Grant for research on sexual violence and female empowerment in medieval Dutch and French songs

Assistant professor Cécile de Morrée, affiliated to the Radboud Institute for Culture and History (RICH), has received an NWO Open Competition XS grant for her research on medieval Dutch and French songs about sexual violence and female empowerment. The grant will allow De Morrée to investigate how coercion and consent are depicted in these songs and the role female characters play in them.

Cécile de Morrée specialises in Middle Dutch Literature, pre-eminently in song. In the project entitled "From coercion to consent: Sexual violence and female empowerment in medieval Dutch and French songstexts", De Morrée will explore the role of coercion and consent in medieval song texts about sexual encounters.

The project centres on a collection of Dutch songs that stands out from a European perspective because its key motif appears to be not forced sex but mutual consent. Whereas French songtexts are pervaded by rape, Dutch songtexts often feature couples making mutual decisions to have sex and women explicitly giving their consent. As this project will demonstrate, these Dutch songs encouraged medieval women’s agency and equality in the domain of sexuality, through their empowering messages.

The SGW Open Competition XS grants of up to €50,000 enable researchers to fund small projects or start research with a promising idea. What is special is that there is no need to know in advance whether the intended objective will be achieved. So there is plenty of scope for experimentation and innovation.



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