ME3426 Women and Gender in the Later Middle Ages
Lecturer Dr Ana del Campo (Room 20, 71 South Street)
Credits 30
Availability Semester 1, 2019-20
Class Hour View Timetable


This course focuses on women’s lives in Europe from about 1150 to about 1550.  When we think about women in this period, we often assume that they had few avenues for self-expression, public recognition, or even personal happiness.  In this course we will look at the social, cultural, and legal boundaries that confronted women, but our major focus will be on the lives that women were able to build despite – or even because – of these barriers.   We will look at women across the social spectrum – from prostitutes to queens – and from all parts of Western Europe.  We will focus less on images of women than on their actual lives.  Our emphasis will be on ordinary women, but in each part of the course, we will also look at an individual or group of women to discuss how the section’s themes played out on the micro level. 


Basic Reading

Cadden, Joan, The Meaning of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1993)
 Elliott, Dyan. “The Three Ages of Joan Scott,” American Historical Review 113 (2008): 1390-1403
Shahar, Shulamith, The Fourth Estate, rev. ed. (London, 2003)


Course Structure

One two-hour meeting per week;



100% Coursework


Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of the variety of roles women played in medieval Europe
  • Understanding of how sex and gender shaped historical experience
  • Knowledge of a variety of primary sources
Restrictions None
Resource Lists