April 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

History’s Shadis Receives Fulbright for Research in Portugal

Dr. Miriam Shadis

Dr. Miriam Shadis

Dr. Miriam Shadis, Associate Professor of History at Ohio University, recently received a Fulbright Scholar Award to conduct research in Portugal.

The Fulbright Scholars Program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department.

Shadis plans to make use of the fellowship during her 2016-17 leave. She received the fellowship to facilitate research for her current book project, “Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Saints: Gender and State Formation in Early Portugal (1100-1250).” In this project, Shadis explores how the country of Portugal came to be, and specifically, the role of women in that development from about 1100 to the middle of the 13th century. She moves beyond simply narrating Portugal’s origins to analyzing the meaning of queenship and its role in forming the medieval monarchical state.

According to Shadis, queens historically and comparatively had potential importance not just as mothers but as counselors, patrons, great land lords, intercessors, and rulers in their own right. This was true especially in Iberia, where the law demanded partible inheritance, allowing women to sometimes inherit the throne. Early Portugal emerged from the marriage endowment of the natural daughter of Alfonso VI of León, Teresa (d. 1130): seizing authority as a queen, she set a pattern for future rulers who included their daughters as well as their wives in family rule. Shadis’ research embraces both the categories of the hereditary queen and the king’s wife, but it takes into account the specific roles royal daughters played in governing the new realm. Her project integrates traditional political history, religious studies, legal history and art history, using the theoretical perspectives of women’s and gender history.

In addition to the Fulbright award, Shadis recently received an Ohio University Baker Fund Award. Both grants reflect Shadis’ long-standing commitment to rigorous and original scholarship. She is the author of Berenguela of Castile (1180-1246) and Her Family: Political Women in the High Middle Ages (Palgrave MacMillan, 2009). She is also the author of several articles on medieval queens of France and Iberia, most recently “‘Received as A Woman”: Rethinking the Concubinage of Aurembiaix of Urgell,'” which was published in the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies.

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