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Arnold sabbatical work focused on creation of a new course, 'Queer History'
Friday, December 04, 2015

Arnold sabbatical work focused on creation of a new course, 'Queer History'

Associate Professor John Arnold

John Arnold, associate professor of History, has used a fall sabbatical to author publications and to create a new course to be offered in the Spring 2016 semester.

The course, "Queer History," will be team-taught with Jeffry Iovannone, coordinator of the minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and cross-listed as an offering both for History and Women’s and Gender Studies. The course imaginatively compares and contrasts pre-modern and modern formations of non-normative or "troubled" gender structures. An immersive reading campaign in gender theory and queer theory has allowed Dr. Arnold to explore same-sex relationships in ancient Greek and Roman societies, early Christian acceptance of chastity and eunuchs as licit gender expressions (if not identities), the formation of the sodomite and sodomy as a locus of social impurity, the policing of sodomy, and the possibility of a lesbian identity during the later Middle Ages. Dr. Iovannone will build upon these themes with his expertise on modern subject matter. This addition to campus instruction is believed to enhance student literacies and cultural competencies by engaging knowledges of gendered social constructs in past and present societies. Arnold's preparation for the course allowed him to take part in the Buffalo Humanities Festival in September, where he presented "The Real Eunuchs of Constantinople." The talk explored eunuchs as "queer" figures in later Roman society of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Additionally, Arnold has finished two articles now accepted for publication which build upon his scholarly examination of angel veneration in early Christianity. One, co-authored with Tony Walter of Bath, United Kingdom, treats the role of angels in the death experience. It will appear in a forthcoming Routledge Companion to Death and Dying. The other, entitled "Lections for St. Michael the Archangel: Liturgy as Angelology at tenth-century Mont St.-Michel," will appear in an edited volume of essays on the subject of medieval angelology, to be published by Brepols.

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