Faculty Seminar Advisor

Dr. David Doellinger

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Abstract

The study of medieval women is often viewed with a qualitative purpose. Scholars seek to define the medieval woman as either empowered or oppressed, and within the medieval timeframe, as either more or less so than their predecessors. The year 1066 is seen as a turning point by many for the female narrative; it was the year of the Norman Conquest, which brought with it new schools of thought and manners of life. Rather than attempting to qualify the lives of women as either good or back, the question of medieval women can be approached by asking how they were able to navigate their lives and the changing world around them. This is best examined through the lives of queens because they are the most visible from an historical standpoint. Conquest mentality from the point of view of the conquered forced queens to become more active in the shaping of their identities for political survival and success. Through the lens of conquest, which reveals and sharpens this pattern, Queens Emma, Edith, and Mathilda II were all able to shape their own identities, but because of the uncertainty of conquest, their identities were also shaped for them by others.

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