Men, Women, and Religious Education in Medieval France


ACLS Fellowship Program


History and Political Science


This project aims to uncover a significant—yet overlooked—spiritual and intellectual network that included the two seemingly disparate, gendered worlds of the exclusively male university and the female religious community. This network geographically encompassed the vibrant cities of northern France, from Paris up through the Franco-Flemish borderlands. The institutional entity central to this network was the famous Parisian college of the Sorbonne, which was founded by Robert of Sorbon in the mid-thirteenth century as a college for secular clerics. Robert’s goals for his college centered on promoting pastoral ministry and reaching out to the broader laity. Putting these goals into action, Robert and his students forged close ties with communities of lay religious women in Paris and beyond.