Joan of Arc and the Contradictions of Female Heroism and Leadership with Oliva Espin - Context Travel

Joan of Arc and the Contradictions of Female Heroism and Leadership with Oliva Espin


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Who was Joan of Arc? A hero? A saint? A witch? A patriot? A mentally ill person? A visionary? We know she was a woman whose behavior challenged traditions and stereotypes. Perspectives about her have oscillated throughout history. The multiple contradictory ideas about Joan illustrate the fact that she is one of the most paradoxical historical figures but also the fact that women's heroism and leadership evoke contradictions that are still alive today.

Joan of Arc, an illiterate young peasant woman, unexpectedly broke into history several centuries ago and changed the course of French history. In less than a year, she succeeded in crowning a French King and creating the momentum that resulted in expelling the English from France after a hundred years of war. We do not know much about her, except for the information gathered during her trial. She claimed that voices from God had commanded her to wear male clothing, cut her hair, and convince the Dauphin that she would have him crowned as King. She was eventually captured by the English and tried as a heretic and burned at the stake. Five centuries later she was canonized as a saint by the same Church that had put her to death. The oscillations in the interpretation of who she was are in themselves an illustration of what her figure evokes. Her image has changed with the vicissitudes of history, but a common thread runs through them: how to interpret the life of this woman who violated codes of female conduct and achieved extraordinary deeds at a time when there was no public sphere for women unless they were queens, and even that with great difficulty? Women’s authority, heroism, and leadership continue to evoke contradictory responses in our time. In this conversation, we will learn about her life and will discuss her significance as a symbol of female heroism.

Led by a Psychologist who is an expert on female saints and has guided tours to the sites of Joan's life, Oliva M. Espín, this interactive seminar will present the life and deeds of Joan of Arc, the transformation of her image through the centuries and the contradictions inherent in her position as a female hero and leader. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of who Joan was and the contradictions she evoked.

Oliva M. Espín is Professor Emerita in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University and the California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Espín was a pioneer in the practice and theory of feminist therapy with women from different cultural backgrounds. A native of Cuba, she received her BA in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica and her PhD from the University of Florida. She did post-doctoral work at Harvard University with a fellowship from NIMH. Dr. Espín held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. She has taught psychology of women, psychology of immigrants and refugees, issues of privilege and oppression, psychological perspectives on saints' histories, and other topics. She has presented at national and international conferences and published articles and books on women immigrants and refugees, language in therapy with fluent bilinguals, historical memory and memoir, and feminist psychological understandings of women saints. She recently published Gendered Journeys: Women, Migration, and Feminist Psychology (2015) and Women, Sainthood, and Power: A Feminist Psychology of Cultural Constructions (2020). Her most recent book is My Native Land is Memory: Stories of a Cuban Childhood (2020).

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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T
T.

Excellent overview of the complexities of Joan of Arc that I was not aware of. Really made me think!

T
T.F.R.
Joan d'Arc in History

This was a well constructed and informative presentation about Jeanne d'Arc life, death, and later life and representations. It explained psychological aspects of her personality. well done.

S
S.M.

Excellent, well-organized presentation, with many (often humorous) broad perspectives, complemented by maps, photos, and beautiful artwork. I'm not a wordsmith, or I'd say more! Just so very grateful to hear about this icon of French history, viewed in different contexts.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.

Excellent overview of the complexities of Joan of Arc that I was not aware of. Really made me think!

T
T.F.R.
Joan d'Arc in History

This was a well constructed and informative presentation about Jeanne d'Arc life, death, and later life and representations. It explained psychological aspects of her personality. well done.

S
S.M.

Excellent, well-organized presentation, with many (often humorous) broad perspectives, complemented by maps, photos, and beautiful artwork. I'm not a wordsmith, or I'd say more! Just so very grateful to hear about this icon of French history, viewed in different contexts.