The historical understanding of female premodern possessions. Problematizing some gender assumptions in the historiography on Teresa de Ávila and Jeanne des Anges

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Abstract

© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This paper discusses how to approach the history of female possessions today. By analyzing some recent contributions applied to two well-known historical figures: Teresa de Ávila (1515–1582) and Jeanne des Anges (1602–1665), I will problematize some of the ongoing history of female possessions. I intend a reflection on two of the current conceptual frameworks that feature the way history explains the subjective experience of these premodern possessed individuals. I focus on two kinds of interpretation: one I call the ‘neurotic’ interpretation, and the other the ‘subversive’ interpretation. Both constructions underpin explanations of women’s divine and demonic possessions, involving historiographical gender prejudices and ahistorical assumptions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's History Review
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • ahistoricism
  • Divine and demonic possession
  • gender history
  • historiography
  • Jeanne des Anges
  • Teresa de Ávila

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