Call for Papers: Conference, Communities and Networks in Late Medieval Europe (c. 1300–1500), St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, 9th-10th September 2021, Deadline: 7th June 2021

Historical research has witnessed a rapidly growing interest in ‘networks’ since the turn of the twenty-first century. This is due not only to the utility of networks in describing interrelations between historical actors, but also to the adoption of the concepts and methodologies associated with social network analysis (SNA). 

Our conference, which will take place at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, in September 2021*, aims to build on and contribute to this expanding field of research by focusing on networks as a lens through which to investigate the internal and external dynamics of communities in the last two centuries of the European Middle Ages, a time of great cultural, socio-economic, and political change. ‘Community’ is defined as any form of interpersonal association, including urban, political, legal, cultural, intellectual, monastic, and friendship-based ones.

We are delighted to have a number of confirmed senior speakers from across Europe. Prof. Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität in Hagen) will deliver the keynote lecture, titled ‘Did Magdeburg Law create a network of culturally mixed urban communities across Europe?’. Prof. Wim Blockmans (Leiden University) will deliver the concluding remarks. Prof. Jan Dumolyn (Ghent University), Prof. Christina Lutter (University of Vienna), Dr Flávio Miranda (University of Porto), Dr Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz (University of Amsterdam) will also participate.

We are now inviting proposals, especially from junior researchers (doctoral and post-doctoral), for papers lasting 20–25 minutes. Indeed, we hope the conference to be an opportunity for discussion between researchers at different stages of their career. Papers might address, but are not limited to, the following themes: 


• Networks and the development of communities
• Networks in conflict and conflict resolution
• Oral and written communication networks
• The impact of key late medieval processes on networks and communities (e.g. literacy and bureaucratization, development of infrastructure, warfare)
• Possibilities and drawbacks of social network analysis as a conceptual and methodological approach to the study of medieval communities

Abstracts of max. 300 words, together with a short biography of the author, should be submitted to commsandnetworks21@gmail.com by 7 June 2021. The confirmation of accepted papers will be announced by 21 June.

The event website can be found here.

*The conference is currently planned as an in-person event (registration fee: £20), but we are open to the possibility of employing a hybrid or online format in order to cater for the changing global situation and for different personal circumstances.

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of the George Macaulay Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History, University of Cambridge), the Researcher-led Events Scheme (University of Cambridge), and the Social History Society.

Published by Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson holds a First Class Honours in the History of Art from the University of Bristol, with a particular focus on Medieval Florence. In 2020 she achieved a Distinction in her MA at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she specialised in the art and architecture of Medieval England under the supervision of Dr Tom Nickson. Her dissertation focussed on an alabaster altarpiece, and its relationship with the cult of St Thomas Becket in France and the Chartreuse de Vauvert. Her current research focusses on the artistic patronage of London’s Livery Companies immediately pre and post-Reformation. Ellie will begin a PhD at the University of York in Autumn 2021 with a WRoCAH studentship, under the supervision of Professor Tim Ayers and Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein.

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