Beyond the martial façade: gender, heritage and medieval castles
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Dempsey, Karen, Gilchrist, Roberta, Ashbee, Jeremy, Sagrott, Stefan, & Stones, Samantha. (2019). Beyond the martial façade: gender, heritage and medieval castles. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 1-18. doi: 10.1080/13527258.2019.1636119
Gendered interpretations are rare both within castle-studies and heritage discourses on medieval castles. Yet, castles hold potential to inform multi-vocal accounts of the medieval past and to inspire meaningful heritage interpretations to achieve greater societal impact. This article explores the role that gender currently plays in interpretations of medieval castles in Britain, supported by three case-studies written by heritage professionals. The enduring narrative of militarism at medieval castles sites is discussed, together with issues of authenticity in relation to the historical record, which is in itself biased and inherently gendered. Outcomes from a collaborative workshop highlight the need to address interpretative issues where gender is considered to equate to 'making women visible'. Finally, we pose the question: What makes a 'good gendered interpretation' at a public heritage site?