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Social structure and gender

Seminar Tutor

Luca Molà


Seminar Questions

  • What were the key aspects of social structure in Venice between c. 1350 and c. 1600?
  • How successful were attempts by the Venetian government to control social structure?
  • How were gender identities constructed and controlled in Renaissance Venice?
  • To what extent were gender identities circumvented or resisted?
  • What was more important in Renaissance Venice: social rank or gender?

Key Texts

Chambers, David, and Brian Pullan (eds), Venice: A Documentary History 1450-1630 (Oxford, 1992; rept. Toronto, 2001) , pp. 120-27, 239-294.

Bellavitis, Anna, 'Family and Society', in Eric R. Dursteler (ed.), A Companion to Venetian History 1400-1797 (Leiden, 2013), pp. 319-52. Brill e-book

Schutte, Anne Jacobson, 'Society and the Sexes in the Venetian Republic', in Eric R. Dursteler (ed.), A Companion to Venetian History 1400-1797 (Leiden, 2013), pp. 353-78. Brill e-book


Further Reading

Barbaro, Francesco, ‘On Wifely Duties’ in Benjamin G. Kohl and Ronald G. Witt (eds and trans.), The Earthly Republic: Italian Humanists on Government and Society (Philadelphia, 1978), pp. 179-230.

Bellavitis, Anna, Identité, mariage, mobilité sociale: Citoyennes et citoyens a Venise au XVIe siècle (Rome, 2001)

Brown, J.C., and R. Davis (eds.), Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy (Harlow, 1998)

Chojnacka, Monica, ‘Women, Charity and Community in Early Modern Venice: The Casa delle Zitelle’, Renaissance Quarterly 51 (1998), 68-91. JSTOR

Chojnacka, Monica, Working Women of Early Modern Venice (Baltimore, 2001) ACLS Humanities e-book

Chojnacki, Stanley, Women and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society (Baltimore, 2000) ACLS Humanities e-book

Cohn, S.K., Jr., Women in the Streets: Essays on Sex and Power in Renaissance Italy (Baltimore, 1996)

Eisenach, Emlyn, Husbands, Wives, and Concubines: Marriage, Family and Social Order in Sixteenth Century Verona (Kirksville, MO, 2004)

Fedele, Cassandra, Letters and Orations, ed. and trans. Diana Robin (Chicago, 2000).

Ferraro, Joanne M., ‘The Power to Decide: Battered Wives in Early Modern Venice’, Renaissance Quarterly 48 (1995), 492-512. JSTOR

Ferraro, Joanne M., Nefarious crimes, contested justice: illicit sex and infanticide in the Republic of Venice, 1557-1789 (Baltimore, 2008).

Fonte, Moderata [Moderata Pozzi], The Worth of Women, ed. and trans. Virginia Cox (Chicago, 1997).

Grubb, James, ‘Elite Citizens,’ in John Martin and Dennis Romano, eds, Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297-1797 (Baltimore, 2000), pp. 339-64. NetLibrary

Guzzetti, Linda, ‘Dowries in Fourteenth-Century Venice’, Renaissance Studies 16.4 (2002), 430-73. Blackwell

Guzzetti, Linda, ‘Le donne a Venezia nel XIV secolo: Uno studio sulla loro presenza nella società e nella famiglia’, Studi veneziani, n.s., 35 (1998), 15-88

Guzzetti, Linda, and A. Ziemann, ‘Women in the fourteenth-century Venetian Scuole’, Renaissance Quarterly 55 (2002), 1151-95. JSTOR

Hacke, Daniela, Women, Sex and Marriage in Early Modern Venice (Aldershot, 2004)

Hardgrave, Jason, ‘The Formation of Women’s Legal Identity in Trecento Venice’, Essays in Medieval Studies 22 (2005), 41-52. Project Muse

Horodowich, Elizabeth, ‘The gossiping tongue: oral networks, public life and political culture in early modern Venice’, Renaissance Studies 19.1 (2005), 22–45. Blackwell Synergy

Hurlburt, Holly S., The Dogaressa of Venice (Basingstoke, 2006)

Judde de la Rivière, Claire, and Rosa Salzberg, "The People Are the City: The Idea of the Popolo and the Condition of the Popolani in Renaissance Venice" [English translation of the article: "Le peuple est la cité: L’idée de popolo et la condition des popolani à Venise (XVe-XVIe siècles)", Annales HSS 68.4 (2013): 1113-40]

King, Margaret L., The death of the child Valerio Marcello (Chicago, 1994)

King, Margaret L., ‘Personal, Domestic, and Republican Values in the Moral Philosophy of Giovanni Caldiera’, Renaissance Quarterly 28 (1975), 535-74.

Knapton, Michael, ‘"Nobiltà e popolo" e un trentennio di storiografia veneta’, Nuova Rivista Storica 82 (1998), 167-92.

Labalme, Patricia H., Laura Sanguineti White, and Linda Carroll, ‘How to (and How Not to) Get Married in Sixteenth-Century Venice (Selections from the Diaries of Marin Sanudo)’, Renaissance Quarterly 52 (1999), 43-72. JSTOR

Marinella, Lucrezia, The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men, ed. and trans. Anne Dunhill (Chicago, 1999).

Mackenney, Richard, Venice as the polity of mercy: guilds, confraternities, and the social order, c. 1250-c. 1650 (Toronto, 2019)

Martin, J., and D. Romano, (eds), Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State 1297-1797 (Baltimore, 2000)

McClure, George W., The Culture of Profession in Late Renaissance Italy (Toronto, 2004)

McGough, Laura, ‘Women, private property, and the limitations of state authority in early modern Venice’, Journal of Women’s History 14.3 (2002), 32–52. Project Muse

McGough, Laura, Gender, sexuality, and syphilis in early modern Venice: The disease that came to stay (Basingstoke, 2010).

Mueller, Reinhold, ‘Espressioni di status sociale dopo la "serrata" del Maggior Consiglio di Venezia," Studi Veneti offerti a Gaetano Cozzi (Venice, 1992), pp. 53-60.

Queller, Donald E., and Thomas F. Madden. ‘Father of the Bride: Fathers, Daughters, and Dowries in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Venice’, Renaissance Quarterly 46 (1993), 685-711. JSTOR

Riccoboni, Sister Bartolomea, Life and Death in a Venetian Convent, ed. and trans. Daniel Bornstein (Chicago, 2000).

Rogers, Mary, ‘An Ideal Wife at the Villa Maser: Veronese, the Barbaros and Renaissance Theorists of Marriage’, Renaissance Studies 7 (1993): 379-97

Romano, Dennis, Housecraft and Statecraft: Domestic Service in Renaissance Venice 1400-1600 (Baltimore, 1996)

Romano, Dennis, Patricians and Popolani: The Social Foundations of the Venetian Renaissance State (Baltimore, 1987)

Klapisch-Zuber, C., Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 1985)