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Women and Power in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Southeast and Central Europe (1300-1600)


Women and Power in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Southeast and Central Europe (1300-1600) 

Edited by Melina Rokai (University of Belgrade)


This volume aims to bring to the fore the understanding of the relationship between women of the Southeast and Central Europe and power, not only in its restrictive meaning as a public authority, with the focus on women’s incapacity and insignificance, but in the extensive connotation that respects the distinction between authority and power. This is even more important in light of the public/private sphere dichotomy and the decreasing public influence of noblewomen due to the expanding power of the state, rise in formal education, and ecclesiastical reforms noted predominantly in the western parts of Catholic Europe after the twelfth century. The volume aspires to add to the research of women in the broader region of Southeast and Central while taking into consideration dynamic interactions with neighbouring areas in the period between the 1300 and 1600s, which is known for various transformations and profound changes in all aspects of life. The existence of a continuous and constant manner in which the intersection of women and power has been researched in the context of Western Europe and the Mediterranean throughout medieval and early modern periods for several decades makes it even more significant to give justice to the theme in central and even more so southeast European setting.

The volume intends to investigate different ways that women of Southeast and Central Europe exercised and negotiated the power they held within or outside of the sphere of authority in late medieval and early modern times. Whilst the nature of the subject encompasses unsurprisingly women of the highest social order, contributions on women of all strata are welcome.


Papers related, but not restricted, to the following topics are welcome:

- political & diplomatic activities – as consorts, dowagers, and mothers of the rulers, and to a smaller extent queens regnant;

- negotiation of power by aristocratic women and local noblewomen in the experience of

centralization and decentralization over the period;

- intersection of women and power in the urban settlements and by those of different ethnic or

religious groups;

- implementing power by women in religious establishments;

- displaying power through piety and religious patronage by lay women;

- exercising power through challenging legal issues, taking on litigation processes, and vigorously pursuing their claims;

- engaging in estate administration independently in their own name or that of their offspring;

- building castles, defending their lands, and partaking in military activities;

- exerting and expressing power through the use of material culture, images, and designed space;

- demonstration of power and /or authority through the employment of heraldry, monetary issuing, production of charters, etc

- literary endeavours;

- the image of power wielded by women of the region under consideration either as their own interpretation and presentation of the perception of their power (propaganda), or the construction of its perception created by their critical contemporaries (chronicles, hagiographies, etc.) and finally as viewed by the posterity (historians, by literary artists, and even by modern scholars).


Manuscripts must not have been published, submitted for publication, or available on the internet elsewhere. Interdisciplinary work is particularly welcome. Please submit your proposal, including the title of your manuscript, an abstract (between 300 and 500 words), and an author’s biography (up to 100 words) to the editor. The abstract should include the research question and purpose, the approach and main ideas, and the results. No figures, tables, footnotes, or endnotes should be included in the abstract. Articles should not exceed 8,000 words in length including footnotes and references (reference list or bibliography). Please keep in mind that publishing picture material requires written permission to be obtained by the publication date. Since this may delay the publication process, the contributors are kindly asked to be in possession of the written permissions at the time of sending the final chapters for peer review.

All submissions should be sent to the Editor: Dr. Melina Rokai (University of Belgrade) at:


July 15: Submission of the proposals to editor

August 1: Notification of acceptance of proposals

October 31, 2024: Receipt of final chapters for peer review

January 15, 2025: Revised chapters resubmitted


This volume will be published by Trivent Medieval in the book series “History and Archaeology of South-Eastern Europe”, eds. Suzana Simon and Ljubica Perinić (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb) 

Download the Call for Papers HERE.

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