History | Women in the Renaissance
J300 | 17576 | Field

Above class open to majors only
Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only

Did women have a Renaissance? Our seminar will explore the status of
women in Europe from about 1300 to 1600, concentrating on Italy.
While looking at questions of legal and economic status, we will
focus on more cultural and intellectual questions, including social
relations between the genders (was there "friendship," and how do we
define it?), how men viewed women, how women viewed men, and how
women viewed themselves. We will pay particular attention to the
education of women (and girls), and on questions of marriage. For a
course with this subject, more readings than normal–about half–will
be by men, including Boccaccio, Bruni, Poggio (especially his jokes
involving women), and Castiglione. But we will look in depth at a
number of women, including Laura Cereta, Cassandra Fedele, and
Isotta Nogarola.

As a writing-intensive seminar, the course will focus on the careful
reading and analysis of primary sources. Students will be expected
to prepare five or six short, analytical papers on the primary
source readings, as well as a long research paper in an area of
their interest.