EvEn (Conflict and Collaboration: Everyday Encounters between Women and Clergymen in Pre-Modern Europe) is a research blog dedicated to the study of the various forms and expressions of the relations between clergymen (secular priests, friars, bishops, and local clergy as well as the higher levels of the ecclesiastical hierarchy) and women (noblewomen, nuns, and laywomen) from every social stratum, from the Middle Ages until the end of the Early Modern period. The formal structures of the Church sometimes initiated these encounters, but encounters also occurred in the context of everyday activities and illicit relationships.
This blog explores the diverse moments of encounter and exchange, both conflictual and collaborative, to understand the dynamics, continuities and ruptures of these encounters in connection with their immediate contexts and the broader movements taking place in the Church and in Europe during the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. This research on the points of contact between people reveals individuals who were connected to each other in multiple ways, forming networks that extended beyond the barriers of the ecclesiastical and secular worlds or of the male and female worlds.
Even has five main objectives:
1) To analyze a variety of case studies in which it is possible to reconstruct one or more interactions between women and clergymen;
2) To explore the various networks that these cases reveal and to investigate the potential information that circulated through these networks;
3) To compare the various case studies individually presented by each collaborator in order to analyze the encounters between women and clergymen in the long term and over an international territory;
4) To create digital tools to connect individual studies/research to the broader world of Digital Humanities; and
5) To promote the collaborative research and the creation of networks between emerging scholars across the world.
The blog contains:
1) Cases and people: single cases found during archival research, accompanied with some initial hypotheses and interpretations, as well as biographies of the individuals involved.
2) Archival material: freshly transcribed samples of archival material.
3) Project: a page for the individual projects of each contributor.
4) Map: a collective map locating protagonists and showing networks and their evolution over time.
5) Editorial: plural-hand articles to analyze the broader historical to which protagonists of encounters and networks are connected.
EvEn is, therefore, a collective blog that discusses and maps the encounters and relations between women and clergymen, focusing on agency, strategies of action, conflicts, friendships, networks, and the sharing of information. Even, as an adjective, means both something recurrent or continuous: just as this topic need to be explored deeply and with a different perspective than previous historiography, as an historical phenomenon spanning the whole history of Christianity. Even also refers to the state of being equal or balanced: to this end, the project attempts to “even out” our understanding of relations and encounters between individuals traditionally considered to be regulated by a relation of power – the clergyman having authority over women – by placing the aspirations, objectives, and strategies of women at the centre of the investigation. Finally, EvEn presents a space to develop even more about the history of women, and the religious and cultural history of Medieval and Early Modern Europe.