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Professor Mita Choudhury discusses research and book on sex, heresy, and public opinion in 18th-century France

You are invited to the

The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint: A Tale of Sex, Religion, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century France

  • Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016 (note new date)
  • Time: 5:30 p.m.
  • Place: Class of '51 Reading Room, Thompson Memorial Library [map - PDF]

Join us as Professor Mita Choudhury discusses her research and latest book, The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint: A Tale of Sex, Religion, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century France (Penn State, 2015).  This talk features the infamous trial that took place in 1731 when 20-year old Catherine Cadière accused her 50-year old Jesuit confessor, Jean-Baptiste Girard, of seduction, abortion, heresy and bewitchment. Although the trial took place in Provence, 400 miles from Paris, it quickly became linked to larger political and religious conflicts that riveted the public of eighteenth-century France.  The Girard/Cadière affair also highlights the fluid nature of gender construction within religious spaces.  As the voluminous trial briefs, 100s of poems and songs reveal, this sensational scandal exposed the fragile negotiations between the private world of confession and conscience and the public authority of the clergy.  In the decades leading up to the French Revolution, this sordid trial persisted in public memory, playing an important role in the growing disenchantment with the Jesuits, church authorities, and at last with the king.

Questions and refreshments to follow.