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Gender and Material Culture : The Archaeology of Religious Women - Roberta Gilchrist

Gender and Material Culture

The Archaeology of Religious Women

Hardcover Published: 2nd December 1993
ISBN: 9780415089036
Number Of Pages: 236
For Ages: 18 years old

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"Gender and Material Culture" is the first archaeological study to focus on the lives of medieval religious women and as such represents the first complete case study in the archaeology of gender. Despite the hundreds of archaeology books and articles on monasticism, not one has considered that women's monasticism may have differed from men's. Instead, traditional scholarship has dismissed nunneries as poor or failed monasteries. Although recent historians have begun to re-evaluate their approach to the study of religious women, they have yet to consider the material culture of these monasteries.
In its comparison of monasteries for men and women, "Gender and Material Culture" shows how the categories of gender greatly influenced the design and organization of medieval monasteries, their landscape contexts and strategies of economic management, the form and development of buildings and their symbolic and iconographic content. The archaeology of these institutions more specifically reveals stark contrasts in the social and economic status of monasteries and their social links with patrons. The result is an innovative and insightful study that ultimately proves how the category of gender is an essential part of archaeological analysis.

Industry Reviews

"[A] highly readable work....This book, rich in detail and convincing in its analysis, makes an important contribution to our understanding of differences in the religious life of men and women of the 12th through 15th centuries." -"Historical Archaeology "[Gender and Material Culture]'s attention to gender provides the antidote to androcentric studies that the author intends and offers new insight into the physical environments of English medieval religious women, useful to both the serious student and scholarly reader." -"Religious Studies Review "She [Gilchrist] has used a balanced approach to gender studies, neither overemphasizing nor neglecting archaeological evidence... For people interested in works with a feminist agenda, this book is excellent. Throughout the book, the author seeks alternatives to standard male oriented interpretations of evidence." -"Biblical Archaeologist

List of tables and figures
List of Abbreviations
The Handmaid's Talep. 1
The archaeology of genderp. 2
'The Handmaid's Tale': on history, archaeology and social theoryp. 8
'Engendering' medieval monasticism: a theory of gender and material culturep. 15
Gender identity in medieval nunneriesp. 18
Mapping Women's Religious Communitiesp. 22
Breaking androcentric traditions: an historiography of nunneriesp. 22
Religious women in the Saxon landscapep. 25
Medieval religious foundations for women: numbers, status and distributionp. 36
An archaeology of patronagep. 50
Conclusions: common interest groups in the medieval nunneryp. 61
Nunneries in the Medieval Landscapep. 63
Gender identities and the monastic landscapep. 63
In a wildernessp. 65
The nunnery estatep. 69
Home farms and outer courtsp. 73
Production, consumption and labour in medieval nunneriesp. 85
Conclusions: isolation and dependencep. 90
In the Cloisterp. 92
Standard plansp. 92
Form and function of nunnery buildingsp. 95
Development and changep. 120
Conclusions: characteristics of nunnery planningp. 123
The Meanings of Nunnery Architecturep. 128
The north cloisterp. 128
Women on the north: spatial opposites and body metaphorsp. 133
The distribution of north cloisters: a Saxon monastic tradition?p. 136
Iconographic architecture: the Virgin at Christ's right handp. 139
Collective identities: the nunnery sealp. 143
Conclusions: an iconography of many meaningsp. 148
Symbolism and Seclusionp. 150
Gender and spacep. 150
Religious imagery and the delineation of spacep. 152
Formal spatial analysis of nunneries and monasteries for menp. 160
Sexual segregation and gender domainsp. 167
An Archaeology of Alternativesp. 170
Beguinages: informal communities of urban religious womenp. 170
Hospitals: a life of charityp. 172
Anchorages: the solitary religious womanp. 177
Hermitages: religious women beyond the pale?p. 182
Conclusions: the 'sinful woman'p. 186
Conclusions: Gender and Medieval Monasticismp. 188
Patterns in the archaeology of religious womenp. 188
Gender and material culture: habitus, agency and identityp. 191
Gender as an analytical category: new perspectives for medieval archaeology?p. 193
Bibliographyp. 194
Indexp. 212
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415089036
ISBN-10: 0415089034
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
For Ages: 18 years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 236
Published: 2nd December 1993
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.98 x 16.1  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.67
Edition Number: 1