Skip to main content

IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1633: Visions of Community, II: A Force of Habit? - Gender and Monasticism in the Carolingian Era

Thursday 9 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Sonderforschungsbereich 42 'Visions of Community', Universität Wien / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Network for the Study of Late Antique & Early Medieval Monasticism
Organiser:Albrecht Diem, Department of History, Syracuse University, New York
Moderator/Chair:Julia M. H. Smith, School of Humanities (History), University of Glasgow
Paper 1633-aNonnus and Monacha: How Gendered is Early Medieval Monasticism?
(Language: English)
Albrecht Diem, Department of History, Syracuse University, New York
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Mentalities, Monasticism
Paper 1633-b(You're Not) The Boss of Me: Bishops, Monks, and Nuns in the Institutio Canonicorum and the Institutio Sanctimonialium
(Language: English)
Rutger Kramer, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index terms: Gender Studies, Monasticism

Throughout the early Middle Ages, gender issues were inextricably bound up with questions of monastic identity. While always present, such issues seemed to have become especially persistent whenever tensions occurred in the lives of monks and nuns – in the wake of attempts to reform their communal lives, for example, but also when dealing with afflictions of the body. The papers in this session attempt to shed new light on gender and its role in the making of early medieval monastic identities, not by taking recourse to newly created theoretical frameworks, but first and foremost by allowing the sources to speak for themselves. Albrecht Diem will start with an overview of the ways early medieval thinkers have dealt with gender divisions (or lack thereof) in the monastic world. Meg Leja will then continue with an analysis of monastic gender from the perspective of early medieval medical treatises, the majority of which were copied in monastic scriptoria in the 9th century. By looking at the reception of gynaecological as well as more general medical texts, she aims to reassess the ways in which medical traditions may have impacted frameworks for thinking about gender in Carolingian monasteries. The final two papers will take a closer look at the way gender issues may have played a role in the reform efforts undertaken at the court of Louis the Pious. Emilie Kurdziel will analyse the role of gender in the drafting of different sets of rules for male and female communities, while Rutger Kramer will look at the over-arching authority structures that may account for the different approaches to both types of community.