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Queens and Queenship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Drottningar och drottningskap i medeltida och tidigmoderna Europa

This syllabus is valid: 2020-03-23 and until further notice

Course code: 1HI075

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: History: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Established by: Head of Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, 2020-03-26


What was the role of the queen in medieval and early modern Europe? Past generations of historians focused on kings: male rulers and their achievements in politics and war. The role of queens was frequently overlooked. This course explores the lives, experiences and legacies of queens in medieval and early modern Europe within the wider context of gender, authority, politics, and power in monarchical regimes. The course also covers the whole range of queenly power: proprietary queens, consorts, regents, and dowagers. Although we focus on individual figures, the course aims to go well beyond the simple biography. The political role and activities of queens is explored within broad cultural, political, and international contexts. Through the lens of queenship, for instance, the course proposes to highlight the functioning of the institution of monarchy as well as to analyze the nature of European international politics during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Finally, the course also examines the role of queens in the creation and dissemination of culture.

Expected learning outcomes

After having completed the course the students will demonstrate:

Knowledge and understanding:
  •  A thorough knowledge of the system of monarchies and monarchial regimes in early modern Europe
  •  A thorough knowledge of the various positions and roles queens occupied in a monarchy and know the corresponding prerogatives and scope of influence
  •  A thorough knowledge of the political, religious, economic and cultural role and activities of a queen, queen consort, a queen regent and a queen dowager.
  • A thorough knowledge of how key concepts such as gender, authority, queenship, cultural transfer, and monarchial regimes, have been defined in this field and how these definitions have been disputed and applied in this field.
Skills and abilities:
  • An ability to explain and critique the historical schools of thought that have shaped scholarly understanding of the role of queens in history
  • An ability to identify different approaches to historiography and interpretation in the academic study of queens and queenship.
  • An ability to identify the multiple ways in which queens shaped European international politics and culture
  • An ability to study and dissect a range of primary source documents to shed light on the role and activities of a queen, the image and perception of her role, and the gendered institution of the monarchy.
  • An ability to recognize the mechanisms and power structures within which queens worked.
  • An ability to formulate these learning outcomes clearly in speech and writing.
  • An ability to deploy skills of critical analysis

Assessment and attitude:
  • An ability to independently formulate and analyze a scholarly problem in relation to the broader topic of the course.

Required Knowledge

90 ECTS courses in history, history of science and ideas, economic history, or a Bachelors degree (180 ECTS), or the equivalent. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A (IELTS (Academic) with a minimum overall score of 5.5 and no individual score below 5.0. TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) with a minimum total score of 530 and a minimum TWE score of 4. TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) with a minimum total score of 72 and a minimum score of 17 on the Writing Section). Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

Self-governed reading and analysis of the course literature, structured and managed around reading guidelines, online lectures, study queries and written assignments, which will be made available through the course's web-based learning platform.

Students are required to have access to a computer and a stable internet connection.

Examination modes

The course is examined by written assignments and oral presentations from each student. Assignments are written in English.
The examination of the course will consist of seminars and written individual assignments.

Overall grades are given as Fail (U), Pass (G), or Pass with Distinction (VG). In order to pass the course as a whole, all mandatory parts must also be completed and passed The final grade of the course is an average of the results in each part, decided only after all mandatory parts have been completed and passed. A student who has passed an examination may not re-take the exam.
For those students who do not pass the regular examination there is an opportunity to take the examination within two months and a third opportunity within a year.
A student who has failed two examinations for a course or segment of a course, has the right to have another examiner appointed. Requests for new examiners are made to the Faculty of Humanities.


Valid from: 2020 week 10

Monter E. William
The rise of female kings in Europe, 1300-1800
New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press : 2012 : xviii, 271 p., [12] p. of plates :
ISBN: 9780300173277
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

The Heart and Stomach of a King: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power [Elektronisk resurs]
University of Pennsylvania Press : 2013 :

Goodman Dena
Marie-Antoinette : writings on the body of a queen
New York : Routledge : 2003 : x, 307 s. :
ISBN: 0-415-93394-3
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Dermineur Elise M.
Gender and politics in eighteenth-century Sweden : Queen Louisa Ulrika (1720-1782)
New York : Routledge : 2017 : 253 pages :
ISBN: 9781472476661
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

The memoirs of Catherine the Great [Elektronisk resurs]
Catherine , Cruse Mark., Hoogenboom Hilde.
1st ed. : New York : Modern Library : 2005 : xc, 247 p. :

Queens consort, cultural transfer and European politics, c. 1500-1800
Watanabe-O'Kelly Helen, Morton Adam
London : Routledge : 2017 : 260 pages :
ISBN: 9781472458384
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

And a selection of articles