TitleTeacher, Traveler, Politician, and Midwife: The Many Roles of Medieval Women
Date/TimeThursday 7 July 2022: 11.15-12.45
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairAnaïs Waag, School of History & Heritage, University of Lincoln
Paper 1606-a On the Border of Worlds: The Ambivalent Role of Midwives among the Early Medieval Slavs - An Archaeological Study
(Language: English)
Patrycja Godlewska, Szkoła Doktorsk Nauk Humanistycznych, Teologicznych i Artystycznych Academia Artium Humaniorum, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu
Index Terms: Archaeology - General; Gender Studies; Pagan Religions; Women's Studies
Paper 1606-b Scholars and Sages of the Medieval World: Muslim Women as Teachers
(Language: English)
Bilal Ahmad, Department of Comparative Religion, International Islamic University, Islamabad
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Islamic and Arabic Studies; Religious Life
Paper 1606-c Wouldn't It Be Nice to Marry the Luxembourger Princess?: Creating or Breaking Down the Borders?
(Language: English)
Zuzana Bolerazká, Katolická teologická fakulta, Univerzita Karlova, Praha
Index Terms: Canon Law; Mentalities; Social History; Women's Studies
Paper 1606-d Female Travelers' Agency and Diverse Practices in Late Antiquity: A Critique of the Turners' Model of Pilgrimage
(Language: English)
Fiona Chen, Yale Divinity School, Yale University
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Literacy and Orality; Liturgy; Women's Studies
AbstractPaper -a:
Medieval reality is a duality and a theatre of many actors. The midwife acted as a theatrical dresser. They could not be seen or heard. They represented two worlds, yet belonged to neither really. Their position was ambivalent, borderline, transcendent. At the same time alienated, but not excluded. They crossed the boundaries between life and death, often paying the ultimate price. In the archaeological material from the graves, we will not find evidence of the profession of the deceased, but certain artefacts, such as spindle, may give us some idea of it.

Paper -b:
While pre-modern scholarship was generally male-dominated and very few women would find themselves a niche there, medieval Muslim women seem to have fared better than their sisters in other societies. It was the gender border that kept most women out of the scholars' fraternity. The freedom to learn and teach that Muslim women have had over the centuries has been highlighted in some excellent overviews by scholars like Saeed in her Transmission, Bewley in her Muslim Women, Roded's Women in Islamic Biographical Collections, Aliyah's 'Great Women', Künkler's 'Women as Religious Authorities' and Nadwi in his al-Muhaddithat, to name a few. If there is one thing that they all illustrate, it is the fact that Muslim women were an integral part of the transmission of religious knowledge from the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself, especially hadīth or his traditions.

Paper -c:
Marriages have always been a kind of promise of a common future, not only in a romantic sense but also in a purely practical sense. It was not just a union between a man and a woman, as it often perceived contemporarily. It was a union of entire families. While marriages may have been contracted for objective reasons it must always be assumed that they were not just an immediate solution. In order to understand medieval society and the political situation, it is therefore imperative to pay attention to the consequences of marriage when conducting research on it. This study will attempt to summarise the lives of the last princesses of the House of Luxembourg, their significance in this process and how essential women's contacts with relatives were and that the family's matrimonial politics did not really end with the wedding ceremony.

Paper -d:
Our contemporary understanding of pilgrimage was largely shaped by the anthropological work of Victor and Edith Turner in the 20th century. However, their paradigm, together with ancient sources that condemn the travels undertaken by women, create the false image that female travellers were a rarity and their endeavours were looked down upon by their contemporaries. In this paper, I demonstrate that based on the travelling narratives from late antiquity, there was no clear boundary between the intellectual and the material aspects of pilgrimage. Female travellers in late antiquity used their own agency to participate in pilgrimage as they saw fit: some were not only active contributors in an intellectual project that asserted the legitimacy of doctrines and the biblical text, but also patronesses of the pilgrimage economy.