State of Virginity: Gender, Religion, and Politics in an by Ulrike Strasser

By Ulrike Strasser

In premodern Germany, either the rising centralized govt and the strong Catholic Church redefined gender roles for his or her personal ends. Ulrike Strasser's interdisciplinary research of Catholic state-building examines this heritage from the vantage element of the virginal woman physique. targeting Bavaria, Germany's first absolutist nation, Strasser recounts how kingdom specialists pressured chastity upon lower-class ladies to demarcate valid different types of sexuality and hold type hierarchies. while, they cloistered teams of upper-class ladies to harness the non secular authority linked to holy virgins to the political authority of the kingdom. The kingdom ultimately recruited upper-class virgins as lecturers who may possibly tuition ladies within the gender-specific morals and kind of citizenship preferred via authorities.Challenging Weberian options that hyperlink modernization to Protestantism, Strasser's research illustrates the modernizing strength of Catholicism via an exam of virginity's important function in politics, tradition, and society. Weaving jointly the tales of marriage and convent, of lay in addition to spiritual ladies, country of Virginity makes very important contributions to the historic learn of sexuality and the turning out to be feminist literature at the country. it will likely be of specific curiosity to scholars and students of political and non secular background, women's reports, and social historical past.

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But Munich's secular judge wavered. He too was caught between the pulls of traditional courtship practices and contemporary legal trends . He knew firsthand, since he had watched it happen often, that Munich's resi­ dents understood marriage as a process that went through a series of stages, promises and intercourse included, and could very well originate in a completely personal setting. On the other hand, he was cognizant of the state's police ordinances against clandestine marriages and premarital sex, which overrode city law and urban customs .

56 Clearly, virginity as a Catholic religious ideal could be marshaled in sup­ port of the reaffirmed sanctity and even heightened valorization of matri­ mony. The virginity of the bride, in signifying the avoidance of premarital sexual relations, contributed to the sanctification of marriage. It is impor­ tant to note, though, that this powerful symbolic mechanism, while it cel­ ebrated women's ability to confer divine grace upon matrimony, also placed a great social and moral burden on women, and not men, to secure a state of virginity prior to marriage.

The English Ladies, however, survived this attack on their institution thanks to the Bavarian Elector, whom they convinced that their educa­ tional work was highly relevant to public order. In order to obtain state support, they had to give up many of their pedagogical and intellectual aspirations, along with their goal of obtaining official recognition as a reli­ gious order . Yet the very existence of the English Ladies, their educational work, and the manner in which they subverted state control also meant that some women were able to move outside the sociopolitical grid of male-headed households.

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