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Dr. Francine Michaud

Pronouns: she/her


Contact information

Phone number

Office: 4032206401

By email


Educational Background

PhD History, Université Laval, 1990

DEA (Diplôme d'Études approfondies) Medieval history, Université d'Aix-Marseille I, 1986


Areas of Research

Religious community involvement and gender in medieval society

From original archival research, I focus on gender roles of engagement in matters of religious authority within late medieval society. More specifically, I pay attention to concerted modes and strategies used by women, who were de facto institutionally stripped by the Church of the right to teach and preach the Word of God, to effectively reach out to their communities by interconnected means (personal, material, and intellectual) of evangelical activism.     

Labour conditions and relations in medieval society

Archival evidence collected from the earliest notarial and judicial records in the pre- and post- Black Death era in Marseille leads me to investigate, as minutely as possible by way of quantitative and qualitative methods, the evolution of labour conditions and human relations in the critical context of the worst pandemic in history.

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Living a good death in final wishes: Lay sanctification and testamentary practice at the turn of the fourteenth century

This project rests on my transcription of 550 unedited wills from Marseille dated 1248-1350, the oldest corpus known in France. When will-makers called a notary to record their last wishes, most testators were admittedly ailing. Especially in the context of the late thirteenth-century spiritual renewal, this meant that last wishes were a calculated means to prepare for a “good death” following, one hoped, what contemporary preachers admonished: a life well lived according to evangelical values and purgatorial beliefs. Testators produced the best snapshots that help historians decode the commoners’ frame of mind when approaching death or considering the world they were about to leave behind, and the world they contemplated ahead. Marseille provides an exceptional case study in support of this assertion: at the turn of the fourteenth century, the city’s pervasive evangelical culture stimulated in unprecedented ways testamentary production among both women and men. My project—warranted given the steady state of deterioration of these archives—begins with an analytical introduction arguing that these legal acts, which in Marseille were produced in greater number by women than men, served as narratives to display a didactic model of spiritual behavior. Intertextual analysis allows to connect new findings on theological teaching at the end of the thirteenth century—and its correlated devotional practice specifically geared to northern elite women—with Marseille “middle class” women. The latter revealed in their testamentary dispositions a keen awareness of these developments, such as a carpenter’s wife in 1299 who ordered a priest to perform the absolvere corpus, which is the earliest evidence ever recorded of the ritual of the absolution of the dead. This will, among the 35-40 pieces to be selected for the edition, epitomizes the active relationship lay people in Marseille had with the sacred, echoing the latest evangelical and theological developments of their times.

Women, Men, and Vernacular Saint-Making in Medieval Marseille

This project relies on the close reading of the book of miracles attributed to Louis of Anjou, whose remains were buried in the Franciscan church of Marseille in 1297, in conjunction with the 211 miracle-seekers/beneficiaries' own stories. Indeed, among the latter, the vast majority were citizens of Marseille, and a fair number of them can be identified through the city's archival records. While these suppliants came from a wide spectrum of society, the dominant presence of women calls for a renewed reading of the miracle collection, its immediate historical context, with an eye on gender roles in contemporary saint-making. 


