Imprisoned Maidens?


Historian to discuss 19th-century German nuns

Dr. Martina Cucchiara, an assistant professor of history at Bluffton University, will pose the question “Imprisoned Maidens or Audacious Feminists? Reconsidering Nuns in 19th-century Germany” in an April 5 campus colloquium. Free and open to the public, her presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in Stutzman Lecture Hall in Centennial Hall.

Cucchiara, a first-year Bluffton faculty member, will discuss what motivated thousands of young German women to join convents in the 19th century and how those new congregations took on some of the most challenging tasks in the modernizing nation-state. She will also address German society’s discomfort with nuns, which often led to male politicians’ call to “liberate” young women who were supposedly held against their will behind convent walls.

Cucchiara earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame in 2011. Her dissertation topic was the Poor School Sisters of Notre Dame in Hitler’s Germany. She also holds a master’s degree from Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.