Appel à contribution – Female Regency and Other Figures of Representation (5th to 15th Centuries)

Ort : Konstanz
Veranstalter : Prof. Dr. Gabriela Signori (Konstanz), Prof. Dr. Claudia Zey (Zürich)
Datum : 24.09.2020 – 26.09.2020
Bewerbungsschluss : 01.07.2019

Kontakt : Gabriela Signori
Universität Konstanz, Lehrstuhl für Mittelalterliche Geschichte
Postfach 2, D-78457 Konstanz

The medieval world knows an astonishing variety of legal figures through which women could represent their husbands, either formalised or qua common law, and irrespective of their social status, ranging from guardianship to regency and other forms of empowerment. Among this different legal figures two basic types may be distinguished: Figures of representation during a temporary absence of the husbands on the one hand and, on the other, figures of representation in which the women act in the stead of their late husbands until their common children or designated successors have reached their majority.

The regency is a political instrument which is not restricted to women, but in practice occupied foremost by women; guardianship is an instrument of private law, primarily conceived to protect the interests of underage children whereas mandate and empowerment are used as instruments of economic interest representation. In practice, the transition from one “instrument” to another is smooth and the areas politics, law, and economy cannot be distinguished sharply.

Regency contains two temporal dimensions, the temporary absence of the husband in vivo as well as his representation post mortem until the common child or designated successor attain full age (qua custom or law). As with guardianship, regency is primarily meant to protect the interests of the offspring. To what extent regency concerns “dynastic” interests, has to be settled for the early period. Unlike guardianship the instrument of regency goes far beyond the private sphere as it includes, like the empowerment, authority over decision making.

These different figures of representation are indispensable political, economic, and social instruments of interest protection, but temporarily limited; in this sense, they could be labelled ‘bridging institutions’ building upon the idea that women as spouses and mothers are more suited than any other relative to protect the interests of their husbands and their children.

In general, these different figures of representation are scholarly treated as separate institutions, and not all meet the same scientific interest; a circumstance that complicates their understanding substantially. Comparatively broad investigations have been carried out in Anglo-American research on the institute of guardianship; few studies, in contrast, exist on the institution of testamentary executors, and even less on empowerments issued in the name of women. Despite the pan-European relevance of regency, the lack of studies focusing on systematic issues surprises, too; particular studies about selected, almost always queen regents prevail and give the impression of regency being an exception rather than a permanent institution. However, it was employed everywhere where lordship was hereditary and not eligible.

On these figures of representation, the conference will focus by drawing special attention to the European borders. The conference is internationally orientated in order to take the diverging national research traditions into account.

Proposals must be sent to Gabriela Signori ( and Claudia Zey ( by 1 July 2019. Please submit a title proposal, an abstract of 2,500 characters (in German or English) and a short bio-bibliographical note. The working languages of the conference are German and English.

Source : H-Soz-Kult

A propos RMBLF

Réseau des médiévistes belges de langue française
Cet article a été publié dans Appel à contributions. Ajoutez ce permalien à vos favoris.