  • Initiative Development Grant, SSHRC. 2021
  • Initiative Grant, SSHRC. 2017


  • "The Meaning of Servanthood in Private Households. The Case of Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Marseille". “We are all servants.” The Diversity of Service in Premodern Europe (1000-1700), eds. Isabelle Cochelin and Diane Wolfthal, Essays and Studies, Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies. Toronto : University of Toronto, 2022. 349-374. (2022)
  • "Dévotes, béguines et réseaux de piété évangélique à Marseille au temps de saint Louis d’Anjou". Provence historique. 87-115. (2021)
  • "Révérence ou résistance? La norme statutaire dans les relations de travail à Marseille aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles". Statuts, écritures et pratiques sociales dans les sociétés de la Méditerranée occidentale à la fin du Moyen Âge (XII-XVe siècle). Vème rencontre. Les statuts vus de l’extérieur: les références à la norme dans les sources de la pratique, ed. Didier Lett. . 75-91. (2020)
  • Earning Dignity. Labour Conditions and Relations during the Century of the Black Death in Marseille, Studies in European Urban History, 38 Turnhout. Brepols. (2016)
  • "Wills and Testaments". Francine Michaud. Death in Medieval Europe. Death Scripted and Death Choreographed, ed. Joëlle Rollo-Koster, New York: Routledge. 114-129. (2016)
  • "L’évolution du vocabulaire de la rémunération à Marseille d’après les contrats d’apprentissage et d’embauche, 1248-1400" and “De la coutume à la réalité: le versement salarial à Marseille d’après les actes notariés (1248-1400)” . Salaire et salariat au Moyen Âge, eds. Patrice Beck, Philippe Bernardi and Laurent Feller. Paris : Picard, . 200-209 and 408-423.. (2014)
  • "De père en fils? Sensibilité spirituelle à travers les testaments marseillais, 1248-1350". Le testament spirituel, du Moyen-Âge à l’époque moderne. Legs, salut de l’âme, miroir des vertus chrétiennes, eds. Christine Barralis, Corinne Marchal and Anne Wagner. Metz: Centre de recherche universitaire lorrain d’histoire, Université de Lorraine. 21-33. (2013)
  • "Family Emotional Outlets? Women’s Wills in Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Marseille". Women and Wills in France, St. Andrews Studies in French History and Culture Series, eds. Joëlle Rollo-Koster and Kathryn L. Reyerson. St. Andrews University (UK). 25-43. (2012)
  • L’enquête de Leopardo da Foligno en Haute Provence centrale, 1332-1333 (Baillies de Moustiers, de Castellane et de Barjols). Collection des documents inédits sur l’histoire de France, vol. 57. . With Claude Roux, Thierry Pécout, Laure Verdon . Paris: Éditions du CTHS, 2011, XCIV-955 p.. (2011)
  • "Marc Bloch". French Historians, 1900-2000: New Historical Writing in Twentieth-Century France, eds. Philip Whalen and Philip Daileader: Chichester (UK): Wiley-Blackwell. 38-61. (2010)
  • "Wills of Pilgrims". Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage, ed. Larissa J. Taylor et alii, Leiden: Brill. 822-825. (2010)
  • "Individu, patrimoine et tensions intergénérationnelles dans les testaments médiévaux: le cas de Marseille (1248-1348)". La Parenté déchirée: les luttes intrafamiliales au Moyen Âge, ed. Martin Aurell. Turnhout: Brepols. 107-127. (2010)
  • "Le pauvre transformé: les hommes, les femmes et la charité à Marseille du XIIIe siècle jusqu’à la Peste noire". Revue historique, CCCXI-2 (2009). 243-290. (2009)
  • "L’évolution de la condition paysanne en Provence centrale : quelques réflexions sur les homines regis à Aups aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles". Provence historique, LVIII-231. 71-92. (2008)
  • "From apprentices to wage-earners: child labour before and after the Black Death". Medieval Childhood, ed. Joel Rosenthal. Donington (Lincolnshire, U.K.): Shaun Tyas / Paul Watkins Publishing, 2007. 75-92. (2007)
  • "The pilgrim, the priest, and the beguine. Ascetic tradition vs. Christian humanism in late medieval religious practices". Pecia: Ressources en médiévistique, vol. 1 . 157-180. (2002)
  • “Serviteurs et domestiques à Marseille au XIVe siècle.”. In Le petit peuple dans la société de l’Occident médiéval. Terminologies, perceptions, réalités. Actes du Congrès international tenu à l’Université de Montréal 18-23 octobre 1999, eds. Pierre Boglioni, Robert Delort et Claude Gauvard. Paris: Publications . 395-405. (2002)
  • "La peste, la peur et l'espoir. Le pèlerinage jubilaire de romieri marseillais en 1350". Le Moyen Age. Revue de philologie et d'histoire, 104: 3-4. 399-434. (1998)
  • "The Peasants of Marseilles at the Turn of the Fourteenth Century". Urban and Rural Communities in the South of France, eds. Kathryn Reyerson and John V. Drendel. Leiden: Brill. 275-289. (1998)
  • "Exploités ou profiteurs? La situation des apprentis à Marseille au début du XIVe siècle." . Médiévales. 83-96. (1996)
  • Un signe des temps: accroissement des crises familiales autour du patrimoine à Marseille à la fin du XIIIe siècle, Coll. "Studies and Texts" no 117. Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. (1994)
  • "Apprentissage et salariat à Marseille avant la peste noire". Revue historique, 278 (1994). 3-36. (1994)
  • "Qui aime bien, châtie bien? Violence domestique et affectio maritalis dans les actes de juridiction civile marseillaise (fin XIIIe siècle)". Des Marseillaises. Les Femmes et la Ville: des origines à nos jours, eds. Yvonne Knibiehler, Régine Coutalier, Catherine Marand-Fouquet, and Éliane Richard. Paris, Côté-Femmes. 76-84. (1993)
  • "Liaisons particulières? Franciscains et testatrices à Marseille, 1248-1320". Annales du Midi, 104 . 7-18. (1992)
  • "Mobilité sociale, patrimoine et endettement chez les notaires marseillais de la fin du XIIIe siècle," . In Actes du Colloque: Nice, terre de rencontre du notariat. Provence-Corse-Piémont. Nice. 19-30. (1991)

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