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Introduction

Bronach Kane
Affiliation:
Bath Spa University
Fiona Williamson
Affiliation:
National University of Malaysia
Bronach Kane
Affiliation:
Bath Spa University
Fiona Williamson
Affiliation:
National University of Malaysia
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Summary

The field of women and the law in later medieval England and Wales has witnessed a number of significant historiographical advances in the past two decades, many of which build on arguments advanced by social historians of women and gender in the 1980s and 1990s. The essays in this volume are chiefly concerned with recent developments and consider the relationship between women and the law, seeking to identify continuities and changes in their legal encounters. Ultimately, this collection assesses the capacity of women to negotiate the legal systems of pre-modern England. As such, this study of women's agency aims to investigate avenues of female influence in legal cultures, focusing on the ability to interject in trial accounts, litigation or through legal and illegal acts. The contributors employ innovative methods in social and cultural history to draw new meanings from legal records that have traditional historiographical pasts. From gender history to feminist theory, and from the history of memory to landscape archaeology and the spatial turn, the collection generates novel ways of discussing women's agency and action in pre-modern settings.

The focus of this collection is influenced by a wider set of developments in historiography on later medieval and early modern social relations.

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Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

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