OTKA Saints Colloquia Series: Public lecture by Jenni Kuuliala

November 26, 2013 - 17:30 - 19:00
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Open to the Public
OTKA Saints Colloquia Series: Public lecture by Jenni Kuuliala

Jenni Kuuliala

(University of Tampere/CEU Budapest)

The Boundaries of Difference:

Physical Disability in Medieval Canonization Processes


Children whose missing tongues and twisted limbs were miraculously cured by saints appear frequently in medieval canonization processes. Based on the testimonies regarding such cures, the medieval definitions of impaired body will be discussed in the presentation. How was physical difference constructed in the miracle narratives and which aspects of it were emphasized? How was bodily order returned at the moment of the miracle, and what constituted a non-impaired body? The witness accounts give us a picture of disability as something largely influenced by the type of the impairment, the family’s socio-economic situation and the child’s gender.


Jenni Kuuliala received her PhD at the University of Tampere, Finland, with a doctoral dissertation entitled Disability and Social Integration. Constructions of Childhood Impairments in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Canonisation Processes. She is currently a visiting research fellow at the CEU Department of Medieval Studies. From January 2014 she is going to work as a researcher in the research group “Homo debilis. Dis/ability in der Vormoderne” at the University of Bremen.