PSA: I’ve got a Gal in Kalamazoo!

Well, no, not really, but I’m excited to let you know about this opportunity from the Royal Studies Network.  A call for papers for the first panel session described, and I am taking all this verbiage directly from the email newsletter from the Royal Studies Network.

Kalamazoo 2015-DEADLINE: September 1, 2014
 
The Royal Studies Network (RSN) seeks papers and participants to complete the first of two sessions it will sponsor to be presented at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, May 14-17, 2015We include details of both sessions to communicate the full scope of our congress project.
 
Session One, A Panel Discussion: Debatable Queens: (Re) assessing Medieval Stateswomanship, Power and Authority, and
 
Session Two, A Roundtable: Debatable Rule: (Re) assessing Medieval Statecraft, Power and Authority –  towards a unified gendered approach (This session is fully allocated)
 
While recognizing the terms ‘kingship’ and ‘statesmanship’, spell-check tools in computer programs do not acknowledge the terms ‘queenship’ or ‘stateswomanship’. While this is a trivial observation in the larger scheme of things it does provide a neat stepping off point for the sessions Royal Studies Network proposes for the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies. 
 
The panel discussion will seek to unpick and challenge some of the long-held myths and archetypes regarding medieval rulership; (re)assessing individual queens (and their kings) whose political careers and lives have been understood simplistically to be successes or failures. The Network has consciously suppressed geographical boundaries in a continuing endeavour to open its activities to a wider ‘global’ perspective.
 
The roundtable is designed both to pull together the themes and ideas raised during the panel discussion AND challenge the traditional tendency to research and study queens and kings in isolation. Thanks to the lucid reflections of Theresa Earenfight (and most recent scholarship in the field), rulership by queens and kings is no longer being examined in episodic ‘vanilla liberal’ isolation. Instead, effective rulership and statecraft are being brought into the light as a product of complementary partnerships and particular contexts: wives and husbands, mothers and sons; elder sisters and younger brothers; and respected advisors and monarchs of both sexes. Rulership (whether queenship or kingship) is a gendered institution, one not uniformly based upon biological sex. Instead it is founded upon nuanced psycho-social ideas of gender; ‘male’ or ‘female’ according to social and cultural distinctions and differences. The most successful political partnerships of the long Middle Ages demonstrate a clear understanding that authority and power were precision tools of statecraft, and they wielded them to great purpose and effect. It is anticipated that the two complementary sessions sponsored by the Royal Studies Network for ICM 2015 will provoke fecund ideas, lively discussion and informed debate.
 
We invite you to submit an abstract for the panel discussion, and the completed Congress Participant Information Form (PIF)
(http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF) no later than September 1, 2014to both co-organizers, Ellie Woodacre and Zita Rohr: Ellie.Woodacre@winchester.ac.ukzita.rohr@sydney.edu.au
 
I’m debating right now on what/if I want to put together to submit… I’m really excited for another opportunity to even attend and hopefully bump into a number of the amazing scholars I met at Kings and Queens 3!  :)

“And I Will Make Them One Nation.”

This BBC programme, all about how the Stewarts led the century that set up England, Scotland and Ireland to become Great Britain, is a highly watchable and accessible piece of work by Dr. Clare Jackson, of Cambridge University.

Mary Queen of Scots (Mary, Queen of Scots as a young girl)

“The Stuarts” BBC Programme Link

 

In it, she starts of telling the story of James VI and his impeccable lineage, descended from not only the Scottish Stewarts, but also the Danish royal family (Through Margaret of Denmark),  and, more importantly, the English royal family (through his paternal great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor).  He had apparently always felt that he would unite the crowns and kingdoms of England and Scotland under one man, himself.  Dr. Jackson then takes us through his efforts to legally unite the two nations, but for James, to no avail.

Margaret Tudor   (Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York)

What was curious for me, and I was glad to see it, was that she had also paid attention to Henry Frederick, James’ eldest son and Prince of Wales.  In many texts, his life tends to be glossed over a bit as it wasn’t he, but his younger brother Charles, who succeeded their father as King.  This was due to a premature death at the age of 18.  From there, Dr. Jackson goes into the story of Charles as Prince of Wales and his incredible journey to Spain.  She supposes that much of his style of kingship was influenced by his time there as a guest of King Philip IV.   His love of pageantry and his insistence on ceremony may also have been influenced by Philip’s court.

Elizabeth Stuart (Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, daughter of Anna of Denmark and James I)

She concludes the episode after explaining how Charles came to be king, married a French princess, the Catholic Henrietta Maria, and the struggles he faced over religion with Scotland.

Henrietta Maria (Henrietta Maria, queen consort to Charles I)

All in all, this episode is a fabulous bit of history and it was quite enjoyable to watch!  The only thing that was frustrating to me, really was the lack of Queen Anna.  Her name was mentioned exactly once.  That was in reference to the death of Henry.  Was Anna’s influence as queen consort not felt more than just the death of her son?  Wasn’t she a partner in the creation of the legacy of the Stuart dynasty?  She spent 14 years in Scotland with James before they took England by storm in 1603. She then spent 16 years as Queen of England before her death in 1619.  It seems as though she was shunted to the side, ignored.  Henrietta Maria got her portrait on the screen and the mention about how she was Catholic.  There is evidence to support a supposition that Anna converted to Catholicism, so wouldn’t that conflict between her and her strongly Protestant husband make for an interesting bit of monologue?

 

What seems to be forgotten, at least so far, is the story of the women of the Stewart/Stuart dynasty.  Brief mention of Mary, Queen of Scots, Margaret Tudor, Elizabeth Stuart, Henrietta Maria, and even less for Anna.  Perhaps this will be discussed in the future two episodes set to air?  If not, then I hope there will be material on the programme’s website dedicated to these women.  (Anna’s not even mentioned in the “The early Stuarts: marriage is power” page!)  I think that focusing on the monarchs makes for good TV, but including the consorts and daughters makes for good history.