Gender and Medieval Monasticism: The Archaeology of Religious Women

Gender and Medieval Monasticism: The Archaeology of Religious Women

by Roberta Gilchrist, Gilchrist Rober
     
 

Gender and Material Culture is the first complete study in the archaeology of gender, exploring the differences between the religious life of men and women. Gender in medieval monasticism influenced landscape contexts and strategies of economic management, the form and development of buildings and their symbolic and iconographic content. Women's religious

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Overview

Gender and Material Culture is the first complete study in the archaeology of gender, exploring the differences between the religious life of men and women. Gender in medieval monasticism influenced landscape contexts and strategies of economic management, the form and development of buildings and their symbolic and iconographic content. Women's religious experience was often poorly documented, but their archaeology indicates a shared tradition which was closely linked with, and valued by local communities. The distinctive patterns observed suggest that gender is essential to archaeological analysis.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415089036
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
12/28/1993
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Roberta Gilchrist is a reader in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading, and consultant archaeologist to Norwich Cathedral. She has written widely on the topics of gender and church archaeolgy.

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
Preface
Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations
1The Handmaid's Tale1
1.2The archaeology of gender2
1.3'The Handmaid's Tale': on history, archaeology and social theory8
1.4'Engendering' medieval monasticism: a theory of gender and material culture15
1.5Gender identity in medieval nunneries18
2Mapping Women's Religious Communities22
2.1Breaking androcentric traditions: an historiography of nunneries22
2.2Religious women in the Saxon landscape25
2.3Medieval religious foundations for women: numbers, status and distribution36
2.4An archaeology of patronage50
2.5Conclusions: common interest groups in the medieval nunnery61
3Nunneries in the Medieval Landscape63
3.1Gender identities and the monastic landscape63
3.2In a wilderness65
3.3The nunnery estate69
3.4Home farms and outer courts73
3.5Production, consumption and labour in medieval nunneries85
3.6Conclusions: isolation and dependence90
4In the Cloister92
4.1Standard plans92
4.2Form and function of nunnery buildings95
4.3Development and change120
4.4Conclusions: characteristics of nunnery planning123
5The Meanings of Nunnery Architecture128
5.1The north cloister128
5.2Women on the north: spatial opposites and body metaphors133
5.3The distribution of north cloisters: a Saxon monastic tradition?136
5.4Iconographic architecture: the Virgin at Christ's right hand139
5.5Collective identities: the nunnery seal143
5.6Conclusions: an iconography of many meanings148
6Symbolism and Seclusion150
6.1Gender and space150
6.2Religious imagery and the delineation of space152
6.3Formal spatial analysis of nunneries and monasteries for men160
6.4Sexual segregation and gender domains167
7An Archaeology of Alternatives170
7.1Beguinages: informal communities of urban religious women170
7.2Hospitals: a life of charity172
7.3Anchorages: the solitary religious woman177
7.4Hermitages: religious women beyond the pale?182
7.5Conclusions: the 'sinful woman'186
8Conclusions: Gender and Medieval Monasticism188
8.1Patterns in the archaeology of religious women188
8.2Gender and material culture: habitus, agency and identity191
8.3Gender as an analytical category: new perspectives for medieval archaeology?193
Bibliography194
Index212

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