900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301
This course will explore the history of women in the European Middle Ages and examine the ways in which European medieval culture represented and constructed gender through its institutions, cultural symbols, and literary texts. The course will focus on primary texts by and about women, including devotional and courtly literature poetry, philosophy, hagiography, and essays. Through these readings we will explore topics such as how medieval people viewed the physical body and constructed the social bodies of women and men; the way in which the realities of women's daily lives shaped cultural representations of the female; how representations of sexuality and desire, new conceptions of reason and nature, and new forms of women's religious life shaped the religious and secular literature of the period; and how court culture, crusades, and inquisition practices contributed to medieval constructions of male and female identities.