16th century abbess featured in McLaughlin Memorial Lecture

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16th century abbess featured in McLaughlin Memorial Lecture

Beth Plummer
Beth Plummer

Beth Plummer, Susan C. Karant-Nunn Professor of Reformation and Early Modern European History at the University of Arizona, will deliver the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program’s annual Mary Martin McLaughlin Memorial Lecture.

Plummer will deliver her talk at 5:15 p.m., Jan. 29, in the Center For Great Plains Studies. The lecture is free and open to the public and an informal reception will follow the lecture.

Plummer will speak on the Abbess Margarethe Watzdorf, a figure in the 16th century protestant reformation history. The Abbess became the leader of her convent when she was just 35 years old and brought her convent into the reform era. As Plummer will explain, a remarkable set of documents and material evidence from the convent gives insight into the complexities of convent reform and religious women’s lives in 16th-century Germany. The talk will make special use of the convent’s inventory of devotional objects to guide the audience through a story of what the Reformation meant for women like Margarethe and for institutions like her convent.

Plummer is an internationally known scholar of early modern religious history. She has authored and edited five books, including most recently “Names and Naming in Early Modern Germany,” which she co-edited with Joel Harrington. Her monograph, “From Priest’s Whore to Pastor’s Wife: Clerical Marriage and the Process of Reform in the Early German Reformation,” won the Gerald Strauss Book Prize in 2013.

The Mary Martin McLaughlin Memorial Lecture was established by the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program to recognize McLaughlin’s landmark scholarship. McLaughlin, a native of Grand Island, Nebraska, was a scholar of women, children, family and women’s religious communities in medieval Europe. Two books (with co-editor James Bruce Ross) published during her lifetime, “The Portable Medieval Reader” and “The Portable Renaissance Reader,” made her work a staple of college courses for decades.

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