Yvonne Seale is a historian of women and the social history of religion in the European Middle Ages. Her current research focuses on the involvement of women with the Premonstratensian religious order in twelfth- and thirteenth-century northern France. It explores the ways in which, amidst the religious reform movement which shook Europe during the High Middle Ages, women’s financial contributions, familial links, and spiritual vocations were fundamental to the cohesion of this new religious organization. She is presently at work on an edition of a thirteenth-century manuscript, the cartulary of Prémontré.

In August 2016, Yvonne joined the faculty of SUNY Geneseo in beautiful upstate New York, where she is an assistant professor of medieval history. She is a member of the interdisciplinary faculty cluster in Digital and Computational Analytics, which allows her to pursue her interest in digital humanities research and pedagogy. She serves as a Book Reviews Editor for the History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland Network, and is a member of the Executive Board of the New York State Association of European Historians.

Yvonne received a B.A. in History/Archaeology from Trinity College Dublin and an M.Litt. in Mediaeval History from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She earned her PhD in history from the University of Iowa.

Notre Dame de Paris was never the preferred cathedral of kings. French monarchs avoided it.Notre Dame was instead the cathedral of ordinary Parisians. Since the Middle Ages, it’s been the backdrop against which the city’s inhabitants have lived their live

As far as medieval Christians were concerned, the existing social hierarchy was divinely mandated. If God made you a lord living in a castle, your clothing should reflect that; the same applied if you were the wife of a wealthy town merchant or a leper.

The Council of Reims (1157) forbade religious women from wearing habits made of sumptuous fabrics—but 150 years later, the Council of Vienne (1311-12) felt the need to reiterate that nuns shouldn’t wear silk gowns, fur trims, sandals, elaborate hairstyles

George Washington: first President of the United States, father of his country, crosser of the Delaware, and descendant of Odin. This, at least, was the claim put forward by the late nineteenth-century genealogist Albert Welles.

In May 1756...Elizabeth Elstob left behind no family and few mourners, just some rooms full of ‘books and dirtiness’, as one visitor described them. Yet Elizabeth was a pioneer of medieval studies in England.

What happens if we take the medieval lady off her pedestal? What kind of woman do we see inhabiting the Middle Ages if we try to peel off the Victorian veneer of chivalry and politesse?


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