The Lexicon Project is a working group of  scholars funded by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago that seeks to recover and explore the ways that people wrote and thought about questions of embodiment in the Middle Ages. Now in its 5th year, the Lexicon Project aims to develop a critical vocabulary that addresses issues relating to the study of gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, race, human/nonhuman animals, and monstrosity in order to give voice to the distinct ways medieval sources take up these themes while also interacting with contemporary theoretical approaches. By doing so, the members of the Lexicon Project hope to broaden contemporary debates about the nature of embodiment while also recognizing that thinking through concepts in a medieval framework can be a way of pushing back against the notion that the medieval can be recuperated to justify normative assumptions in the present.

Christ’s Head surrounded by the Four Humors, Egerton 2572,  f. 51v.

The Lexicon Project meets regularly 2 or 3 times a quarter to discuss readings that relate to the question of embodiment in the Middle Ages and also organizes talks by visiting scholars on related material. All meetings of the Lexicon Project are entirely open to the University community and we encourage anyone interested to join us! Details about the current quarter’s activities can be found on our schedule and readings are made periodically available here. All readings are password protected, so please  contact  us if you would like the password!

This reading group studies embodiment in the Middle Ages as well as the various ideologies that shaped medieval embodiment, including sex, race, religion, and sexual desire. Note that by joining the conversations at the Lexicon Project participants agree to help cultivate a respectful, supportive intellectual environment for discussion. Members of the working group itself share a common goal of approaching these topics from an anti-racist, anti-misogynistic, anti-homophobic, and anti-transphobic perspective. For a statement of commitment to this perspective signed by members of the medieval studies community at the University of Chicago, see here.