department of history


Linda E. Mitchell

Martha Jane Phillips Starr/Missouri Distinguished Professor of Women's & Gender Studies
Senior Editor
, Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques
Medieval British Isles, Women & Gender, Medieval Legal & Administrative, Ancient Greece & Rome

223A Cockefair Hall
Phone: 816-235-2734

Curriculum Vitae


1991 Ph.D. Medieval History, Indiana University

1986 M.A. Medieval History, Indiana University

1979 B.A. Medieval Studies and Dance, Sarah Lawrence College

Current Project

Dr. Mitchell's work currently focuses on those pesky Normans who conquered so much of medieval Europe, especially those areas on the “fringes”—the British Isles, Sicily and southern Italy, Antioch and Cyprus during the Crusades. She is interested in several issues regarding Norman conquest and settlement: the ways in which Normans defined themselves as both the Other and as the New Paradigm in regions where they replaced indigenous hegemons; how Norman elite families operated as interlocking networks of alliance and affinity; how women in those families acted not only as conduits of land and alliances but also as persons of influence within the socio-political system of Norman administration. She has also been looking at the issue of gender in the Middle Ages: how it is not a binary distinction but rather a fluid and flexible construct. This is especially significant in areas of Norman conquest because the indigenous cultures modeled gender differently and the tension between conquered and conqueror influenced not only gendered categories of difference between the two populations, but also affected the ways they interacted, the status each enjoyed, and the ways they defined themselves.

Dr. Mitchell's recent and forthcoming publications are an eclectic collection. Portraits of Medieval Women (Palgrave, 2003) is a collection of case studies of elite women whose lives reveal the range of female agency in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Family Life in the Middle Ages (Greenwood Press, 2007) is a textbook and reference book for students in high school and college. Articles forthcoming include a number of other case studies and an analysis of gendered language in some important and underused texts having to do with the conquest of Ireland. She also edits a journal of cultural, intellectual, and comparative history, Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques, which publishes articles on all historical eras, in both English and French.

Courses Taught

> HIST 300CO  Women of the Ancient World

> HIST 400C  The Crusades

> HIST 400FC  CC: Courts and Culture in the High Middle Ages

> HIST 400H  Women in Medieval Britain


Books & Book Chapters

Family Life in the Middle Ages, Westport and London: Greenwood Publishing Group, September 2007.

"Ancient Greek and Roman Civil Law" and "Medieval Roman, Byzantine, and Canon Law" in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, Oxford University Press, 2008.

"Magna Carta" in Events that Changed Great Britain before 1689. Edited by Frank Thackeray and John Findling. Westport and London: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Portraits of Medieval Women: Family, Marriage, and Politics in England 1225-1350. NY: Palgrave-Macmillan, July 2003.

Grants, Honors & Awards

2007 Alfred University NEH grant to conduct research in England and Wales

2005 Alfred University NEH grant to conduct research in Ireland

2004 Elected to Phi Alpha Theta

2004 Elected to Omicron Delta Kappa