About Dr Julie Ann Smith

Dr Smith has a major research focus at present of the nunnery rules and constitutions of the 10th-15th centuries. She also researches the history of women pilgrims of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, in particular, relating to women's accounts of their pilgrimages and the processes through which they constructed their identities as pilgrims.

Dr Smith supervises research on: medieval women – individual case studies, sainthood, gender, space, pilgrimage, monasticism, mysticism, literature by/for women (e.g., devotional, guidance, letters)medieval men - mysticism, masculinity, monasticismgeneral research areas include monasticism, saints, healthcare, pilgrimage, death & burial, devotional works.

Recent and current postgraduate students’ research projects include: family and law in late medieval and early modern England; Bernard of Clairvaux; saints’ lives in early medieval England and Ireland; the Penitential Psalms and lay devotion in late medieval England.

For more details see: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/history/staff/profiles/smith.shtml

Selected publications


Ordering Women’s Lives: Penitentials and Nunnery Rules in the early Medieval West (London: Ashgate, 2001)

Book Chapters

Observing the Holy Gospel: The Formation of a Female Franciscan Vocation’ – in Interpreting Francis and Clare: From the Middle Ages to the Present eds Constant J. Mews and Clare Renkin, Broughton, 2010, 121-134.

‘Sacred Journeying: Women’s Correspondence and Pilgrimage, 4th and 8th centuries’ - in Pilgrimage Explored ed. Jennie Stopford, Boydell & Brewer, 1999, 41-56.


“The Hours that They Ought to Direct to the Study of Letters”: Learning in the Institutiones for Dominican Nuns’ – under review for Women’s History Review

‘An Apostolic Vocation: the Formation of the Religious Life for Dominican Nuns in the Thirteenth Century’ - forthcoming Medieval Feminist Forum

‘Clausura Districta: Conceiving Space and Community for Dominican Nuns in the 13th Century,’ Parergon 27:2 (2010) 13-36.

‘Prouille, Madrid, Rome: the Evolution of the Earliest Dominican Instituta for Nuns,’ Journal of Medieval History 35:4 (2009)

‘The Virtue of Stillness: Abelard and Monastic Silence,’ American Benedictine Review 59:3 (2008) 291-303.

‘Debitum Obedientie: Heloise and Abelard on Governance at the Paraclete,’ Parergon 25:1 (2008) 1-23.

‘“What Now Lies Before Their Eyes”: The Foundations of Early Pilgrim Visuality,’ Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 4 (2007) 135-157.

‘“My Lord’s Native Land”: Mapping the Christian Holy Land,’ Church History 76:1 (2007), 1-31.

‘The Eye of Faith: Vision and Visuality in the Experience of Women Pilgrims,’ Women-Church: Australian Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 40 (2007), 32-36.