Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2009 Sarah Ifft. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Medieval Studies Program

First Advisor

Stephen P. Bensch


This honors thesis examines the efficacy of women as economic agents in the Jewish quarter of a small Catalonian town, Castelló d’Empúries, during a prosperous late 13th Century. It not only utilizes existing scholarship on medieval, Jewish, and gender histories but also aims to make focused use of Castelló d’Empúries’ extensive notarial records. Through these records Jewish women’s economic activity is sifted for evidence of both obstacles and facilities to their agency within finance, family, and gender. Themes include marital status; female household support contrasted with subordination; female community-oriented labor; and intersecting minority Jewish and majority Christian communities.


Co-recipient of the Paul H. Beik Prize in History, awarded in 2009.