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Using archival evidence, this presentation challenges the master narrative of the history of sexual violence in the Middle Ages by looking at the case of Lancastrian-occupied Normandy. This time period provides a wealth of information about how sexual violence was presented and prosecuted in both ecclesiastical and secular courts. Typical narratives frame the history of sexual violence around three points; that rape was infrequently prosecuted or penalized lightly because the courts did not see it as a serious transgression, that rape was underreported, and that only women of high status could get justice in a court. The extraordinary case of Corvière v. Le Mire challenges these long-held assumptions. While Jeanne Corvière did get justice from the legal system, her ten-year legal fight illuminates the intricacies and multiple jurisdictions of fifteenth-century Normandy.

Jennifer D. Thibodeaux is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (USA). She is the author of two books and several articles on the subject of gender and masculinity in medieval Normandy. 

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.