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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

"And he shall rule over you": Gender and Family in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Instructor(s): Penny Jolly, Art History

Are males and females created equal?  Is the hierarchical structure of the family "natural"?  We'll explore how medieval and Renaissance societies constructed gender difference and the "perfect" family, and how those ideas were expressed not only in texts, but especially through painting and sculpture. Topics include what the Christian Church taught about the sexes and proper behavior; what scientists believed about male and female bodies and the generation of babies; and what social practices, customs, and literary sources reveal about marriage, childrearing and ideal domestic life.  We'll examine artists' responses to these issues by exploring art from 11th-century monumental sculptures through Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and 16th-century Reformation imagery.  This course includes trips to various London museums. 
Course Offered