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Iberian Royal Women as Political and Cultural Mediators
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When: Thursday, October 25, 2018
Where: United States

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October, 25th 2018

Instituto Cervantes Lisboa CHAM Humanities Centre - FCSH/NOVA-UAc (Lisboa, Portugal)

Scientific Comittee: As Artes e a Expansão Portuguesa/ Linha de História das Mulheres e do Género Alice Santiago Faria María Barreto Davila Mercedes Llorente

Starting from the strategic collective project “Frontiers” of CHAM, we wish to gather together a group of historians and art historians in a project in order to debate, analyse and discuss the limits of the diplomacy of royal women of the Iberian Peninsular and their different forms of cultural mediation in the XVI and XVII centuries. We will focus this first encounter on aspects related to the mediation of the women and the signing of peace treaties; the mediation of the women and the arrangement of marriage contracts for children and relatives which brought them prestige and how through these they extended their networks, influence and power; devotion is another of the central themes which we wish to address as the deepest part of the identity of these women which created new alliances and support networks through “matronage” as a way of supporting the devotions closest to their sensitivity or the aim they wished to achieve; and finally we would address those cases in which they were sent as mediators. The women of royalty, even those belonging to the same dynasty, had personal and factional interests over and above supposed state interests. The power of a queen could be formal or informal, and could be exercised politically, socially or culturally. Formal power was normally only generated when they held a regency, usually when the heir was not of age, or the ruler was away in other dynastic territories or on a campaign, or was ill. Informal power was exercised through a series of variables: the queen’s own personality or ambition, her dynastic capital, her social skills, her piety, her cultural skills and the possibility of whether or not an arranged marriage became a personal bond. These variables in turn could only facilitate power if the court and the state structures in which they resided, together with their financial means, gave them suitable opportunities, and they had the drive and the ability to make use of them. What we wish to analyse is mediation as a way in which royal women work for their family and at the same time for themselves, as experts in several realities.

Possible subjects include, but are not limited to cultural material: • Political mediation, peace mediation • Religion and office, devotional transferences, family transferences • Mediation of marriage policies • Mediation of royal women in cultural matters

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