The history of the Hanseatic League is usually told from the perspective of men. However, there were just as many women as men living in the Hanseatic region during the Hanseatic period. They were mothers, wives, widows, sisters and daughters of Hanseatic merchants. It is worth asking what other roles they fulfilled: e.g. merchants, nuns, painters, craftswomen, saints, prostitutes, benefactresses, noblewomen, maids. The 6th international and interdisciplinary conference of the Network Art and Culture of the Hanseatic Cities is dedicated to gender-historical topics of the Hanseatic League in general under the keyword "Women of the Hanseatic League". The aim of this first conference on this complex of topics is to illuminate the diverse aspects and discuss the relevance for Hanseatic research.
The living conditions, economic, social and legal aspects of women in the Middle Ages and early modern times can be described with regard to the living environments of women in towns, in rural areas and in monasteries. With some women, more detailed information on their lives can be found, e.g. on Elisabeth and Margarete Veckinchusen, Birgitta of Sweden or the Jewish Hamburg merchant Glikl von Hameln (1646/47–1724). Not only individual biographies, but also biographies of groups (merchants' wives, widows, mayors' wives, daughters of Hanseatic merchants, etc.) as well as comparative studies provide new perspectives on Hanseatic history.
Although the focus will be on "women of the Hanseatic League", contributions on other gender-specific aspects are also welcome. Relationships between women and men, within female and male as well as mixed communities (e.g. brotherhoods), within families, religious and economic networks as well as all references to topics outside binary-normative gender constructions seem interesting. Aspects of the history of emotions, of education, knowledge and scholarship should also be considered.
Thinking about "women of the Hanseatic League" yields a large number of questions, of which only a few aspects are explicitly mentioned here:
- Biological aspects: Pregnancy, births and motherhood, dangers and high mortality, Maria lactans.
- Saints' lives: St. Barbara, St. Catherine, St. Magdalene as town patron saints
- Prostitution in Hanseatic cities, e.g. in connection with the Kontors (London, Bergen, Novgorod, Bruges)
- Freedoms and norms: protected spaces and seclusion, hortus conclusus and free spaces, nuns and widows, couples and commonality, beauty and blemish, models and role models
- Women as door openers: Integration of immigrants through marriage, acceptance into leading families and linkages, parts of networks, independent merchant women, master widows
- Women as artists and patrons, donors, musicians and muses
- Women and fashion: customers and producers, furs, fabrics, handicrafts
- Social and charitable commitment of women in Hanseatic cities: Beguines, mendicant orders, widows, brotherhoods
- Wise women: scribes, "herb women" and witches, doctors and scholars
- Female mobility: socially, geographically, travelling and pilgrim women
- Female lore: autobiographies, letters, nuns' networks
Please send your abstract (max. 500 words) for a presentation and a short CV by email to Kerstin Petermann and Anja Rasche (Netzwerk Kunst und Kultur der Hansestädte): email@example.com by May 31, 2022.
In addition to these presentations with a length of 30 minutes, applications for project presentations (on all topics of Hanseatic research) of 10–15 minutes are also welcome. For this, 2–3 sentences and some notes on your academic career are sufficient. We will endeavour to reimburse the travel and accommodation costs of the speakers.