Postgraduate Course: Women and Power at the Italian Renaissance Court (PGHC11380)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Available to all students
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Home subject area||Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)
||Other subject area||None
||Taught in Gaelic?||No
|Course description||Did women have a Renaissance? This question, famously asked by Joan Kelly Gadol in the 1970s, is still debated today. Kelly Gadol concluded that opportunities for Italian renaissance noblewomen were severely restricted. Scholars since have added increased nuance to our understanding of the role of Renaissance women, looking, for instance, at women as patrons, writers, performers, and artists; as stateswomen; as religious women; as property owners; and as daughters, wives, mistresses, mothers, and widows. The lives of women such as Isabella d'Este, Lucrezia Borgia, and Caterina Sforza are becoming better understood.
This course offers advanced study of the agency of such women at the Italian Renaissance courts, examining their access to power and their means of exercising independence and control. Students will analyse, for example: the opportunities and challenges presented by different stages in a woman's life; differences in access to power across time and different court centres; various strategies of self-presentation including reputation, appearance, epistolary rhetoric and other writing, and patronage; as well as extreme means of advancement in the court environment, such as seduction or murder.
As this course examines women from a restricted section of society, students will consider how the experience of these women compared with those less privileged, as well as with those women from republics rather than court centres.
The course is organised by thematic sessions, each of which will interrogate secondary literature, engage with historiographical debates, and address different types of source material to consider key discussion questions. An interdisciplinary approach is encouraged. Evidence will be drawn from archival material in translation, including many of types of letters, as well as accounts, chronicles, works of material culture, art, music, and literature.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?||No
Course Delivery Information
|Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1)
||Learn enabled: Yes
|Course Start Date
|Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12,
Online Activities 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info)
|No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
|After successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate detailed knowledge of themes and issues surrounding women's access to, and exercise of, power at the Italian Renaissance court.
- show an understanding of the development of scholarship on the history of women in Renaissance Italy.
- exhibit critical engagement with secondary literature and make effective use of well-selected secondary sources.
- engage in advanced analysis of relevant primary sources.
- show experience of interdisciplinary study and research.
- independently identify and pursue research topics in this area, including showing bibliographical research skills in finding relevant further reading.
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay.
- display communication and collaborative skills, for instance in group discussion and with wikis or group essays.
- show professional skills in submitting timely and well-presented work.
- demonstrate an ability to reflect on reading and research undertaken and provide feedback for others.
|One 3,000 word essay.|
Work will be submitted via Learn and marked using TurnitIn. Online versions of the postgraduate essay feedback form will be employed on the course.
||Week 1: [synchronous seminar]
- Did Women Have a Renaissance?: The historiography
- Introduction to Italian Renaissance gender roles: Virtue and virility
Week 2: [asynchronous forum seminar]
Courts and court ladies: Power, grace and sprezzatura
Week 3: [synchronous seminar]
Stateswomen: Rule, regency and diplomacy
Week 4: [asynchronous forum seminar]
Family, marriage, sex and motherhood
Week 5: [synchronous seminar]
Women's writing and education
Week 6: [asynchronous forum seminar]
Religion and power
Week 7: [synchronous seminar]
Money and property
Week 8: [asynchronous forum seminar]
Collecting and patronage of art
Week 9: [synchronous seminar]
Patronage of literature and music
Week 10: [asynchronous forum seminar]
Self-fashioning: Shopping, clothes and image
Week 11: [synchronous seminar]
Concluding session and review
Asynchronous forum discussions will include front-loaded screencasts or podcasts of short 10 minute lectures introducing the topics to be discussed over the course of the week's seminar. All primary source material discussed in both synchronous and asynchronous seminars will be provided electronically by the course organiser via Learn.
These contact hours will be supplemented by the course organiser's usual provision of two hours of Office Hours per week. During this time students can Skype the course organiser, in an extension of the usual 'open door' available to on-site students. Students may also contact the course organiser by Skype by appointment.
||The following work will be provided to the students, paid for from their fees:
Panizza, Letizia, ed., Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society (Oxford, 2000).
There is an extensive bibliography for this course. The following are some examples of journal articles and e-books to be used (to be supplemented by selected material for e-reserve):
Bryce, Judith, 'Between friends? Two letters of Ippolita Sforza to Lorenzo de' Medici', Renaissance Studies, 21 (2007), 340-365.
Cartwright, Julia, Isabella d¿Este, 2 vols (London, 1903; New York, 1905) ¿ e-book.
Clough, Cecil H., 'Daughters and Wives of the Montefeltro: Outstanding Bluestockings of the Quattrocento', Renaissance Studies, 10 (1996), 31-55.
Cockram, Sarah, Isabella d¿Este and Francesco Gonzaga: Power Sharing at the Italian Renaissance Court (Aldershot, 2013) ¿ e-book.
Croizat, Yassana C., '"Living Dolls": François Ier Dresses His Women', Renaissance Quarterly, 60 (2007), 94-130.
D¿Elia, Anthony F., 'Marriage, Sexual Pleasure, and Learned Brides in the Wedding Orations of Fifteenth-Century Italy', Renaissance Quarterly, 55 (2002), 379-433.
de Vries, Joyce, 'Caterina Sforza's Portrait Medals: Power, Gender, and Representation in the Italian Renaissance Court', Woman's Art Journal, 24 (2003), 23-28.
Hickson, Sally Anne, Women, Art and Architectural Patronage in Renaissance Mantua (Women and Gender in the Early Modern World) (Aldershot, 2012) ¿ e-book.
San Juan, Rose Marie, 'The Court Lady's Dilemma: Isabella d'Este and Art Collecting in the Renaissance', Oxford Art Journal, 14 (1991), 67-78.
Swain, Elizabeth Ward, '"My excellent & most singular lord": marriage in a noble family of fifteenth-century Italy', Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 16 (1986), 171-195.
Tomas, Natalie, 'Alfonsina Orsini de' Medici and the "problem" of a female ruler in early sixteenth-century Florence', Renaissance Studies, 14 (2000), 70-90.
|Course organiser||Dr Sarah Cockram
|Course secretary||Mrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 10 October 2013 5:06 am