Norm and Practice

CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
11 Jan 2010 - 2 Apr 2010
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of Medieval Studies
Gerhard Jaritz
Additional information: 
The seminar concentrates on the question to which extent norm and practice of life corresponded or contradicted during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It deals with the occurrence of respective patterns and the role of compromise in the relation of law and practice. We will discuss differences concerning this relation and the reasons for them. Particular emphasis is put on social, gender and economic contexts. A survey of group norms and patterns of behaviour resulting out of them will also be in the centre of interest as well as a review of the various components of the “practice of norms”.
Learning Outcomes: 
Ability to synthesize information. Ability to employ higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Ability to contextualize a variety of information. Assessment: oral presentation.
Assessment : 
Regular class attendance is necessary. All seminar members are expected to be active participants in the course. Each class will be considered with the discussion of the assigned readings. Credits and marks are given on the basis of class participation (30%) and an oral presentation (30%) that also has to be submitted as a short written paper (5-8 pages; 40%; extra credit possible). There will be the special attempt to stay as close as possible to the individual students’ research interests and personal preferences of seminar topics.

Week 1           The Research Problem of Norm and Practice               

Reading: Claude Gauvard, “Le jugement entre norme et  pratique: le cas de la France du Nord à la fin du Moyen Âge,” in Norm und Praxis im Alltag des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, ed. Gerhard Jaritz (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1997), 27-38


Week  2          Gendered Space I

            Reading: Linda E. Mitchell, “Women and Medieval Canon Law,” in Women in Medieval Western European Culture, ed. eadem (New York and London: Garland, 1999), 143-156


Week  3          Gendered Space II

            Reading: Emma Hawkes, “The ‘Reasonable’ Laws of Domestic Violence in Late Medieval England,” in Domestic Violence in Medieval Texts, ed. Eve Salisbury et al. (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002), 57-72


Week  4          Sexuality

            Reading: James A. Brundage, “Playing by the Rules: Sexual Behaviour and Legal Norms in Medieval Europe,” in Desire and Discipline. Sex and Sexuality in the Premodern West, ed. Jacqueline Murray et al. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 23-41


Week  5          Landscape and Environment

Reading: Ronald E. Zupko and Robert A. Laures, Straws in the Wind. Medieval Urban Environmental Law – The Case of Northern Italy (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996), 43-57: “Regulating the Land”


Week  6          Rural Space

Reading: Verena Winiwarter, “Landscape Elements in the Late Medieval Village: Can Information on Land-Use Be Derived from Normative Sources?”  Medium Aevum Quotidianum 41 (1999), 22-42


Week  7          Urban Space

            Reading: Dolly Jorgensen, “Mediaeval Latrines and the Law,” Medium Aevum Quotidianum 53 (2006), 5-16


Week  8          At the Law Court

Reading: Madeline H. Caviness and Charles G. Nelson, “Silent Witnesses, Absent Women, and the Law Courts in Medieval Germany,” in Fama – The Politics of Talk and Reputation in Medieval Europe, ed. Thelma Fenster et al. (Ithaca and London: Cornell, 2003),  XXXX


Week  9          Sumptuary Laws

            Reading: Catherine Kövesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law in Italy, 1200-1500 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), 133-163: “Problems of Enforcement and the Failure of Sumptuary Law”


Week 10         Monastic Space

            Reading: Brian P. McGuire, “Norm and Practice in Early Cistercian Life,” in Norm und Praxis im Alltag des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, ed. Gerhard Jaritz (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1997),  107-124


Week  11        The Just Wage

            Reading: Steven A. Epstein, “The Theory and Practice of the Just Wage,” Journal of Medieval History 17.1 (1991), 53-69


Week 12         Summary and Final Discussion