Recovering Lost Medieval Women



Course details: Following the success of her number 1 best-selling book, Femina, Janina is back to share new insights and further research, uncovering the medieval world through fresh eyes. Discover the lost Queen of Cookham, the spies of Southern France and the cosmopolitan society of London during the Black Death. Far from ‘unrecoverable’, Janina will show how new technology is putting women back into the history books and revealing the past in all its diversity and complexity. Be prepared to have your view of how we’ve been taught history transformed.

Delivery: The course will be delivered by a series of 4 pre-recorded video lectures, and separate live group Q&As with the course tutor via a video conferencing platform. Participants will also receive course notes. Links and details will be sent to participants a few days before the course begins. Lectures will be released at 7pm (GMT) each Wednesday and will be available to view for a month and half. The live Q&A will take place at 8pm (GMT) each Wednesday of the course, beginning 10th January. It will be recorded and made available to view afterwards.

Accessibility: All lectures will have closed captions. The live Q&As will have live captioning. If you have any additional access requirements, please get in touch via

Please make a note of the email address you use to sign up: All email correspondence relating to the course will be sent to the the email address you used to sign up to the course. If you are unsure which email you used then please check this ahead of time to avoid any confusion. It is always worth checking your spam folder before contacting the course administrator.

Course Breakdown

Lecture 1 – The Fall of Rome in the fifth century meant all the lights went out, right? In fact, as the suppressive Empire pulled back, fascinating opportunities arose across Europe for those brave enough to embrace new ideas, innovations and institutions. And women were right at the heart of this new world, seizing their chance to become power players.

Lecture 2 – ‘The Church’ – a monolithic entity which dictated how life was lived during the medieval period. At least that’s what we’ve been told. The truth is far more complex. The eleventh and twelfth centuries saw the rise of religious and political dissent, with conflict on every border. Discover new insights through the female spies and leaders of the time

Lecture 3 – The Renaissance of the fifteenth century was when the modern world began. Another ‘fact’ we’ve been taught. But the women of thirteenth-century Europe had greater opportunities than at almost any other time. They were polymaths, scientists, authors, artists and musicians, enjoying the chance to out-perform their male counterparts. Why don’t we know about them?

Lecture 4 – Picture the medieval world and you probably imagine peasants in fields, living and dying within sight of their local church, while powerful lords lead blood-thirsty battles. But the past was no different to the present in terms of complex individuals and diverse societies. While the Black Death decimated, it also destroyed established structures, allowing fresh opportunities for travel, trade and transformation.

Your tutor: Dr Janina Ramirez is a lecturer in medieval history based at the University of Oxford, a critically acclaimed broadcaster, and the author of Private Lives of the Saints, Julian of Norwich and the instant Sunday Times bestseller Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages.

If you have any queries about the course, please do not contact the tutors direct. Instead, contact where we will be happy to advise.