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Contact: Christina Chapple
Bill Robison; right, Robin Norris
WITCHES AND SAINTS IN
THE SPOTLIGHT DURING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH’S THIRD WEEK
HAMMOND -- The life of an unlikely
saint and the Renaissance’s campaign against witches will be spotlighted
by Southeastern Louisiana University professors as the university’s annual
celebration of Women’s History Month continues.
In the third week of the celebration
hosted by the Southeastern Women’s Coalition, Bill Robison, head of the
department of history and political sciences, will talk about “How to Catch
Witches: Some Tips from Renaissance Inquisitors,” while English professor
Robin Norris’s presentation will be “Inspired by the Feminine Divine: St.
Mary of Egypt in the Middle Ages.”
Norris’s lecture is scheduled for 12:30
p.m. March 16, and Robison will speak at 11 a.m. on March 18. Both lectures
are scheduled for Sims Memorial Library.
A specialist in early medieval literature,
Norris began working on the Old English version of the legend of St. Mary
of Egypt as part of her dissertation, which was completed at the University
of Toronto in 2003.
“My investigation of Anglo-Saxon attitudes
toward female saints is part of an ongoing project,” she said.
Norris said her talk will detail how
Mary left a licentious early lifestyle behind to become a hermit in the
desert, relying on the Virgin Mary “to protect her from the temptation
of sinful memories, from lewd songs to eating meat.
“When a monk named Zosimus comes looking
for a spiritual father to show him the path to enlightenment, this unlikely
saint shows him another way to salvation,” Norris said.
Robison’s lecture will examine the paradoxical
era in European history from 1450 to 1650 in which the revival of learning
associated with the Renaissance coincided with the superstitious frenzy
of the Great Witch Hunt.
“It will focus in particular upon the
methods that inquisition officials used to identify, apprehend, and prosecute
the individuals accused of being witches,” Robison said. He will draw examples
from contemporary sources, notably “The Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of
Witches)” published around 1486 by inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and
The observance of Women's History Month
is sponsored by the Southeastern Women's Coalition, the College of Arts
and Sciences, the department of English, and the department of history
and political science. For additional information, call 985-549-2330 or