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Gender in the Early Medieval World
East and West, 300–900


Julia M. H. Smith, Walter Pohl, Mary Harlow, Shaun Tougher, Leslie Brubaker, Martha Vinson, Julia Bray, Nadia Maria El Cheikh, Bonnie Effros, Janet L. Nelson, Gisela Muschiol, Yitzhak Hen, Ian Wood, Mayke de Jong, Lynda Coon, Dawn Hadley
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  • Date Published: November 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521013277

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About the Authors
  • Gender analysis is one of the most probing ways to understand both power and cultural strategies in pre-industrial societies. In this book, sixteen scholars on the cutting edges of their disciplines explore the ideas and expressions of gender that characterised the centuries from c.300 to 900 in milieux ranging from York to Baghdad, via Rome and Constantinople. Deploying a variety of disciplines and perspectives, they draw on the evidence of material culture as well as texts to demonstrate the wide range of gender identities that informed the social, political and imaginary worlds of these centuries. The essays make clear that the fixed point in the gender systems of the period was constituted by the hegemonic masculinity of the ruling elite, marginalised groups often invisible as historical subjects in their own right were omnipresent in, and critical to, the gendered discourses which buttressed assertions of power.

    • Interdisciplinary appeal; challenges old orthodoxies and introduces new methodological approaches
    • Exceptionally wide scope of examination
    • Written by experts in the field in an accessible style
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a model of careful selection and coherence; very few article collections are so well integrated and balanced.' Alexandra Cuffel, Macalester College

    'Gender in the Early Medieval World brings together a collection of sixteen essays that place gender at the centre of discussions about politics, economics, religious practices, family and life rituals, in addition to more obvious gender questions about individual identity. This list shows the collection engages with a wide range of topics, but more than that, it indicates the editors' convincing view that gender is not just about sexual identity. This collection of essays convincingly shows that the field of gender studies is a fruitful one.' The German History Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521013277
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Julia M. H. Smith
    Part I. Gender in Late antique, Byzantine and Islamic Societies:
    2. Gender and ethnicity in the early middle ages Walter Pohl
    3. Clothes maketh the man: power dressing and elite masculinity in the later roman world Mary Harlow
    4. Social transformation, gender transformation: the court eunuch, 300–900 Shaun Tougher
    5. Sex, lies and textuality: the secret history of Prokopios and the rhetoric of gender in sixth-century Byzantium Leslie Brubaker
    6. Romance and reality in the Byzantine brideshows Martha Vinson
    7. Men, women and slaves in Abbasid society Julia Bray
    8. Gender and politics in the harem of al-Muqtadir Nadia Maria El Cheikh
    Part II. Gender in Germanic Studies:
    9. Dressing conservatively: women's brooches as markers of ethnic identity? Bonnie Effros
    10. Gendering courts in the early medieval west Janet L. Nelson
    11. Men, women and liturgical practice in the early medieval west Gisela Muschiol
    12. Gender and the patronage of culture in Merovingian Gaul Yitzhak Hen
    13. Genealogy defined by women: the case of the Pippinids Ian Wood
    14. Brideshows revisited: praise, slander and exegesis in the reign of the Empress Judith Mayke de Jong
    15. 'What is the word if not semen?' Priestly bodies in Carolingian exegesis Lynda Coon
    16. Negotiating gender, family and status in Anglo-Saxon burial practices, c.600–950 Dawn Hadley

  • Editors

    Leslie Brubaker, University of Birmingham
    Leslie Brubaker is Reader in Byzantine Art History at the Centre for Byzantine Studies and Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity in the University of Birmingham. Her many publications on Byzantine culture include Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium (Cambridge, 1999) and Byzantium in the Iconoclast Era: The Sources (2001).

    Julia M. H. Smith, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Julia M. H. Smith is Reader in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews. She has published extensively on early medieval history and her books include Province and Empire: Brittany and the Carolingians (Cambridge, 1992) and EARLY Medieval Rome and the Christian West (editor, 2000).


    Julia M. H. Smith, Walter Pohl, Mary Harlow, Shaun Tougher, Leslie Brubaker, Martha Vinson, Julia Bray, Nadia Maria El Cheikh, Bonnie Effros, Janet L. Nelson, Gisela Muschiol, Yitzhak Hen, Ian Wood, Mayke de Jong, Lynda Coon, Dawn Hadley

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