Call for Papers: Urbanity and Society in the Medieval World (York, 22-23 May 2015)

Map of Bristol, 1479

Map of Bristol, 1479

Urbanity and Society in the Medieval World: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Urban Society and Life Across the Medieval Period c.600-1500

King’s Manor, University of York 22nd -23rd May 2015

Urban Studies is a sub-field with a long and distinguished history of its own. Those who investigate urban environments have, however, largely been seen as working independently from other aspects of historical study, as a consequence of the separate and distinctive role envisaged for towns and cities by feudal models of society.  With the growth of less rigid models of understanding social and political relationships, it is time to rethink what urban centres meant to wider society. The ‘urban’ as an interdisciplinary topic can be brought together through discussion of all the different ways that urban life was understood, recorded and depicted as well as its physical remains.  In addition to looking at the multi-faceted urban experience, this conference will examine the relationships between towns and other aspects of medieval society and culture. How might literature, art or archaeology uncover and explain perceptions of urban institutions such as, but not limited to, guilds, religious bodies or civic authorities? Are there regional differences in how the city or the town should be understood? Is there a difference between the two terms? Was this the same across Europe and the world?

This one-day conference with a public keynote lecture on the Friday aims to bring together post-graduate students and academics alike from a variety of disciplines to open up conversations and create new networks of approaches to urban topics.  Disciplines could include, but by no means are limited to, History, Art History, Literature, and Archaeology.

We are delighted that Dr Zoë Opačić (History of Art, Birkbeck) and Dr Richard Goddard (History, University of Nottingham) have agreed to give keynotes.

Potential Proposals might address but are not limited to:

Medieval Understandings of Towns
Representations of Urban Spaces
Comparative approaches to Towns
Towns in non-Western Europe

Please send 20 minute paper abstracts or proposals for whole panels to by February 27th 2015. 


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