A Queer History of the Age of Dueling

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The iconic Renaissance duel was a romanticized myth as early as the centuries in which it supposedly took place. The abundance of fencing texts from the 16th and 17th centuries speak to the reality of a historical moment that inspires imagery of honorable single combat with swords that continues to capture our imagination into the present. In this class, we'll examine that historical moment through an accessible contemporary lens. Through historical narrative and accounts drawn from primary sources, we will paint a more colorful picture of this period and of the numerous queers whose sword-fights left as many marks on the historical record as they did their combatants.

This is a two-part lecture series: we'll start with a 45-minute introduction to the reality of early modern dueling, followed by a 15-minute Q&A. After a half-hour break, we'll spend another 45 minutes digging deep into primary accounts from the era, and then wrap up with another 15-minute round of questions.

Isidora "Izzy" Baden-Payne (She/Her or They/Them). Though her swashbuckling inclinations go back as far as she can remember, Izzy began practicing historical fencing in 2014. Now an instructor for 3+ years, she brings her perspective as a QTPOC to both her studies and her teaching approach. Her passions for history, archaeology, language, and movement produce some epic sword nerdery. She’s worked with folks of all experience levels, teaching a range of skills from basic safety to fencing in stilettos!