CEMS Member New Publications 2023

CEMS Member New Publications 2023

by Centre for Early Modern Studies


Congratulations to Julie Hotchin (Honorary Lecturer at ANU’s School of History) and her co-editor, Jirki Thibaut on their recent publication,Women and Monastic Reform in the Medieval West, c. 1000 – 1500: Debating Identities, Creating Communities (Boydell Press, 2023). Julie also has two chapters in this edited collection, which looks at new approaches to understanding religious women’s involvement in monastic reform, demonstrating how women’s experiences were more ambiguous and multi-layered than previously assumed.

Over the last two decades, scholarship has presented a more nuanced view of women’s attitude to and agency in medieval monastic reform, challenging the idea that they were, by and large, unwilling to accept or were necessarily hostile towards reform initiatives. Rather, it has shown that they actively participated in debates about the ideas and structures that shaped their religious lives, whether rejecting, embracing, or adapting to calls for “reform” contingent on their circumstances. Nevertheless, fundamental questions regarding the gendered nature of religious reform are ripe for further examination.

This book brings together innovative research from a range of disciplines to re-evaluate and enlarge our knowledge of women’s involvement in spiritual and institutional change in female monastic communities over the period c. 1000 – c. 1500. Contributors revise conventional narratives about women and monastic reform, and earlier assumptions of reform as negative or irrelevant for women. Drawing on a diverse array of visual, material and textual sources, it presents “snapshots” of reform from western Europe, stretching from Ireland to Iberia. Case-studies focussing on a number of different topics, from tenth-century female saints’ lives to fifteenth-century liturgical books, from the tenth-century Leominster prayerbook to archaeological remains in Ireland, from embroideries and tapestries to the rebellious nuns of Sainte-Croix in Poitiers, offer a critical reappraisal of how monastic women (and their male associates) reflected, individually and collectively, on their spiritual ideals and institutional forms.

For more detail please click on the link below –