Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

November 2015 [Posted August 2016]

Woman gathering sage, 14th century, Theatrum Sanitatis
Woman gathering sage, 14th century, Theatrum Sanitatis, Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense 4182, f. 68 (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

La Guardiola-Griffiths, Cristina M. "Homegrown: From the Woman's Workplace to the Medieval Garden." La corónica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 44, 1 (2015): 39-65.

"For years now, new ways of looking at women in medieval medicine have extended beyond a focus on their traditional, medical roles. A growing professional and regulated community of medical practitioners marginalized women from licensed practice. Yet, the scope of women's medical knowledge continued to expose medical anxieties over women's role in health and wellbeing. The purview of women in the medical care of others may be seen in the cookbooks, house-books, and health manuals that Michael Solomon has identified as part of a corpus of medical vernacular writing (Fictions 4). These works detail empirical practice that, in turn, witnesses the abundant use of ingredients provided either from home gardens or from the trade routes of the Mediterranean and beyond. These homegrown practices, I argue, disclose a continued female tradition of medical practice, as many of these ingredients were used in medical treatments and ointments. Women were able to maintain ties to the scientific and medical communities increasingly dominated by a professional, masculine elite.” [Reproduced from the journal page on the Project Muse website.]