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(1,068 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia
1. TerminologyDiscussion of chastity in the Middle Ages and early modern period in Christian thought were closely linked to changing notions of the contrast between flesh (Body) and spirit. This ultimately led to a semantic equation of carnal, sexual and sinful (Sin). In this context notions of sexuality were associated with fornication (Lat. fornicatio: adultery, whoring, prostitution), desire (Lat. concupiscentia) and lust (Lat. luxuria). The opposite picture lay in chastity, by which originally not only sexual abstinence, but also quite generally, reason…
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,532 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia
1. Concept Landjuden (“country Jews”) was the term used in the early modern German-speaking world to denote Jews living outside major urban centers. Because rural life was the predominant way of life for Jews in the Empire and the hereditary Habsburg lands from the urban expulsions of the late Middle Ages to emancipation in the early 19th century, German scholars sometimes refer to the Phase des Landjudentums (“Age of Country Jewry”). Besides the spatial and temporal dimension, there is also an inherent aspect here of equating Landjuden with non-elites as an indication of the …
Date: 2019-03-20


(2,798 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia
1. Gender as a key category Gender is a category of social differentiation and an instrument that helps us explore the political, legal, and social meanings of gender identity and gender orders in historical and present-day societies.  While the English terminology distinguishes between sex as a biological and gender as a social denominator, the German word Geschlecht combines both elements. Gender studies explore how ideas of gender are culturally created and corroborated and how gender is associated with power. Difference, social hierarchy, and f…
Date: 2019-03-20

Gender roles

(7,057 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia
1. Concept and terminology Gender roles are social constructs, and their nature and significance varies according to historical context. While normative systems and scholarly, legal, and theological discourses of the early modern period tended to emphasize the hierarchy of the genders, and to ascribe different obligations and qualities to women and men, it was only in the final third of the 18th century that psychological characteristics derived from biological gender acquired greater significance i…
Date: 2019-03-20


(1,275 words)

Author(s): Knackmuß, Susanne | Ulbrich, Claudia
1. DefinitionConvent (nunnery) is the modern term for a Catholic monastic community (Monastery) consisting of nuns belonging to a particular order. Convents developed with the expansion of Christianity beginning in the early Middle Ages; most were subordinate to a monastery for men. The terms  convent and  nunnery are interchangeable, except that  convent is sometimes used in the sense of any community under monastic vows, of either men or women. Besides the community itself,  convent can also denote the church building or the architectural complex. Susanne Knackmuß2. St…
Date: 2019-03-20


(3,221 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia | Häusner, Sophie
1. Introduction Like masculinity, femininity is a cultural construct manufactured in discourses and social practices.  The concept relates to a principle that emerged in the 19th century of a gender order in which the feminine was opposed to the masculine and naturalized. In this context, femininity was on the one hand designed as complementary to masculinity in a system of separate spheres (public/private, culture/nature) and associated with qualities of being passive, weak, in need of protection…
Date: 2019-03-20


(829 words)

Author(s): Ulbrich, Claudia | Lehmann, Frank
The term “housewife” refers to the house or household as the central unit of social life in European countries. In early modern sources, the word is generally synonymous with house mother (Mater familias). Depending on the context, housewife denotes either the wife (marriage, when the family situation is in view) or the manager of the household (when the focus is on economic activity), with many rights and obligations in her capacity as house mother; she could be represented by a bourgeois housekeeper or a noble housema’am. From the late-18th century on, the term “housewife” ( Hausfrau…
Date: 2019-03-20