“Te daré alas de águila y pies de ciervo”: identity and alterity in the writing of the early modern age nuns

12 December 2023. From 18:30 | Conference | Spanish | IEMed
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“Alterity is signified by giving the Infinite to the Same.” In this way, Balbino Quesada Talavera synthesizes the relational philosophy of Emmanuel Lévinas and points out the four levels that inspire my way of thinking about alterity and identity in the context of female barefoot religiosity and spirituality at the beginning of the 17th century. Precisely the focus on the individual, transcendental, that of the relationship with the other and of the language that will be taken as a guide for reading some meanings that alterity had in the autobiographical writing of religious women during the turbulent times of the Catholic Reformation and the Teresian reform. The case study of the texts of Teresa de Jesús María (María Pineda de Zurita, 1592-1641), a prolific writer and acute mystical theologian of the Comunidad de la Encarnación in Cuerva (Toledo), will serve to reflect on the importance of the notion of alterity in the thought of nun authors as a conceptual tool that allowed them to theorize their own subjectivity, corporeality and relationship with God over the androcentric view of the subject-object, dualistic and hierarchical.

Julia Lewandowska is a researcher and  lecturer at the University of Warsaw, main researcher of a project titled “The Mother Tongue: Textuality, Authority and Community in the Post-Teresian Reform Female Monasticism (c.1560-1700)” and research grantee of the international project “Fastos, simulacros y saberes en la América Virreinal”. Her interests include the history and thought of religious women in the Early Modern Age, early Modern Age women’s literary culture, theology, rhetoric, and the history of emotions in religious discourse. She is also co-editor of the Brepols Publishers book series “Women in Christianity. A Cultural History of Women Religious from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period”. Her monograph “Escritoras monjas. Autoridad y autoría en la escritura conventual femenina de los Siglos de Oro” was recognised by the Polish Association of Hispanics as the best monograph in cultural, history and literature studies of the 2019-2020 biennial and by the Asociación de Estudios de Género y Sexualidades (AEGS) with an honorable mention at the Victoria Urbano Awards as the best critical monograph of 2020.

Session moderated by Mariela Fargas Peñarrocha, associate professor of Modern History, UB. The conference is coorganized with the interuniversity Master’s Degree in History and Identities in the Western Mediterranean (15th-19th Centuries). It takes place in Spanish at the IEMed conference room, Girona, 20 – Barcelona.

It can also be followed on IEMed’s Youtube Channel.


Julia Lewandowska

Julia Lewandowska

Researcher and lecturer University of Warsaw
Mariela Fargas Peñarrocha

Mariela Fargas Peñarrocha

Associate professor of Modern History UB

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