1996-1997 NEH Interdisciplinary Programs: Teaching Gender in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Martin Le Franc, Le champion des dames (Lyon: Jean du Pré, before May 1488). Newberry Inc. 8695.
Martin Le Franc, Le champion des dames (Lyon: Jean du Pré, before May 1488). Newberry Inc. 8695.
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
NEH Programs - Renaissance
Monday, February 12, 1996 to Thursday, May 1, 1997
Sponsored by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

While the field of gender studies is now established and burgeoning, the knowledge it produces is new and demands a re-evaluation of past accounts of cultural history. Many new insights, texts, and documents remain unknown to college and university professors throughout the country who would like to introduce gender studies into their classrooms. Consequently, each session in this program was designed to disseminate new research on gender in the medieval and Renaissance periods and to define future directions for the field. Speakers and participants were encouraged to share the pedagogical challenges of the subject and to formulate new strategies for incorporating the materials and issues of gender studies in their courses.

Questions addressed in the lectures and workshops included: how does the study of gender revise existing historical and theoretical perspectives on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance? How do gender ideologies limit and/or empower representation? How does gender function as an ordering principle in the construction of texts? How are identities shaped by gender in the course of economic, legal, and religious change?

From the spring of 1996 to the spring of 1997, the Center offered “Teaching Gender in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,” an interdisciplinary program comprised of fourteen public lectures and twelve workshops on six selected topics which took place in six sessions. The lectures presented the speakers’ research, while accompanying workshops expanded this focus to include pedagogical strategies.

Spring 1996: Gender and Literacy

“Forked Tongues and Purloined Pens: Engendering Competing Literacies in Early Modem France and England”

Margaret Ferguson, University of Colorado at Boulder (now at University of California, Davis)

“Gender, Literacy, and Moral Education in Medieval France”

Roberta Krueger, Hamilton College

Spring 1996: Gender and Religion

“Sanctity and Sexuality: Reading Gendered Meanings in Medieval Christian Texts”

Clarissa Atkinson, Harvard Divinity School, now emerita

“Problematics of Gender in Women’s Religious Writings of the English Reformation”

Janel Mueller, University of Chicago

Fall 1996: Gender, the Economy, and the Law

“Gender and the Economy in the Middle Ages”

William Chester Jordan, Princeton University

“Sinister Competence: Gender, Catholicism, and the Law in Seventeenth-Century England”

Frances Dolan, Miami University of Ohio (now at University of California, Davis)

”’To pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon’: Gender, Honor and the Law in Early Modem England”

Cynthia Herrup,  Duke University (now emerita)

Fall 1996: Gender and Race/Ethnicity

“Tricksters, Martyrs, and Collaborators: Diaspora and the Gendered Politics of Resistance”

Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley

“ ‘These Bastard Signs of Fair’: Literary Whiteness in Shakespeare’s Sonnets”

Kim Hall, Georgetown University (now at Barnard College)

Spring 1997: Genders and Sexualities

“The Imagination, Sexual Phantasy, and the Laws of Conception”

Dyan Elliott, Indiana University (now at Northwestern University)

“Shakespeare’s Sexual Politics”

Bruce Smith, Georgetown University (now at University of Southern California)

Spring 1997: Gender and Institutions: The Family, Property, and the State

“Marriage Stakes in Urban Cultures of the Late Medieval North, 1250-1500”

Martha Howell, Columbia University

“Bridewell, Bedlam, and the Stage: State Violence and Gender Ideology in English Renaissance Drama”

Jean Howard, Columbia University

“Shakespearean Reconstructions of Gender”

Phyllis Rackin, University of Pennsylvania

Learn more about Center for Renaissance Studies programs.