Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, History, Rhodes College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Yale University
Jewish and Christian Women's Economic Activities in Late Medieval Catalonia

My dissertation project will explore how Jewish and Christian women participated in family financial strategies in three Catalan towns - Barcelona, Girona, and Vic - between 1250 and 1350. With particular attention to credit transactions, property transactions, and commercial contracts, I will use Latin notarial registers from these towns to examine when and how some women became economically active, how this differed between these three cities, and what was similar or distinctive about the experiences of Jewish and Christian women. I will also consider whether women acted independently or alongside their husbands or male relatives, and how women's economic activity correlates with their marital status. While other scholars have addressed women's relationship to financial resources, they have generally focused on how women gained access to those resources, rather than how they used them throughout their lives and on a daily basis. My focus on women's everyday economic transactions will allow me to better determine how women were integrated into local economic life and notarial culture. The comparison between Jewish and Christian women allows me to consider how religious identity affected women's involvement in economic life, and to address the question of whether medieval Catalan Jews and Christians shared a common culture. I have chosen to look at three different towns, of varying size and economic profile, because their differences will allow me both to make generalizations about Catalan society more broadly, and to consider closely what factors might have promoted or discouraged women's economic involvement in the three different cities. This study will allow me to answer important questions about women's role in family's financial strategies, about women's relationship to money as expressed through late medieval notarial culture, and about the extent to which Jews and Christians in medieval Iberia participated in a common culture.