The Once and Future Sex: Eleanor Janega in Conversation with Cat Jarman

Thursday 9th March 2023
18:30 - 19:45 at Waterstones, London - Gower Street

The Once and Future Sex: Eleanor Janega in Conversation with Cat Jarman

Join us for an evening with author of the illuminating The Once and Future Sex, Eleanor Janega, who will be discussing her book with author and archaeologist Cat Jarman.

Enshrined medieval thinkers, almost always male, subscribed to a blend of classical philosophy and Christian theology for their concepts of the sexes. Helen of Troy was deemed the height of female attractiveness. Eve cast a long shadow of sin, lust and weakness over women. And, unless a nun, a woman was to be the embodiment of perfect motherhood. In contrast, drawing on accounts of remarkable and subversive medieval women like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Hildegard of Bingen, along with others hidden in documents and court cases, Janega shows us how real women of the era lived. While often mothers, they were industrious farmers, brewers, textile workers, artists and artisans who paved the way for new ideas about women’s nature, intellect and ability.

At once a revisionist history and sociological survey of contemporary feminism, The Once and Future Sex unravels the restricting expectations on medieval women and the ones on women today. Janega boldly questions why, if our ideas of women have changed drastically over time, we cannot reimagine them now to create a more equitable future.

'The Once and Future Sex is a bracing and witty exploration of how gender is constructed. Eleanor Janega shows it is high time we stop using 'medieval' as a pejorative and we stop patting ourselves on the back for our supposed progress. Combining incisive cultural criticism, meticulous research, and juicy historical tidbits, The Once and Future Sex proves that the path towards a more equitable future can be found by way of the medieval past.' - Shelley Puhak

'A startling rethinking of why the medieval past still matters. Eleanor Janega tells how women's roles are fundamentally constructed and the ways they have both changed over time and unfortunately stayed the same. With erudition and humour, this book offers the reader a perfect case study of how a fuller accounting of the past opens up new, better possible worlds.' - Matthew Gabriele

Dr Eleanor Janega is a medieval historian specialising in sexuality, propaganda, apocalypticism, urbanity and empire in the late medieval and early modern periods. She has previously taught at UCL and KCL and currently teaches medieval and early modern history at the London School of Economics. Janega presents the Going Medieval documentary series on the History Hit network, co-hosts the We're Not So Different podcast with Luke Waters and is the author of The Middle Ages: A Graphic History. She lives in London.

Dr Cat Jarman is a bioarchaeologist and field archaeologist specialising in the Viking Age, Viking women, and Rapa Nui. She uses forensic techniques like isotope analysis, carbon dating, and DNA analysis on human remains to untangle the experiences of past people from broader historical narratives. Dr Jarman has contributed to numerous TV documentaries as both an on-screen expert and historical consultant, including programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, History, Discovery, and more.

Don't forget to include a copy of The Once and Future Sex with your ticket! There will a chance to get books signed on the night. Join us from 18:00 for a welcome drink!

London - Gower Street Waterstones, London - Gower Street
Thursday 9th March 2023
18:30 - 19:45

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