Lives of Mathilda and Odilo of Cluny's Epitaph of Adelheid. Richly annotated, with an extensive introduction placing the texts and their subjects in historical and hagiographical context, it provides teachers and students with a crucial set of sources for the history of Europe (particularly Germany) in the tenth and eleventh centuries, for the development of sacred biography and medieval notions of sanctity, and for the life of aristocratic and royal women in the early Middle Ages.

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Queer Africa

New and Collected Fiction

Queer Africa is a collection of unapologetic, tangled, tender, funny, bruising and brilliant stories about the many ways in which we love each other on the continent Ö In these unafraid stories of intimacy, sweat, betrayal and restless confidences, we accompany characters into cafÈs, tattoo salons, the barest of bedrooms, coldly gleaming spaces into which the rich withdraw, unlit streets, and their own deepest interiors.

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Queer Bangkok

21st Century Markets, Media, and Rights

Peter A. Jackson

The Thai capital Bangkok is the unrivalled centre of the country’s gay, lesbian, and transgender communities. These communities are among the largest in Southeast Asia, and indeed in the world, and have a diversity, social presence, and historical depth that set them apart from the queer cultures of many neighbouring societies. The first years of the twenty-first century have marked a significant transition moment for all of Thailand’s LGBT cultures, with a multidimensional expansion in the geographical extent, media presence, economic importance, political impact, social standing, and cultural relevance of Thai queer communities. This book analyses the roles of the market and media—especially cinema and the Internet—in these transformations, and considers the ambiguous consequences that the growing commodification and mediatization of queer lives have had for LGBT rights in Thailand. A key finding is that in the early twenty-first century processes of global queering are leading to a growing Asianization of Bangkok’s queer cultures. This book traces Bangkok’s emergence as a central focus of an expanding regional network linking gay, lesbian, and transgender communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines and other rapidly developing East and Southeast Asian societies.

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Queer Beirut

By Sofian Merabet

Queer Beirut paves the way for a timely anthropological conversation about gender and queer identities in both Middle Eastern studies and urban studies.

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Queer Bergman

Sexuality, Gender, and the European Art Cinema

By Daniel Humphrey

Foregrounding a fundamental aspect of the Swedish auteur’s work that has been routinely ignored, as well as the vibrant connection between postwar American queer culture and European art cinema, this book offers a pioneering reading of Bergman’s films as profoundly queer work.

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Queer Chivalry

Medievalism and the Myth of White Masculinity in Southern Literature

Tison Pugh

For the U.S. South, the myth of chivalric masculinity dominates the cultural and historical landscape. Visions of white southern men as archetypes of honor and gentility run throughout regional narratives with little regard for the actions and, at times, the atrocities committed by such men. In Queer Chivalry, Tison Pugh exposes the inherent contradictions in these depictions of cavalier manhood, investigating the foundations of southern gallantry as a reincarnated and reauthorized version of medieval masculinity. Pugh argues that the idea of masculinity -- particularly as seen in works by prominent southern authors from Mark Twain to Ellen Gilchrist -- constitutes a cultural myth that queerly demarcates accepted norms of manliness, often by displaying the impossibility of its achievement.

Beginning with Twain's famous critique of "the Sir Walter disease" that pilloried the South, Pugh focuses on authors who questioned the code of chivalry by creating protagonists whose quests for personal knighthood prove quixotic. Through detailed readings of major works -- including Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Flannery O'Connor's short fiction, John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, Robert Penn Warren's A Place to Come To, Walker Percy's novels, and Gilchrist's The Annunciation -- Pugh demonstrates that the hypermasculinity of white-knight ideals only draws attention to the ambiguous gender of the literary southern male.

Employing insights from gender and psychoanalytic theory, Queer Chivalry contributes to recent critical discussions of the cloaked anxieties about gender and sexuality in southern literature. Ultimately, Pugh uncovers queer limits in the cavalier mythos, showing how facts and fictions contributed to the ideological formulation of the South.

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Queer Christianities

Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms

Kathleen T. Talvacchia

Queerness and Christianity, often depicted as mutually exclusive, both challenge received notions of the good and the natural. Nowhere is this challenge more visible than in the identities, faiths, and communities that queer Christians have long been creating. As Christians they have staked a claim for a Christianity that is true to their self-understandings.  How do queer-identified persons understand their religious lives? And in what ways do the lived experiences of queer Christians respond to traditions and reshape them in contemporary practice?

Queer Christianities integrates the perspectives of queer theory, religious studies, and Christian theology into a lively conversation—both transgressive and traditional—about the fundamental questions surrounding the lives of queer Christians. The volume contributes to the emerging scholarly discussion on queer religious experiences as lived both within communities of Christian confession, as well as outside of these established communities.

Organized around traditional Christian states of life—celibacy, matrimony, and what is here provocatively conceptualized as promiscuity—this work reflects the ways in which queer Christians continually reconstruct and multiply the forms these states of life take.

Queer Christianities challenges received ideas about sexuality and religion, yet remains true to Christian self-understandings that are open to further enquiry and to further queerness.

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