IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 501: Women in Power, Women Without: The Wives, Widows, and Sisters of Kings and Dukes in the Anglo-Norman World, II

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Haskins Society for Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Angevin & Viking History
Organiser:Charlotte Cartwright, School of History, University of Liverpool / State University of New York, Oswego
Moderator/Chair:Catherine A. M. Clarke, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO) / Department of English, Swansea University
Paper 501-aDaughter, Wife, Wife, Widow: The Four Lives of Edward the Confessor's Sister Countess Goda
(Language: English)
Chris Lewis, Victoria County History (Sussex), Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Index terms: Gender Studies, Politics and Diplomacy, Social History
Paper 501-bThe Girl Who Should Have Been Queen: Alys Capet and the Angevin Kings
(Language: English)
Beth Thomas, St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of St Andrews
Index terms: Gender Studies, Politics and Diplomacy, Social History
Paper 501-cAnglo-Norman Queenship and its European Context
(Language: English)
David Bates, School of History, University of East Anglia / Université de Caen Basse-Normandie
Index terms: Gender Studies, Politics and Diplomacy, Social History

While much work has been done on prominent and powerful high-status women in the medieval period, less attention has been paid to those who were pawns in the games of diplomatic marriage, who were excluded from power by their husbands or circumstances, or who chose not to seek power or to operate the power at their disposal. These two linked sessions contrast powerful and powerless women in the Anglo-Norman and Angevin worlds. Five of the papers use case studies of individual royal and ducal women, mostly ones who have been relatively neglected in the scholarship and whose lives display different positions in relation to their menfolk: as wives, sisters, mothers, fiancées and widows. The sixth provides an overview of and reflection on the wider topic of why some women exercised power and others did not.