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ENG 380 Medieval Women: Mystics, Courtiers, and Stereotypes: Home

This class re-examines who medieval women were as well as our own notions about them.

Hildegard of Bingen and her nuns

By Unknown - [1], Public Domain,

Browse the Stacks

Want to just browse the stacks?  

PN 45-245 - Theory.  Criticism.  Authorship
PN 441-1009.5 - Literary History

PR 1-9680 - English Literature
PR 1803-2165 - Early English. Middle English
PR 2007 .K4 - Margery Kempe

Language Resources

Online Books


Elizabeth Parang's picture
Elizabeth Parang
Pepperdine University Libraries
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

Course Description

Popular culture is rife with representations of medieval women. From versions of Guinevere as a warrior queen to the women in Game of Thrones, modern media repeatedly attempts to harness the imagined power of the medieval woman. But who were these women actually? While our media perpetuates the image of the empowered medieval warrior, our culture is also predicated on a belief in progression, a notion of a diachronic history that begins with female oppression and ends in liberation. This class deconstructs these narratives of progress versus empowerment to re-examine who medieval women were as well as our own notions about them. Focusing primarily on works written by medieval women, the course seeks to reconstruct medieval women from their own voices. In doing so, we will explore not only the historical woman but also our modern assumptions about gender, feminism, and female empowerment.

Formally, the class is structured by the belief that historical inquiry provides a foundation for reexamining our own assumptions about our society and ourselves. Thus we will juxtapose historical and modern examples of medieval women to examine our own preconceptions, challenging our own ideas about historical progress and gender norms.