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CHRISTINE DE PIZAN
Christine de Pizan and the Querelle des Femmes, 1413

by Jennifer C. Edwards

Confronting Misogyny On and Off the Illuminated Page

Christine de Pizan and the Querelle des Femmes examines the power, authority, and roles of women in the 1413 French court. Debates over misogyny in literature, legal theory, and political roles demonstrate the centrality of both women and gender to major issues in late medieval France. Two noble factions, the Armagnacs and Burgundians, negotiate the power vacuum left by the extended illness of King Charles VII, while two factions of authors, the Humanists and the Profeminines, publicly debate misogyny in legal theory and literature—Salic Law and the Romance of the Rose. Authors seek patronage from the nobles, while nobles seek the authors’ support—and to use authors’ skills to promote their own positions. The game is set during a peaceful interlude in the Hundred Years War, and an opening phase of the French civil war managed by Queen Isabeau of Bavaria. Meanwhile, Christine de Pizan, an influential author at the French court, engaged in debates about misogyny, morality, and the capabilities of women, and wrote a long defense of women in The Book of the City of Ladies, showing women’s abilities, power. Christine puts women and gender as issues at the center of game debates, and includes important female characters as roles. It has resonances for continuing debates about representations of women in art and political participation.

This is a Level 3 game that is still under development but has been approved by the Reacting Editorial Board (REB) for general use. A detailed explanation of the editorial process and game levels can be found on our REB Page.

ABOUT THE GAME

Details

Disciplines
Art History, Conflict & War Studies, Cultural & Social History, Literature/English, Medieval History, Political Science & History, Rhetoric & Performance Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Western Civ/History


Era 
15th Century


Geography 
Europe, France


Level
Published Level 3 game (what's that mean?

Themes and Issues  

Misogyny, Women and Gender, Medieval Women, Women's Power, French Civil War, Armagnac/Burgundian Conflict, The Romance of the Rose


Player Interactions 
Factional, Competitive, Aggressive, Coalition-Building


Sample Class Titles
History of Medieval Europe; Premodern Women and History; History: Roots of the Modern Age


In a Few Words
Medieval Women Power




Mechanics 
Differentiated Voting; Physical Props (Point/Patronage Tokens, Royal Favor Tokens)


Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
Moderate to high chaos,
Moderate demand on instructor

The first three segments of the game are very structured, but the fourth segment can devolve completely into chaos.


Primary Source Highlights
 

Christine de Pizan, Book of the City of Ladies

Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose

Christine de Pizan, et al., Letters from the Debate of the Rose



Notable Roles

Christine de Pizan

Jean the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy

Queen Isabeau of Bavaria

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 

12-31 Students, the Instructors manual includes guidance on playing the game with smaller classes.

Class Time  

1-3 Setup Sessions and 1-9 Game Sessions.

The standard game is three setup sessions and four play sessions. There are four segments to the game, and each can be played in one session or expanded into multiple sessions each. A one-debate version of the game is included in the IM. Segments expand or compress, accordion style, to permit instructors to focus on aspects of the game that work best for their courses, deciding whether to focus more on literature, political/legal theory, noble power dynamics, or the chaos of war and violence.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings

This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. Christine de Pizan may pair well with:


Assignments
Traditional Paper/ Research/Thesis-Driven Writing, Creative Writing, and Letter Writing

Not all roles are expected to give a speech.

All roles have the option to earn Royal Favor through non-writing and non-speaking assignments.


GAME MATERIALS

Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.  Basic game materials (Gamebook, Role Sheets, Instructor's Guide, and Handouts) are available to any instructor through the publisher. 

Please Fill out the Permissions Request Form Before Using Christine de Pizan in Your Class!

Gamebook

Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. Christine de Pizan is available to download.

Updated August 2023
.docx file

Role Sheets 

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

 .zip file of .docx files

Instructor's Manual & Additional Materials

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.   

.docx files


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Jennifer C. Edwards

Jennifer C. Edwards is Professor of History and Director of Medieval Studies at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, where she teaches medieval and ancient history. Her research examines medieval European women and gender, power and authority, religion, and health. She is the author of Superior Women: Medieval Female Authority in Poitiers’ Abbey of Sainte-Croix (Oxford, 2019) and Daily Life of Women in Chaucer’s England (ABC-CLIO, 2022). She is working currently on a book project, “Holy Healing: Saints and Leprosy in the Middle Ages,” that examines the treatment of leprosy in the medieval cult of the saints. She earned her PhD and MA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is general editor of Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality and serves on the Advisory Board of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship.

QUESTIONS

Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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reacting@barnard.edu

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