Session Title

Women and Authority: Truth and Testimony in Late Medieval English Courts

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Jennifer McNabb

Organizer Affiliation

Western Illinois Univ.

Presider Name

Karl Shoemaker

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Paper Title 1

Witness Testimony and the Ecclesiastical and Municipal Regulation of Midwifery in the Late Middle Ages

Presenter 1 Name

Ginger L. Smoak

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Utah

Paper Title 2

"That Right May Take Place": Female Witnesses and Their Stories in Late Medieval English Church Courts

Presenter 2 Name

Jennifer McNabb

Paper Title 3

Marking the Woman a Sinner: Testimony and Legal Fiction in Renaissance England

Presenter 3 Name

Lesley Skousen

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Start Date

9-5-2013 10:00 AM

Session Location

Valley III 303

Description

England during the late medieval period was home to a vast network of civil and religious courts that both disciplined those who violated the peace and stability of the social and political order and acted as a forum for the settlement of personal disputes over issues involving marriage, public insult, property, theft, and violence. Papers in this session would take as their focus notions of "truth" and "testimony" as historical and historicized categories; while on the surface, the concepts seem to be objective and abstract, truth, as recounted before and constructed within late medieval courts, was subjective and subject to modification, manipulation, and transformation, both by those who gave testimony and those who heard it. Medieval evidence indicates the ways in which female litigants and witnesses presented both a challenge to and a reinforcement of structures of authority. Their words and actions served to destabilize ideas about evidence and authority.

-Jennifer McNabb

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May 9th, 10:00 AM

Women and Authority: Truth and Testimony in Late Medieval English Courts

Valley III 303

England during the late medieval period was home to a vast network of civil and religious courts that both disciplined those who violated the peace and stability of the social and political order and acted as a forum for the settlement of personal disputes over issues involving marriage, public insult, property, theft, and violence. Papers in this session would take as their focus notions of "truth" and "testimony" as historical and historicized categories; while on the surface, the concepts seem to be objective and abstract, truth, as recounted before and constructed within late medieval courts, was subjective and subject to modification, manipulation, and transformation, both by those who gave testimony and those who heard it. Medieval evidence indicates the ways in which female litigants and witnesses presented both a challenge to and a reinforcement of structures of authority. Their words and actions served to destabilize ideas about evidence and authority.

-Jennifer McNabb