Women, Slavery, and Community on the Island of Mallorca, 1360-1390

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Women, Slavery, and Community on the Island of Mallorca, 1360-1390

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In Women, Slavery, and Community on the Island of Mallorca, ca. 1360-1390, I contend that Mallorcan women, through their participation in the slavery business, extended their reach beyond that of the traditional women's sphere and contributed to the social and commercial structure of the medieval City. Using notarial protocols in the Mallorcan state and capitular archives, I trace how women and slaves affected the nature of literal spaces like public ovens, city streets, and domestic quarters, and impacted the worlds of finance, commercial transactions, and personal interactions. I argue that the social and economic facility of Mallorcan women, while possibly heightened by the epidemiological and anthropomorphic crises of the late fourteenth century, was not an anomaly, but represented a practical way of assessing and living with the possible. My research contributes to three distinct, but interrelated fields of inquiry. First, it contributes to the historiography of medieval slavery by moving beyond the commonly studied enslaved women to study women slaveholders. Secondly, by focusing on an understudied segment of social relation it contributes to a more nuanced portrait of a medieval urban environment. Lastly, my research fills a void in scholarship concerning medieval Mallorcan women, about who almost nothing has been written.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.December 2013. Major: History. Advisors: Ruth Mazo Karras, Kathryn Reyerson. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 304 pages.

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