Via Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt at Wonders & Marvels:
It is not often that my research is topical. Most people feign polite interest when I tell them I study sixteenth-century Spanish convents. But with the recent controversy over the Catholic Church’s scrutiny of the behavior and activities of American nuns, the subject of female monasticism has enjoyed an unprecedented timeliness.
My goal in this essay is not to enter the twenty-first century polemic; I’m much more comfortable in the sixteenth century. I would offer, however, the following observation: that certain assumptions and even stereotypes undergird the remarks of some of the participants in the current debate. And here is where history can be so useful. Arguably, we root some of our modern interpretations of nuns in what we think convents were like in the premodern period.
Read more here.