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Karl B. Shoemaker
University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI 53715-1218)
Tearfully, He Came to Court: The Medieval Law of Tears

This study seeks to understand the importance of tears within European legal traditions in the period spanning 1000 to 1400. The historical study of tears and the cultural sensibilities which governed who could shed them, when, where, under what circumstances, and the various meanings that might attach to them offer up a rich, yet under-explored, field of study. The paucity of research is remarkably striking in one historical field which offers a wealth of primary source material concerning tears medieval law. That law would not only allow, but encourage, the substantive and procedural embrace of a cultural form such as tears, suggest much for the medieval world, and our own.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 8/31/2004