Medievalist — one who studies the culture and history of the Middle Ages.
FEMINA, the latest book from Janina Ramirez an Oxford and BBC historian, introduces us to the women that have been written out of history and more specifically those who lived during the Middle Ages. We’re first introduced to the term ‘medievalist’ in the introduction of the book, where we meet Emily Wilding Davison, a suffragette who was struck down after she ran onto the field at the Epsom Derby in 1913. While she was remembered for her activism in the suffrage movement, and twenty thousand people attended her funeral, it’s rarely mentioned that she was a medievalist.
Throughout the book, we are introduced to women who have been written out of history, with the word Femina written beside their names. From the ‘movers and shakers’ and ‘spies and outlaws’ to the ‘exceptional and outcast’ Ramirez sheds new light on the women who shaped history.
I highly recommend checking out the NPR interview featuring Ramirez and fellow authors, A’lelia Bundles and Allison Gilbert titled ‘The Writer’s Room: Preserving Women’s Histories’.
— About the Book —
A groundbreaking reappraisal of medieval femininity, revealing why women have been written out of history and why it matters.
The Middle Ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings; a patriarchal society that oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the “Dark” Ages were anything but.
Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women’s names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burned, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated.
Only now, through a careful examination of the artifacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women, such as: Jadwiga, the only female king in Europe, Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety, and Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England.
When did Women’s History Month Begin?