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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unconventual women: Religion, politics, and image in the Court Beguinages, 1585–1713
by Moran, Sarah Joan, Ph.D., Brown University, 2010, 395; 3430144
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation combines archival research with visual analysis to interrogate the roles of the Court Beguinages of the Southern Low Countries in the Counter-Reformation confessionalization. The Court Beguinages were large communities of laywomen, called Beguines, whose lifestyle in many ways imitated monasticism but who did not take permanent vows or adopt enclosure. Despite ecclesiastical suspicion of unenclosed religious women, the Beguines were able to negotiate a tense but symbiotic relationship with the Tridentine Church. My analysis turns on the idea of image, broadly conceived as referring to visual images, to the complexes of ideas that constitute individual and corporate identities (i.e. ‘public image’), and to the fluid and mutually informative relationships between the two. By situating printed imagery, architectural arrangements, and painted altarpieces in their broad historical contexts, I demonstrate that the Beguines’ careful management of their identity not only allowed them to defend themselves against criticism but also rendered them important actors in the promotion of Catholic orthodoxy in Flemish cities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Muller, Jeffrey M.
School: Brown University
School Location: United States -- Rhode Island
Source: DAI-A 71/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history, Modern history, Religious history
Keywords: Counter-Reformation, Court Beguinages, Low Countries, Religion, Van Dyck, Anthony, Women religious
Publication Number: 3430144
ISBN: 978-1-124-30248-5
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