The volume's contributors focus on European, indigenous, Creole, African, and mestiza women's interactions with shifting paradigms of Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, and syncretic beliefs throughout the Atlantic basin to highlight the unique cultural dynamics of the Atlantic.
Mapping these themes with a diverse range of individual, imperial, and institutional cases, the essays include studies of a Peruvian nun's battle against a black demon, an African slave whose knowledge of the Bible stunned white men, and native American healers accused of witchcraft. Through a thoughtful consideration of the complexity of the religious landscape of the Atlantic basin, the collection provides an enriching portrayal of the intriguing interplay between religion, gender, ethnicity, and authority in the early modern Atlantic world. A formula for disobedience : Jansenism, gender, and the feminist paradox by Daniella J Kostroun 1 edition published in in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide.
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Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism chronicles seventy years of Jansenist conflict and its complex intersection with power struggles between gallican bishops, Parlementaires, the Crown and the Pope. Paradoxically, it was the nuns' adherence to their strict religious rule and the ideal of pious, innocent and politically disinterested behavior that allowed them to challenge absolutism effectively.
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Adopting methods from cultural studies, feminism and the Cambridge School of political thought, Kostroun examines how these nuns placed gender at the heart of the Jansenist challenge to the patriarchal and religious foundations of absolutism; they responded to royal persecution with a feminist defense of women's spiritual and rational equality and of the autonomy of the individual subject, thereby offering a bold challenge to the patriarchal and religious foundations of absolutism. Table of Contents Introduction; 1.
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Jansenism as a 'woman problem'; 2. Controversy and reform at Port Royal; 3. First of all, his change of opinion merely reinforced their original position that as long as they could see contradictions among men's opinions on the formula, they had reason to doubt. As long as they had reason to doubt, they had an obligation to remain silent. Second, Arnauld's concern for the house raised their suspicions. Port Royal was a wealthy convent, after all, and the nuns suspected that their friends and family wanted the truce because they feared seeing the property that they invested in Port Royal end up in the hands of strangers.
Understanding full well the intertwining of religion and politics in their society, the nuns decided to act in a way that seemed to be guided purely by religion. It is enough to fall rather than to make one step against his order. In this way the affairs of God become our own, and we make them fully human and effective through us. We will remain invincible if we always remain firm in the position in which he has placed us. This principle was especially true, in her view, when one sought compromise as a way to reduce suffering: "The servants of God can never believe themselves to be more secure than during those times when they have no other choice but to suffer.
When the nuns refused to compromise at the Peace of Clement IX, they were not "proud" or "overstepping their bounds" as much as they were ideologically consistent. By remaining consistent, they became Jansenist political activists who revealed Louis XIV's tyranny by embracing silence and suffering.
Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism
In addition, they were making a "Pascalian Wager" of sorts. Certainly, the nuns' resistance was not rational in terms of protecting their worldly goods. However, the nuns understood that should they stick to their beliefs and prevail in this struggle, then the payoff for them in terms of the spiritual rewards and pious reputation would be so great, that it was worth taking the risk in the first place. In the end, the nuns' wager paid off. To the humiliation of the Archbishop of Paris, the nuns never signed the formula that he had pressured them so hard to sign.
Instead, he was forced to issue them a pardon. This victory for freedom of conscience against Louis XIV was the nuns' major victory. But this was not the only reward for the nuns.
In terms of property, they initially suffered a financial loss when their community was divided into two houses as part of the settlement. When Port Royal was divided, two-thirds of the total property went to the eleven nuns who had signed the formula back in while the remaining one third went to the over eighty nuns who had resisted the formula. This enormous financial setback, however, was only temporary. In the decade following the Peace, the Jansenist nuns enjoyed their most prosperous era ever, as many wealthy patrons, inspired by the nuns' religious commitment, showered Port Royal with donations.
The significance of the nuns' resistance to the Peace of Clement IX is multiple. This episode reveals that the nuns were well versed in the political theory of their male Jansenist allies. When the nuns refused to compromise, they were not irrational or "unruly" women who were blind to political reality.
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Instead, they were putting into practice Pascal's political theory that posited absolute silence and suffering as the sole solution to absolute power. In addition, this episode reveals how Pascal's theories on force and justice may have provided a blueprint for challenging absolutism. By putting Pascal's ideas into practice, the nuns demonstrated that although tyranny could not be defeated, it could at least be forced to show its hand.
Maxime Leroy, 3 vols.
Paris: Gallimard, , , Paris: Champion, , , The claim that women were devoid of reason was a common misogynist trope in early modern France. The English translation used here is Nannerl O. Keohane, John J. Conley Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , Louis Marin, Portrait of the King, trans. Martha M. Houle Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, , Marin, Jacqueline Pascal, See Jacqueline-Marie de Ste.
Louis Cognet Paris: Bernard Grasset, , Details of these events can be found in the "persecution journals" that the nuns wrote at the time. For a useful bibliography of these and other primary sources pertaining to Port Royal see F. Sedgwick, Arnauld, Apologie,