|Making the Informal Visible: Early Modern Noblewomen and Memory in Castile|
|This paper examines the contribution of early modern noblewomen to the reproduction of aristocratic culture through the study of their role in the creation and transmission of family memory and their (in)visibility in representations of their lineage.
Family memory (or image) was an essential element in the struggle for recognition that was waged in the public space. However, intra-familial relations were as influential as external political forces in shaping family memory. Taking into account these two levels of analysis (family relations and political culture) this paper examines noblewomen’s power by focusing on how they shaped both their own individual memories and also family memory, their influence in orienting relatives’ personal memory, and how they were remembered and represented by other kin. The study of these practices will allow us not only to track the informal power that noblewomen exercised on a de facto basis but also to examine the means through which this power becomes visible for the society of the time and for historians, an issue less explored by the historiography. Finally, this paper researches to what extend the way noblewomen become visible within family memory calls into question the widespread portrayal of women in the patriarchal, medical and moral discourses of the time and also by contemporary anthropologists of the Mediterranean culture, traditionally described in terms of honour and shame.|