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Title: Women and the use of space in Normandy, c.1050-1300
Author: Hicks, L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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In this thesis I consider the use of space by women within castles and nunneries, by those involved in the care of the sick and in male sacred space. The methodology is based on theories of space, gender and the body. My evidence comes from written sources and material culture. The thesis is built around four themes that recur time and again and form the framework for my conclusion. Apart from the introduction and conclusion the thesis consists of four chapters: I Women in castles; II Women's religious communities; III The care of the sick and IV Women in male sacred space. I. Recent work on women in castles and the use of space has centred around the public/private dichotomy and ideas of segregation of the female household. It may be a useful framework in which to discuss the issues but in considering the role of women in the household, ceremonial activities, war and imprisonment, I come to different conclusions, arguing that the primary reason for segregation of groups was class and not gender. II. A discussion of various aspects of female monastic life including topography, the cloister, use of buildings and the presence of the laity within the precinct, shows that nunneries were composed of groups of people other than the nuns. Combined with the nuns' adaptation of monastic space to suit their own needs better, their presence led to a fluidity in spatial practice and contrasts with the ecclesiastical visitors expectations. III. The sick were cared for at home, in churches and hospitals. This section reveals a greater fluidity in the way space was used than in other chapters, for example, in the laity's use of a church as a sick ward. Problems relating to access to healthcare provision as well as spatial problems arising from segregation by gender and state of health are discussed. IV. Women in male sacred space occupied a marginal place. They were either accepted or reviled depending on their position, for example, lay sister or priest's wife. In addition, women worked as maidservants, sought hospitality or visited men within monasteries. I speculate that some of these women were looking for a spiritual vocation outside mainstream female monasticism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available