Monday, Dr. Peter L. Larson
Ascension 114 Office: Seitz House, Room 11
Fall 2005 Office Phone: x5322
Office Hours: TR 10-11:30 a.m., 1-2 p.m.
Webpage: & by appointment
Course Description and Objectives
study of history requires choices: who or what to include, and who or what to
exclude; a historian cannot cover everyone and must decide what is most
important. In many textbooks and courses
In this course, we will study a selection from the history of medieval women, focusing on certain well known women but also on some of the ‘hot’ topics and themes in current research. This is not just a course about medieval women; it is also a course on the medieval concept of ‘women’, and as such we will explore the changing concepts of gender roles (appropriate and inappropriate), patriarchy and misogyny, and women in literature. We will also consider the difficulties faced by modern historians in studying the lives of medieval women and the ways in which we portray ‘medieval’ women today, in history, art, and film.
The following books are available at the Kenyon College Bookstore:
books will also be on reserve in Olin, along with two basic medieval textbooks
(Roger Collins, Early Medieval
I encourage you to purchase The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. You can find used copies online for less than $5. I have placed copies on reserve, and there are copies available in CONSORT, but you may find it useful to have your own copy over the next few years.
Assignments and Grading
Weekly Reaction Papers and Discussion 25%
Short Paper 1 25%
Short Paper 2 25%
Portfolio Project 25%
Reaction Papers and Discussion
Thoughtful participation and interaction is required for a successful seminar course; the exchange of ideas and the formulation and reformulation of your own positions is one of the major goals of this class. To facilitate this, every week you will hand in a short (min. 1 page, max. 2½ pages) reaction paper on the readings for that week. These are not meant to be polished, scholarly essays advancing a position; rather, I want you to write about major themes in the readings, or a particularly interesting primary source, or an inherent link or contradiction in scholarly arguments. History is subjective, and every historian has a different point of view; consider these essays a practicum in evaluating your source material, with a chance to look at bias, motivation, and the omission or manipulation of information.
There will be 12 of these papers, due at the beginning of class; I will drop the lowest 2 scores when calculating your grade. Some weeks, I will provide a topic, while in others I will let you choose. These papers should be typed, double-spaced, using a size 10-12 font (similar to this). Because these are short papers on the same readings, full formal citations are not necessary; instead, refer to the readings in parentheses, for example, (Ale, Beer, & Brewsters, pp. 100-104).
I also require everyone to come to class with questions and talking points prepared. These do not need to be formal, and I will not usually collect them. Both the reaction papers and questions are part of the discussion, and thus this grade will reflect more than how well you deal with the weekly readings in writing. There is no separate participation grade. I expect professional academic conduct: attendance and regular participation with proper respect towards other people and different opinions. I reserve the right to reward exceptionally good or bad conduct as part of the reaction paper grade.
You will write two short
(6-10 page) papers on assigned topics.
The first paper, due on October 24th, will cover women’s work
The week before each paper is due, we will hold a peer review session. Please bring 2 copies of a substantial rough draft (min. 4 pages) to class; you will trade papers with classmates and critique each other’s work. These critiqued drafts should be submitted with the final draft of the paper. In addition, part of each class will be devoted to strengthening research and writing skills.
Each student will select one or two primary source documents not assigned for class (these may be from the Amt reader, the Online Medieval Sourcebook, or other approved primary source collections) and connect these to one of the themes raised in class. Using the library’s resources, you will find at least three scholarly articles on that theme. Using these articles, the chosen document(s), and readings from class, you will write a 5-7 page paper on the document and the related theme. The entire ‘portfolio’ will be submitted on November 28th: an analysis of the document and a description of the theme, an annotated bibliography of all materials used (including how you found your articles), and the paper itself.
Other Course Policies
You can always find me in my office
during my stated office hours. I
frequently am in my office at other times during the week; if the door is open,
feel free to drop by at this time to discuss anything related to class,
If you cannot make the normal office hours and I’m not in my office when you drop by, you can also set up an appointment to see me; I teach five days a week this semester and so can usually make time to see you. The best way to get in touch with me, home or office, is by email, though it may take up to 2 days for me to get back to you. If you call my office, and I don’t pick up, leave a voicemail with your name and number and I will get back to you, usually fairly quickly. Please, do not call me at home.
Late Papers & Extensions
Reaction papers handed in after the start of class will be marked down one full letter grade (e.g., B+ to C+); I will not accept reaction papers once the class has been dismissed. For the short papers and the portfolio project, there is no penalty if the paper is turned in by 5pm of the day of class. If the paper is turned in by 5pm the following Monday (i.e., one full week), it will be marked down one full letter grade. After that, late papers will not be accepted.
Extensions on deadlines are at my discretion; you are far more likely to get an extension if you contact me before the paper is due.
