Women, Gender, and Medieval Historians

Judith Bennett and Ruth Karras

in The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe

Published in print August 2013 | ISBN: 9780199582174
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191749919 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Women, Gender, and Medieval Historians

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  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This essay sets out the history and historiography of medieval women and gender as it stands in the second decade of the twenty-first century. It begins with a long view, tracing how approaches to medieval women have developed and changed from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. It then focuses on how feminist scholarship on the subject has developed since the 1970s. The essay addresses the importance of both women’s history and gender history; discusses topics explored and consensus conclusions; describes major debates in the field; and signals emerging topics and areas hitherto neglected. A summation of the state of the field, it both surveys what has been done to date and looks to what might be done in the future.

Keywords: women; gender; sexuality; religion; economy; law; domesticity; continuity

Article.  8164 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality ; Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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