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Hanawalt, B.A.

Hanawalt, B.A.

Barbara Hanawalt, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, in 1941. Ph.D. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. King George III Professor of British History at Ohio State University, Columbus.

Fellow (1 September 2005 – 30 June 2006)


Late medieval London has been the focus of my research for the last eighteen years. The first book was Growing Up in London: The Experience of Childhood in History (1993). In a collection of essays ‘Of Good and Ill Repute’: Gender and Social Control in Medieval England (1999) I began to work on London women and the more general issues of London civic ceremonial and dispute resolution. I have been working since then on a book on women’s contribution to London’s late medieval economy. I arrived at NIAS with a completed draft of a book, tentatively titled Medieval London Women and Economic Growth, and completed revisions. Most studies of women’s economic contribution have focused on their work, wages, and participation in business. While my book deals with those topics, I conclude that the major impact that London women had on capital growth was the wealth that passed through them in terms of inheritance, dowry, dower, and wardship of their minor children. Women took this wealth into initial marriages and into subsequent marriages. My final study of London, which I also worked on over the year, is informal dispute settlement. London’s elaborate civic rituals for the election of officials and the installation of them reinforced their power and dignity. London consciously cultivated a well-regulated judicial system, but the court system would not have worked had the authorities failed to established defined boundaries of correct behavior. London’s elite learned that the city could lose its royal charter and thus its liberties, by allowing factional strife and even individual complaints to move beyond their jurisdiction into royal courts and the notice of the king. With this fear in mind, they managed to control citizens who took their disputes outside the city by removing their citizenship. The city fostered a value system that encouraged dispute peaceful settlement. Guilds, as they developed in the mid-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, also insisted on oaths of concord among members. An ideal of arbitration and mediation of disputes became part of the civic culture.