Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8632
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Bennett , Judith M.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Confronting Continuity [argues that the medieval period saw much change in women's lives but little transformation in their status in relation to men].
  • Source URL: Journal of Women's History 9, 3 (Autumn 1997): 73-94. target = '_blank'>Journal of Women's History 9, 3 (Autumn 1997): 73-94.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Brewing and Distillation Feminist Theory Historiography Patriarchy Periodization Women's History Work
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 14- 15
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: This exploratory essay shows how attention to long-term continuities in the status of women can create new interpretive possibilities for women's history. These continuities suggest a "patriarchal equilibrium" that has worked to maintain the status of European women in times of political, social, and economic change. This essay suggests a critical distinction between "change" in women's experiences and "transformation" in women's status, and it illustrates how historians of women have often confused one for the other. Arguing that narratives of transformation are unduly dominant in women's history, this essay then analyzes four factors that have promoted this dominance. This essay uses European history to frame its discussion but suggests that its conclusions might be applicable beyond Europe. The essay closes with an example, taken from the history of women in the English brewing industry, of how the concept of patriarchal equilibrium opens new and productive questions. [Reproduced by permission of Indiana University Press].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1997.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 10427961
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