History 473 (101) Women in the Middle Ages




Course Level





This course investigates the cultural, social, legal, and economic roles of women in the Middle Ages. We begin with the Classical, Judeo-Christian, and Germanic traditions that provided the basis for medieval European concepts and treatment of women and then focus on them in the history of Middle Ages to 1500. Through the study of primary and secondary sources, students examine: women’s contributions to the strength and diversity of European civilization; the historical interpretations that shaped western conceptions; and gender as an important aspect in studying history and society. Weekly readings include scholarly articles as well as selections from historical monographs and a range of primary sources from literature and treatises to legal records and letters. The rhythm of the course most weeks consists of lectures, examination of primary sources, and scheduled student discussions over the readings. Evaluation is based on writing assignments (50-60%) that include several brief analytical essays and a final research project, class activities and discussions (10%), and a midterm quiz and final exam (30-40%).