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Dark Age Nunneries – The Ambiguous Identity of Female Monasticism, 800-1050 - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Dark Age Nunneries: The Ambiguous Identity of Female Monasticism, 800-1050

Steven Vanderputten


The two-and-a-half centuries between 800 and 1050 are commonly viewed as a 'dark age' in the history of women's monasticism. Dark, in the sense that the realities of life in and around the cloister are difficult to access: the primary evidence is extremely fragmented; the context is ill-understood; and scholars’ findings are scattered across a multitude of case studies. But dark also in the sense that, according to the dominant academic narrative, women's monasticism suffered from the catastrophic disempowerment of its members, the progressive ‘secularization’ of its institutions, and - barrin ... More

Keywords: Women's monasticism, Ambiguous identties, Intersectionality, Coping strategies, Normativity, Gender, Spirituality, Patronage, Reform

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9781501715945
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501715945.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Steven Vanderputten, author
Ghent University

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