The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy

Assignment: Judith Brown, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy

For this longer essay, you will read a monograph, or academic book devoted to a specialized subject. Start by carefully reading the assigned text, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy. In it, Judith Brown studies the life of Sister Benedetta Carlini, a controversial Catholic nun who lived in late Renaissance Italy. While reading, pay especially close attention to how Brown explores the complex relationship between religion and sexuality within the context of early modern European society. Once you have finished reading, draw on both the evidence presented in Immodest Acts and supplemental information found in Chapter 11 of your course textbook to answer the following questions in an essay of approximately 1500 words:

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In what ways did Sister Benedetta Carlini use religious mysticism to achieve her own personal goals, and how did she negotiate the obstacles that the Catholic Counter-Reformation presented her?

Your paper must be at least 1200 words but no more than 1800 words.

You may only use the following approved sources in your paper (please note that any use of external internet sources is prohibited):

* Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, by Judith Brown

*The West in the World by Dennis Sherman and Joyce Salisbury

Paper Formatting

All papers should be double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman, and have 1-inch margins.
You must have a title page. Please see example in this packet or on Blackboard. The best idea is to download the sample title page and type directly in it to create your own title page.
You must have a header that is on every page except the title page it should have the course number and your name. Example: HIST 101/Jane Doe.
Indent every paragraph and remember a paragraph is at least 3 sentences long.
You must cite your sources.

Paper Guidelines

A) A formal history paper must have a strong introduction and clear thesis. Your introduction must concisely and clearly explain what your paper is about. The thesis is the stated central argument around which your paper is based. The goal of the paper will be to convince the reader of the truth of your argument, so it is absolutely necessary that the reader knows what that argument is.

B) A historical paper must provide clear analysis of its evidence, revealing and explaining to the reader the information that proves its point(s). Once you have decided on an argument (which will likely come to you after you have read a good deal of the book), you must then go about proving it. You cannot merely tell the reader that what you argue is true; you must show your reader what you argue is true. Make sure that every assertion is backed by evidence. Leave out material that does not matter with regards to your thesis. Use judiciously selected quotes from your source(s) to show exactly why you are arguing your points.

C) An essay should be logical in its organization at every level. Make sure that sentences make sense and contribute to the overall argument of the paper. Make sure that adjacent sentences relate to one another. Each paragraph should focus on one idea or topic. Like sentences, paragraphs should flow from one to the next with meaningful transitions. The entire construction of the paper should be working in an orderly fashion to build support for your thesis.

You will need to revise your paper to make sure that it is well-organized. Making an outline either before or after you have written it might help. A second draft (and third) will improve your paper, make your instructor happier, and result in a better grade.

Please take advantage of the Writing Center at Mercy College and have your paper edited. You can find information about in-person writing consultations at the following website.

If you are able to meet with someone in-person you are also able to schedule a virtual writing consultation at For more information on The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy check out :

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