Workshop, June 2018: Women’s Kinships

Between Women: Female Networks, Kinships and Power

31 May – 1 June 2018, SFB 1167, Poppelsdorfer Allee 24, University of Bonn

Organized by Emma Bérat and Irina Dumitrescu, as part of the SFB 1167 “Macht and Herrschaft: Premodern Configurations in a Transcultural Perspective”, University of Bonn

Forged by blood, friendship, religious fellowship and political affinity, women’s relationships played essential roles in constructing women’s power in the pre-modern world. Yet we still know little about relationships between women, and the networks of political and religious influence such relationships created. This international workshop brings together scholars from the fields of art history, history, literature and religion to explore women’s biological, religious, secular, imaginary and historical kinships. We will consider how women transmitted their power to other women through time and across space, and how women’s networks were imagined, constructed and performed. Presentations focus on sources from Britain, Central Asia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iberia, Iran, spanning the sixth to seventeenth centuries.

All welcome. Please contact Emma Bérat,, by 21 May to register.


Day 1: Thursday, 31 May 2018

10:00-10:15: Welcome and Introduction (Emma Bérat & Irina Dumitrescu, Univ. Bonn)

Session 1 : Chair, Emma Bérat, Univ. Bonn

10:15-11:30: Lucy Pick (Univ. of Chicago), “Networking Power: Relationships between Women in Eleventh-Century León”

11:30 – 12:45: Jocelyn Wogan-Browne (Fordham Univ.) “Household Spiritual Direction: A  Female Tradition in late Medieval England and France?”

12:45-2:00: Lunch break

Session 2: Chair,  Irina Dumitrescu, Univ. Bonn

2:00-3:15: Jitske Jasperse (Humboldt-Univ.), “Matilda Plantagenet´s Material Culture and the Performance of Power”

3:15-4:30: Rebecca Hardie (Univ. Göttingen), “Skin and Blisters: Rethinking the Networks of Anglo-Saxon Sisters”

4:30-4:45: Coffee Break

4:45-6:00: Alyssa Gabbay (Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro), “Invoking Fatima: Female Kinship and Legitimation in Pre-Modern Iran and Central Asia”


Day 2: Friday, 1 June 2018

Session 3: Chair, Linda Dohmen, Univ. Bonn

10:00 – 10:45: Karen Dempsey (Univ. of Reading), “Gundrada and Isabel: a feminist perspective of castle-studies”

10:45 – 12:00: Elizabeth L’Estrange (Univ. of Birmingham), “Kinship, Images, Texts: Networks of Women and their Books at the French court c. 1500”

12:00-1:30: Lunch Break

Session 4: Chair, Rebecca Hardie, Univ. Göttingen

1:30-2:45: Margaux Herman (CFEE-Addis Ababa/ IMAF-Paris), “Queens and Princesses and Marriages in Ethiopia (16th c.) or How to Contract the Best Alliances to Reach Power”

2:45-4:00: Christopher Baswell (Barnard College/Columbia Univ.), “Disability Networks and Female Power in the Campsey Manuscript Saints’ Lives”

4:00-4:30: Coffee and Wrap Up (Emma Bérat, Univ. Bonn)

Kinships image

London, British Library, Royal 14 B IV, f. 6r. Royal Genealogical Roll, England c.1300-1340.