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Special Issue "Separated and Divorced Wives in the Early Modern World"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778). This special issue belongs to the section "Family History".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2022) | Viewed by 3032

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Amy M. Froide
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
History Department, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
Interests: British, social, economic, early modern, family, women’s, and gender history

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scholarship on the marital status of early modern women has proliferated over the last two decades. We now know much more about the experiences of single, married, and widowed women in the past and how marital status affected women’s social, economic, legal, and cultural identities. We know much less, however, about separated and divorced wives in the early modern period. In that era, divorce was frowned upon and also not available to women in many countries and under various religions and cultures. Thus, women whose marriages were irrevocably broken chose or were forced to live separately from their spouses without possibility of remarriage. Some separations were temporary and for economic reasons, others were long-term but informal decisions by either spouse to leave their marriage, and a third type were legally sanctioned and formal. Separation and divorce have so far been studied primarily within the context of single legal systems, nations, or cultures. Due to the existence of legal sources, we know the most about the process of legal separation rather than how women and men and their families experienced living separately.

This Special Issue seeks to focus on the separated or divorced wife and her experience of marital separation. What were the effects of marital separation (and divorce) on women and their families, including their children? What was a separated woman’s cultural and legal status? What were the economic effects of separation on women? Where did separated wives fit in a family lineage and in terms of inheritance? Answering such questions will be enriched by a comparative focus. How did Christian, Jewish, and Muslim women experience separation and divorce? Did separated women’s lives share similarities across region, culture, and religion, or were there distinct differences, with some societies treating separated wives and divorced women as social pariahs while others were more welcoming or tolerant of them? This Special Issue will hopefully begin to bring attention to a neglected group of early modern women and suggest ways that they can be studied comparatively.

Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to the following:

  • Legal separation;
  • Informal separation;
  • Cultural and religious norms for separated and divorced wives;
  • Spousal abandonment;
  • Marriage and migration;
  • Women’s experiences of marital separation;
  • Separation and divorce’s effects on family business;
  • Separation and divorce’s effects on the family and household;
  • Children of separated or divorced parents;
  • Separation and divorce’s effects on inheritance and family lineage;
  • Refuges or institutions for separated wives.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editor, Dr. Amy Froide ([email protected]) or to the Genealogy editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editor for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Timeframe:

Abstract submission deadline: 30 July 2021

Notification of abstract acceptance: 30 August 2021

Full manuscript deadline: 15 January 2022

Authors submitting to this special issue will not be charged any Article Processing Charges (APCs).

Dr. Amy Froide
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • women
  • gender
  • marital status
  • separation
  • divorce
  • early modern
  • history

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Divided Loyalties: Negotiating Marital Separation in the Cavendish-Talbot Family c.1575–90
Genealogy 2022, 6(4), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6040087 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Bringing together two areas of scholarship on family history—separation and blended families—this article adds a new perspective to our understanding of how kin networks in early modern England were maintained, and on the factors that influenced the ongoing processes of negotiating them. The [...] Read more.
Bringing together two areas of scholarship on family history—separation and blended families—this article adds a new perspective to our understanding of how kin networks in early modern England were maintained, and on the factors that influenced the ongoing processes of negotiating them. The extensive correspondence of Bess of Hardwick and her children and step-children enables an investigation into what happened when a couple at the centre of a blended family network separated. Despite their unique political circumstances, the Cavendish-Talbot family offer a useful case study to understand some of the factors shaping the lives of separated wives in early modern England. For elite families the success of the house and dynasty could be jeopardized by the breakdown of a marriage, and never more so than if the family was a blended one. While Bess’s relationships with and support for her children caused problems with her husband, their invaluable support indicates further strategies that were available to separated wives. Bess’s children advocated for her at court, supported her in legal suits and actively negotiated between their parents. The Cavendish-Talbot family relationships were complex and loyalties did not necessarily follow expected patterns. However, in their complexity, and through the large number of letters surviving between the family, they offer a unique opportunity to consider the role of family members for separated wives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Separated and Divorced Wives in the Early Modern World)
Article
Involuntary Separations: Catholic Wives, Imprisoned Husbands, and State Authority
Genealogy 2022, 6(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6040079 - 26 Sep 2022
Viewed by 500
Abstract
In the 1580s and 1590s, the English state required that all subjects of the crown attend the Protestant state church. Those who refused (called recusants) faced imprisonment as part of the government’s attempt to bring them into religious conformity. Those imprisonments forced involuntary [...] Read more.
In the 1580s and 1590s, the English state required that all subjects of the crown attend the Protestant state church. Those who refused (called recusants) faced imprisonment as part of the government’s attempt to bring them into religious conformity. Those imprisonments forced involuntary marital separation onto Catholic couples, the result of which was to disrupt traditional gender roles within Catholic households. Separated wives increasingly fulfilled the work their husbands performed in addition to their own responsibilities as the matriarch of a landed estate. Gentlewomen were practiced at estate business since they worked in partnership with their husbands, but a spouse’s imprisonment often meant that wives wrote more petitions and settled more legal and financial matters than they did when their husbands were at liberty. The state also imprisoned Catholic wives who undermined the religious conformity of their families and communities. Spousal imprisonment deprived couples of conjugal rights and spousal support and emphasized the state’s power to interfere in marital relationships in early modern England. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Separated and Divorced Wives in the Early Modern World)
Article
“I Beg You Take Me from Here”: Spousal Abandonment and the Experience of Separation in Flight from Persecution
Genealogy 2022, 6(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6030076 - 13 Sep 2022
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Spousal separation and abandonment was prevalent through the medieval and early modern worlds. However, women experienced the traumatic and damaging consequences of these separations far more often than their male counterparts. These instances were only multiplied by the political and social upheaval caused [...] Read more.
Spousal separation and abandonment was prevalent through the medieval and early modern worlds. However, women experienced the traumatic and damaging consequences of these separations far more often than their male counterparts. These instances were only multiplied by the political and social upheaval caused by the Reformation. This article explores this experience for women in the early modern era using Olympia Morata, among others, as windows through which to explore the reasons women were frequently abandoned, the lived reality of experiencing this separation, and the complex religious dynamics of early modern mobility as they related to gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Separated and Divorced Wives in the Early Modern World)
Article
Complex Legal Lives: Separated Muslim Women’s Financial Rights in Russia (1750s–1820s)
Genealogy 2022, 6(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6030072 - 30 Aug 2022
Viewed by 632
Abstract
This article seeks to recover the financial rights of separated women living in the Muslim communities of Russia’s Volga-Ural region in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It argues that by the 1780s–1820s, separated Muslim women were guaranteed certain rights and powers over [...] Read more.
This article seeks to recover the financial rights of separated women living in the Muslim communities of Russia’s Volga-Ural region in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It argues that by the 1780s–1820s, separated Muslim women were guaranteed certain rights and powers over their marital finances and personal property. These rights emerged out of a complex plural legal landscape created by the Volga-Ural region’s complicated religious and political history in the late medieval and early modern periods. By the end of the eighteenth century, separated Muslim women could claim certain financial rights under both Islamic law and Russian civil law, but had to pursue different kinds of claims through different legal systems. The legal landscape and practices that evolved in relation to separated women’s rights during the early modern period became formalized and institutionalized in the nineteenth century and persisted until the collapse of the Russian empire. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Separated and Divorced Wives in the Early Modern World)
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