This lecture will examine the fate of female religious communities and their members during the sixteenth-century English Reformation, when all monasteries were dissolved over the course of several years. Women lived in poorer houses than male religious did, received less formal education, had fewer options when they were ejected from the religious life, and as ex-religious left fewer traces in the historical record. Focusing in particular on Godstow Abbey in Oxfordshire, but including other women's houses, she will explore whether and how women resisted the dissolution of their communities, the challenges they faced when monasticism was suppressed, what we know of their post-monastic lives, and how they survived in a society that had denied them their vocation.
Dr. Emilie Amt is the Hildegarde Pilgram Professor of History at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. In addition to her specialty in medieval England--particularly 12th and 13th century English government, finance, warfare and politics--her research and teaching interests include experiences of women in medieval Europe, the social history of medieval art, and the Crusades. Dr. Amt is the author of The Crusades: A Reader (2003), Medieval England, 1000-1500: A Reader (2001), Women's Lives in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook (1993), and The Accession of Henry II in England: Royal Government Restored (1993). Her articles and book reviews have appeared in journals such as Medieval Prosopography and The Haskins Society Journal. Dr. Amt holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, England.