Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women [NOOK Book]

Overview

Among the many archaeological books on monasticism, none has considered the differences between the religious life of men and women. Nunneries have often been dismissed as poor or failed monasteries. Gender and Material Culture takes a fresh look at the lives of religious women, providing the first complete case-study in the archaeology of gender. This comparison of monasteries for men and women reveals stark contrasts in the social and economic status of religious foundations. Gender in medieval monasticism ...
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Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women

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Overview

Among the many archaeological books on monasticism, none has considered the differences between the religious life of men and women. Nunneries have often been dismissed as poor or failed monasteries. Gender and Material Culture takes a fresh look at the lives of religious women, providing the first complete case-study in the archaeology of gender. This comparison of monasteries for men and women reveals stark contrasts in the social and economic status of religious foundations. 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. The multi-disciplinary approach of Gender and Material Culture will appeal to a wide general readership, as well as archaeologists, medieval art historians and those engaged in the historical studies of medieval women.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781134730629
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/13/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 5 MB

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.

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Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
Preface
Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations
1 The Handmaid's Tale 1
1.2 The archaeology of gender 2
1.3 'The Handmaid's Tale': on history, archaeology and social theory 8
1.4 'Engendering' medieval monasticism: a theory of gender and material culture 15
1.5 Gender identity in medieval nunneries 18
2 Mapping Women's Religious Communities 22
2.1 Breaking androcentric traditions: an historiography of nunneries 22
2.2 Religious women in the Saxon landscape 25
2.3 Medieval religious foundations for women: numbers, status and distribution 36
2.4 An archaeology of patronage 50
2.5 Conclusions: common interest groups in the medieval nunnery 61
3 Nunneries in the Medieval Landscape 63
3.1 Gender identities and the monastic landscape 63
3.2 In a wilderness 65
3.3 The nunnery estate 69
3.4 Home farms and outer courts 73
3.5 Production, consumption and labour in medieval nunneries 85
3.6 Conclusions: isolation and dependence 90
4 In the Cloister 92
4.1 Standard plans 92
4.2 Form and function of nunnery buildings 95
4.3 Development and change 120
4.4 Conclusions: characteristics of nunnery planning 123
5 The Meanings of Nunnery Architecture 128
5.1 The north cloister 128
5.2 Women on the north: spatial opposites and body metaphors 133
5.3 The distribution of north cloisters: a Saxon monastic tradition? 136
5.4 Iconographic architecture: the Virgin at Christ's right hand 139
5.5 Collective identities: the nunnery seal 143
5.6 Conclusions: an iconography of many meanings 148
6 Symbolism and Seclusion 150
6.1 Gender and space 150
6.2 Religious imagery and the delineation of space 152
6.3 Formal spatial analysis of nunneries and monasteries for men 160
6.4 Sexual segregation and gender domains 167
7 An Archaeology of Alternatives 170
7.1 Beguinages: informal communities of urban religious women 170
7.2 Hospitals: a life of charity 172
7.3 Anchorages: the solitary religious woman 177
7.4 Hermitages: religious women beyond the pale? 182
7.5 Conclusions: the 'sinful woman' 186
8 Conclusions: Gender and Medieval Monasticism 188
8.1 Patterns in the archaeology of religious women 188
8.2 Gender and material culture: habitus, agency and identity 191
8.3 Gender as an analytical category: new perspectives for medieval archaeology? 193
Bibliography 194
Index 212
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