81749 - History of Women and Gender in the Medieval Period (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Irene Bueno

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-STO/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in History (cod. 0962)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will know and apply the methods of gender studies and be able to recognise them in medieval historiography. In this light they will analyse narrative sources, legislation, treatises, literature and iconography. They will be able to write a little paper, collecting, selecting, organizing and logically outlining documentary data and information so as to formulate independent conclusions and opinions. They will interpret the products of historical communication with a critical eye and be able to personlize their own learning path in an organized, independent way, displaying self-criticism and interpersonal relating skills.

Course contents

The course examines the main contribution of women’s and gender history to the study of the medieval era, paying specific attention on the relationships between gender and religious life. The first part of the course, based on frontal lectures, is an introduction to the main scholarly trends, research areas, and methods of women’s and gender history and their contribution to medieval studies. Afterwards, we will focus in seminar form on the themes of female piety, participation to the religious life, and female expressions of religious dissent during the High and Late Middle Ages. Combining frontal lectures and students’ presentations, we will address thematic nodes, such as sainthood, mobility and travel, and heresy.


Attending students:

Attending students are required to participate actively in class discussions, preparing the didactic materials that will be shared at the beginning of the course and made available on the dedicated platform. In addition to these readings, the exam also requires the preparation of the following book:

Vita religiosa al femminile (secoli XIII-XIV), Roma, Viella, 2019.

Non-attending students:

  1. Vita religiosa al femminile (secoli XIII-XIV), Roma, Viella, 2019.
  2. Patricia Skinner, Le donne nell’Italia medievale, Roma, Viella, 2005.
  3. Georges Duby e Michelle Perrot, Storia delle donne in Occidente. Il Medioevo, a cura di Christiane Klapish Zuber, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1995, pp. 3-56, 88-129, 330-401.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures, students’ presentations, discussion of didactic materials.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Students are required to attend the course regularly, participate actively in class discussions and deliver a class presentation. Class attendance is compulsory. Please note that those who will miss more than 4 classes will have to take the exam as non-attending students or will be required to do additional work in agreement with the teacher.

The preparation of the reading materials by attending and non-attending students will be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. Students will be asked questions aimed to evaluate their knowledge of the bibliography, critical skills, command of the specific language of the discipline, and capacity of re-organizing the acquired information.

Evaluation criteria:

In-depth knowledge of the reading materials, with good analytical and critical skills and command of the specific language will qualify for a good/excellent mark.

Acceptable and more mechanical knowledge of the reading materials, and/or not always appropriate use of the language will lead to a sufficient/fair mark.

Fragmentary knowledge of the reading materials, weak critical skills, and/or insufficient command of the specific language and will lead to a failure or to a pass mark.

Teaching tools

The didactic materials, comprised of power point presentations, sources, and readings, will be made available on the dedicated online platform of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Irene Bueno