HIS-04
Gender, Politics, Marriage and Children in the Mongol Empire

Convenors:
Stefan Kamola (Eastern Connecticut State University)
Christopher Atwood (University of Pennsylvania)
Chair:
Stefan Kamola
Discussant:
Christopher Atwood
Theme:
HIS
Location:
Room 303A
Sessions:
Friday 11 October, 11:00-12:45

Abstract:

This panel presents research from emerging fields that investigate questions of gender, childrearing, marriage and politics in order to shed new light on previously overlooked complexities in the history of the Mongol Empire and its successor Khanates across Asia. Among the topics addressed in the panel is the institution of marriage between the Chinggisid family and assorted partners. Marriage among the Chinggisids was both a personal and political act, and provided avenues for female and male Chinggisids to create and maintain extensive networks of companions, in-laws, and allies. Thus one paper provides a fresh look at the way political connections between Chinggisid khans and their most senior commanders were forged through strategic marriages in the Golden Horde and later Khanates, while another paper investigates the lower-status, secondary wives of Chinggis Khan and his successors. These wives entered their marriages unwillingly when their peoples were conquered, and their stories hint at the lost histories of the dispossessed. Finally, since Chinggisid marriages often produced children, another topic addressed in the panel is education of the young within the empire, through a paper that presents new research on conceptualizations of gender and the act of childrearing, and provides a more nuanced understanding of the family system that produced so many powerful individual women who went on to play critical roles in Mongol history. Together the papers present groundbreaking research on emerging new topics in the study of Mongol Empire, and connect well with the investigations of conquest, societal assimilation and diaspora in the companion panel.