Medieval Women, Material Culture, and Power
Medieval Women, Material Culture, and Power
Matilda Plantagenet and her Sisters
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Table of Contents
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Introduction: Material Culture and Performance of Power
Chapter 1: Staging the Bride and her Treasure
Chapter 2: Small Items Making Big Impressions
Chapter 3: Devotion and Dynasty on Parchment
Chapter 4: Trappings Vested with Power
Chapter 5, Epilogue: Materializing Power and its Afterlife
Selected Bibliography

Reviews and Features

"In this impressively researched and well-written monograph, Jitske Jasperse shows once again how scholars can investigate people who have left relatively little trace in the written sources by studying the objects associated with them. [...] This is a book that accomplishes its ambitions remarkably well. One of Jasperse’s strengths is an ability to take fairly complex concepts and then explain and apply them clearly. [...] Its relatively short length, clarity, and comparative framework would make it an ideal supplement in medieval history, art history, and women’s studies courses. Its argument is straightforward enough for undergraduate use and would also lead to thought-provoking discussions in graduate courses."
- Lois L. Huneycutt, Royal Studies Journal (RSJ), 8, no. 2 (2021)

"Die überaus anregenden Thesen zu Mathilde, die Handlungsoptionen für Frauen aufzeigen, die bisher kaum beachtet worden sind, werden mit Beobachtungen zu ihren Schwestern Johanna und Eleonore unterfüttert, so dass dies keinesfalls eine Einzeluntersuchung ist, sondern die Bedeutung des Themas für die europäische Geschichte deutlich wird. Hier liegt eine gelungene, leicht lesbare und innovative Arbeit vor, und die Rezensentin kann nur dazu raten, das anregende Büchlein zu „erstehen“ (auch wenn das elektronische Format für den einen oder die andere ungewohnt sein dürfte)."
- Alheydis Plassmann, Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter, 85 (2021)

"Medieval Women, Material Culture, and Power contributes tremendously to the field of medieval art history and the history of influential European women. Although the written records for women’s role in power circulation is limited, Jasperse finds and gives voice to the language of status objects and their role in women’s power. This groundbreaking work opens multiple avenues for research on other women and other objects and reaffirms that written silence is articulately rebutted in the study of material culture of women."
- Meredith Clermont-Ferrand, Early Modern Women, Vol. 17, No. 1

Jitske Jasperse

Medieval Women, Material Culture, and Power

Matilda Plantagenet and her Sisters

This book argues that the impressive range of belongings that can be connected to Matilda Plantagenet, duchess of Saxony--textiles, illuminated manuscripts, coins, chronicles, charters, and literary texts--and her sisters allows us to perceive elite women's performance of power, even when they are largely absent from the official documentary account. The material traces connected to Matilda and some of her contemporaries show the importance of women as makers of material culture, as well as the dual agency of women and their objects in the consolidation of their very real, if all but unwritten, power. It is especially through the visual record of material culture that we can hear female voices, showing that women were capable of impacting their own lives as well as that of others, even if charters and chronicles fail to mention so. This forces us to redefine assumptions about power for sparsely-documented noblewomen.

Jitske Jasperse

Jitske Jasperse is Assistant Professor of Medieval Visual Cultures in the Department of Art and Visual History at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.