Roisin Cossar, University of Manitoba
Ruth Mazo Karras, Trinity College Dublin
Shannon McSheffrey, Concordia University
In this video three historians of gender and sexuality examine the case of Rolandina Ronchaia, a transwoman in mid-fourteenth century Venice.
Primary Source in Translation
"The Case of Rolandina Ronchaia, a 14th-century transwoman?" Translated by Shannon McSheffrey, with assistance from Ruth Mazo Karras, Roisin Cossar, and Althea Thompson.
Classroom Discussion/Activity Possibilities
Compare the document linked above with two other records of interrogation of medieval people charged with gender transgressions:
- John/Eleanor Rykener from late fourteenth-century England (translation of record available online: Paul Halsall, "The Questioning of John Rykener, A Male Cross-Dressing Prostitute, 1395," Internet Medieval Sourcebook, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/1395rykener.asp (1998; accessed 30 Nov. 2020).
- Katherina Hetzeldorfer from fifteenth-century Nuremberg in the Holy Roman Empire (translation available in Helmut Puff, “Female Sodomy: The Trial of Katherina Hetzeldorfer (1477),” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30, no. 1 (2000): 61–62, https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-30-1-41)
Judith M. Bennett, “‘Lesbian-Like’ and the Social History of Lesbianisms,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 9 (2000): 1–24. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3704629
Roland Betancourt, “Transgender Lives,” in Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, and Race in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020).
David Lorenzo Boyd and Ruth Mazo Karras, “The Interrogation of a Male Transvestite Prostitute in Fourteenth-Century London,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1, no. 4 (1995): 459–65, https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-1-4-459.
Ruth Karras and Tom Linkinen, “John/Eleanor Rykener Revisited,” in Founding Feminisms: Essays in Honor of E. Jane Burns, ed. L. E. Doggett and D. E. O’Sullivan (Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016), 111–21, http://www.tara.tcd.ie/handle/2262/91231.
Ruth Mazo Karras, Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing Unto Others, 3rd Edition (London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2017).
Helmut Puff, “Female Sodomy: The Trial of Katherina Hetzeldorfer (1477),” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30, no. 1 (2000): 41–62, https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-30-1-41.
Roisin Cossar, Ruth Mazzo Karras, and Shannon McSheffrey, “The Case of Rolandina Ronchaia, a 14th - century transwoman?,” Middle Ages for Educators, July 22, 2020. Accessed [date]. https://middleagesforeducators.princeton.edu/node/886/