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Visibly Trans? Picturing Saint Eugenia in Medieval Art

Mills, R; (2018) Visibly Trans? Picturing Saint Eugenia in Medieval Art. Transgender Studies Quarterly , 5 (4) pp. 540-564. 10.1215/23289252-7090017. Green open access

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Abstract

What happens when medieval depictions of gender-crossing saints get refracted through a transgender prism? Focusing on objects and artifacts associated with St. Eugenia of Rome, this article considers the extent to which medieval artists confronted the genderqueer potential of Eugenia’s legend. Often the saint was overtly feminized, patently obscuring her road to sanctity as a gender crosser. But sometimes the crossing itself was rendered at least partially visible—notably in scenes representing the moment when, after a period living as a male monk, Eugenia is placed on trial and forced to reveal her “true” identity as a woman. Some depictions of Eugenia may therefore resonate with more recent expressions of queer and trans identity. This prompts critical reflection on the concepts of passing and trans visibility in histories of transgender

Type: Article
Title: Visibly Trans? Picturing Saint Eugenia in Medieval Art
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1215/23289252-7090017
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1215/23289252-7090017
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cross-dressing; Eugenia; medieval; saints; visibility.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043877
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