Author Date

2020-4

Degree Name

BA

Department

Anthropology

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2020-03-06

Publication Date

2020-03-19

First Faculty Advisor

Zach Chase

First Faculty Reader

Cynthia Finlayson

Honors Coordinator

Charles Nuckolls

Keywords

Mongolia, Women Studies, Typology, Mongol Empire, Chinggis Khan

Abstract

The Mongol Empire is highly susceptible to great-man history, placing all credit and blame on the figure of Genghis Khan and ignoring the contributions of others. Modern historians often read the primary texts through a patriarchal lens in assuming all decisions are made by men. However, the primary sources support a more feminist approach in emphasizing the importance of individual women, particularly Hö’elün, Börte, and the three regent-empresses. This research looks at how women are depicted in The Secret History of the Mongols. I identified four “types” of women in The Secret History, and therefore in medieval Mongolian culture. These are Great Mothers, Political Actors, Hostages, and Domineering Rulers. Each of these types have specific characteristics and roles in society and are treated as distinctive types by the contemporaneous historians and the other people in the stories of The Secret History.

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