In the modern American humanities classroom (whether it is literature, political science, or history) faculty may find it difficult to construct a framework for the analysis of women’s pan-historical place in power and in medieval and early modern British history, literature, and popular culture. Faculty first confront the core questions (Why should American students care? How do I make this subject interesting to them?) but then immediately face practical but formidable pedagogical questions. Where do I find the textual evidence, historical research, and gynocritical material to create a full syllabus? How do I demonstrate the historicity of women’s power and its simultaneous circulation within the containment of patriarchal power? How do I move past medieval and Renaissance women’s inherent marginality in the surviving textual evidence and help my students make more complex understandings of the reach and limitations of queens and women who held power? What types of assignments might I create to help students investigate the nuances of female power in medieval and early modern life?
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