Charity L. Urbanski
The experiences of women in medieval society: public and private power, changing concepts of family and the domestic sphere, ideal and reality in courtly love, women in religious life, women in the workplace, the querelle des femmes and the beginnings of "feminist" thought.
The course covers women's experiences in medieval society from c. 400 to c. 1500 AD. We will focus on women's various roles in society (as wives, mothers, holy women, businesswomen, intellectuals, lords, etc.), exploring the role of gender in secular and ecclesiastical politics, and the rise of misogyny and women's reactions to it.
Student learning goals
Analyze primary sources.
Critically assess secondary studies.
Improve your writing skills and learn to construct persuasive arguments through the writing of papers and the peer review process.
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion. Peer reviewing of papers.
Some background in medieval history (such as HIST 112, HSTAM 331, 332, or 333) will be very helpful, but is not required. If you are unfamiliar with the period, I strongly suggest that you read a good, general textbook before the class begins. I recommend Coffin and Stacey's Western Civilizations (vol. 1, chapters 7 through 12), or Cook and Herzman's The Medieval World View, but any general textbook will do.
Class assignments and grading
1 3-5 page paper on a secondary study, 1 7-8 page mini-research paper, and a final exam.
Grading percentages will be set out in the syllabus, but grades will generally be based upon active participation in discussion and in peer reviewing of papers, as well as upon your work on the papers and the final exam.