"The Widow, the Prince, and the Book: How Christine de Pizan Rewrote History"

Presented by Mark Cruse

Professor of French, School of International Letters & Cultures, ASU

Thursday, March 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM, ASU University Club

Co-sponsored by Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University

The new ACMRS Public Programs series – Fearless Females: Audacious and Uppity Women of the Middle Ages was a bigger success than even we had planned (additional chairs had to be brought into the room!). Professor Bjork, Director of ACMRS, welcomed almost 70 attendees, both men and women, who filled the Heritage Room at the University Club to capacity. The first in the series started with a lively program by world renowned scholar on the “woman of the hour”, Associate Professor, ASU School of Letters and Sciences, Dr. Markus Cruse. Dr. Cruse’s presentation (given in Paris a few months prior), highlighted the life of Christine de Pizan illustrating the incontrovertible impact she had on her culture and times, and to the delight of the attendees, showed how her refusal to be silenced echoes throughout the centuries and remains just as relevant today as it did in the 1400s. She was a true role model. De Pizan was not afraid to speak her mind, a woman confident that it was perfectly within the realm of possibility to have a separate and dissenting thought from men … and she put it in writing for everyone to read. Talk about audacious! In the Middle Ages this was not only audacious but dangerous. In spite of the fact her work did not sit too well with most of the men dominating the culture at the time – her writings, poetry and illuminated manuscripts were in demand and thankfully, a significant body of work exists today for us to study. At the end of the presentation, Dr. Cruse welcomed any and all questions from the audience – and they were not bashful. Questions came from all corners of the room, from students as well as general community attendees. Lively discussions between audience members themselves and with Dr. Cruse did not skip a beat as everyone moved from the Heritage Room to the Traditions Room for a dessert reception. The true barometer of a successful program is … does the audience want more? And this audience did. The most asked question – when is the next program? Some attendees did not want to wait until August, but once they learned the next audacious lady to be discussed is Anne Boleyn along with other “Wicked Women of Tudor England” by Dr. Retha Warnicke, the scholar who advised the BBC and Showtime on the series The Tudors, everyone wanted to make certain they were included on our email list. Truly, a good time was had by all!