Women living in medieval Europe (c. 450–1450) were not only avid readers, they also were the
patrons, authors, scribes, artists and authorizers of an array of textual genres. This class will consider
some of these learned women as we read, in translation, their autobiographical, historical, religious,
poetic, romantic, scientific and even medical writings. From a concerned mother living in the ninth
century, to a famous lover-turned-abbess in the twelfth century, to a fourteenth-century visionary
who criticized Rome, we will explore the lives, words, illuminations and books of these illustrious
and ordinary women. By the end of the week, not only will the integral place of women within
intellectual and cultural circles be apparent, but the unfortunate label of the “Dark Ages” for this
fascinating millennium will be entirely wiped from your minds.
Catherine Keene earned her Ph.D. from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and was
teaching as adjunct assistant professor of medieval studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas
(where she met Danielle) until her recent retirement. Her work explores questions of sanctity and medieval
women, and her monograph, Saint Margaret, Queen of the Scots: A Life in Perspective (Palgrave
Macmillan, 2013, 2016), returns this remarkable sainted queen to her rightful place in scholarship.
Catherine Keene continues to work on a variety of medieval projects as she divides her time between her
native Wisconsin and Dallas, and she is thrilled at the opportunity to teach at Björklunden.
Danielle Joyner is an assistant professor of art history at Lawrence University. She earned an M.A. in
medieval studies from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University. She is
the author of the 2016 book, Painting the Hortus Deliciarum: Medieval Women, Wisdom, and Time,
as well as articles on the subjects of time, gardens and the natural world in medieval arts. She taught at
the University of Notre Dame and Southern Methodist University before joining the faculty at Lawrence
University. Danielle is eager to team up again with her colleague from Dallas and embark on medieval
adventures along the shores of Lake Michigan.