A Note on Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the presentation (conscious or unconscious) of someone else’s words or ideas as your own. Plagiarism is not limited to published works; it includes other students’ papers and web sites. You are certainly allowed to quote works by others (though use of such quotations should be minimal) when proper reference is given, but under no circumstances should you incorporate someone else’s work into your own. If you refer to someone else’s idea, or paraphrase them, even if there is not a direct quote, you must cite where you found that information; unreferenced paraphrasing is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offence; it is intellectual theft. If I detect plagiarism, I will give the assignment a 0 (the same as if you had not turned it in at all) and refer the case to the Dean, possibly resulting in expulsion from this course, suspension, and/or expulsion. More information on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism at Kenyon can be found at http://www.kenyon.edu/x11747.xml.
If you have specific physical, psychological, medical, or learning disabilities that require accommodation for you to carry out the assigned coursework, contact the Office of Disability Services (ext. 5145) and the Coordinator, Erin Salva (firstname.lastname@example.org), will review your concerns and help determine what accommodations are appropriate. I am happy to provide whatever accommodation is necessary, but you must go through the Office. Everything you tell them is confidential.
Finally . . . this course is designed to be challenging; it is not supposed to grind you down or be a “weed-out” course. If you are feeling overwhelmed or are having difficulty with the reading or work load, come see me! We can discuss strategies for writing, researching, or reading, go over material discussed in class, and in general help find ways to get you back on track.
Note: Additional readings may be assigned as necessary.
* = on reserve in Olin ** = on reserve in ERES and Seitz House
All other journal articles are available through JSTOR
29 August Introduction
5 September The History of Women and Women’s History
Beatrice Gottlieb, “The Problem of Feminism in the Fifteenth Century,” in The
Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan, pp. 274-297.
Judith M. Bennett, “Medievalism and Feminism,” Speculum 68 (1993): 309-331.
*Barbara Hanawalt, “Golden Ages for the History of Medieval Women,” in Stuard,
ed., Women in Medieval History and Historiography, pp. 1-24.
**Joan Kelly-Gadol, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” in Bridenthal and Koonz,
eds., Becoming Visible: Women in European History (1977), 137-164.
12 Sept. Myth & Misogyny: Women, Gender, and Sex
Amt: 13-28, 98-112.
Power: Chapter 1.
Karras, “The Regulation of Brothels in Later Medieval
Signs 14 (1989): 399-433.
Joan Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American
Historical Review 91 (1986): 1053-1075.
R. Howard Bloch, “Medieval Misogyny,” Representations 20 (1987): 1-24.
Judith Bennett, “Writing Fornication: Medieval Leyrwite and Its Historians,” in
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 13 (2003): 131-162.
through the OhioLink Electronic
I: Women & Work
19 Sept. Wives and Mothers
Amt: 53-67, 79-91.
Bennett, Medieval Life: Chapters 1-4, 6 (skim chap. 1).
Power: Chapter 3 [optional].
*David Herlihy, Medieval Households: 73-130.
26 Sept. Women’s Work I: In the Countryside
Bennett, Medieval Life: Chapters 7, 9-10.
Sandy Bardsley, “Women’s work reconsidered: gender and wage differentiation
**John Hatcher & Sandy Bardsley, Debate, in Past and Present 173 (2001): 191-
3 October Women’s Work II: In Villages and Towns
Bennett, Ale, Beer, and Brewsters (entire)
*Barbara Hanawalt, “The Host, the Law, and the Ambiguous Space of Medieval
London Taverns,” in idem, ed., Of Good and Ill Repute: Gender and
Control in Medieval
10 Oct. Reading Day – No Class [Homework – peer review]
II: Women & Religion
17 Oct. Saints, Nuns, and Abbesses
Power: Chapter 5 [optional].
*Brenda Bolton, “Mulieres Sanctae,” in Stuard, ed., Women in Medieval Society,
The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity
24 Oct. Mystics & Heretics
Amt: 263-278, 305-316.
The Book of Margery Kempe: Introduction, pp. 1-106.
Confessions by Cathar heretics to Inquisitor Jacques Fournier:
Beatrice de Planissoles
Short Paper #1 due
Unit III: Women and Literature
31 Oct. Early Women Writers
Hroswitha/Roswitha of Gandersheim, Dulcitus
Anna Comnena, Alexiad
I.X-XIV (skim until you get to the
7 November Women & Literacy; Women in Male Lit.
Power: Chapter 4.
Sheingorn, “’The Wise Mother’: The Image of
Virgin Mary,” in Erler & Kowaleski, eds., pp. 105-134.
Chaucer, Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale
14 Nov. Marie de France
Lais of Marie de France:
21 Nov. * * * Thanksgiving Break * * *
28 Nov. Christine de Pizan
Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan: 5-44, 109-113, 116-173.
Portfolio Project Due; No Reaction Paper
Unit IV: Power and Violence
5 December Crime & Women
Amt: 45-49, 56-57, 60-63, 67-78.
Socrates Scholasticus, “The Murder of Hypatia”
*Barbara Hanawalt, “Whose Story was This? Rape Narratives in Medieval
English Courts,” in idem, Of Good and Ill Repute, pp. 124-141.
12 Dec. Medieval Queens & Female Kings
parts 1 (Kent) and 3 (
1 p.m., 20 December Short Paper #2 Due