Presented by Sarah Ifft Decker

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People often assume that the history of medieval women is a story of oppression and subjugation. However, a wide array of texts and images reveal the agency and determination of Jewish women as they negotiated family, love, sex, work, faith, and crisis in the medieval past. In this talk, Sarah Ifft Decker will offer an introduction to the lived experiences of Jewish women in the medieval world, from the Iberian Peninsula to Northern Europe to the Middle East. Through both the stories of individual women and an overview of broader trends, Ifft Decker will demonstrate that studying Jewish women is crucial to a richer understanding of Jewish history.

Sarah Ifft Decker is assistant professor of history at Rhodes College. Her work explores intersections between gender and religious identity in the medieval Mediterranean. She is the author of Jewish Women in the Medieval World, 500-1500 CE and The Fruit of Her Hands: Jewish and Christian Women’s Work in Medieval Catalan Cities. Dr. Ifft Decker also hosts Media-eval: A Medieval Pop Culture Podcast, a podcast on representations of the Middle Ages in popular culture.