Knox Receives Research Fellowship

Prof. Lezlie Knox has received one of six $5000 fellowships awarded by Marquette University's new Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. The fellowship will fund research for an article for the Cambridge History of Medieval Western Monasticism. It uses the methodology of gender history to investigate the problem of the cura monialium­—the pastoral care of nuns—in the later Middle Ages. Traditionally scholars have approached this subject as one of a burdensome obligation on the clerics who were required to minister to an increasing number of religious women between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Pastoral care has been presented as a source of tension between priests and their female charges, reflected by an increase in what has been characterized as misogyny in late medieval clerical writing. Certaintly complaints about obligations to nuns do exist in medieval sources. However, the impact of this line of inquiry has been to separate and marginalize women from the history of medieval monasticism. It has failed to take into account the ways in which medieval clerics and nuns collaborated in programs of religious formation, as well as the vital spiritual experimentation that characterized what has become known as the medieval women’s religious movement. This article, which combines analysis of key medieval texts with an assessment of the state of the question in current historiography, thus writes women back into the history of monasticism as active shapers of their religious lives.



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