Call for Papers: ‘Identity Abroad in Central and Late Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean’, University of Cambridge 7-8 January 2022 (Deadline 12 September 2021)

Life in the central and late Middle Ages was characterised by high levels of mobility and migration. Shifts in political, economic, cultural and religious life encouraged and sometimes forced individuals and groups to move ‘abroad’ permanently or temporarily, to places nearby or further afield.

Organisers from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford invite papers for their upcoming conference Identity Abroad in Central and Later Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, to be held at Cambridge 7-8 January 2022.

The position and impact of these ‘foreigners’ in societies has been widely discussed. However, what is less considered is how they understood and (re)presented themselves. This conference aims to explore the construction, expression, and practical significance of different forms of social identity among individuals and groups living ‘abroad’ in Europe and the Mediterranean in the period from the eleventh to the fifteenth century.

The conference invites proposals for 20-minute papers from graduate and early career researchers working across all relevant disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. By bringing together a variety of different perspectives, the conference not only aims to consider how ‘identity abroad’ functioned in specific contexts, but also to emphasise developments, patterns, and divergences. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Individuals and groups living ‘abroad’, such as merchants, artisans, pilgrims, scholars, diplomats, soldiers, exiles, ethnic and religious minorities, and captives and enslaved people
  • Voluntary or forced, temporary or permanent migration
  • Importance of political allegiance, language, cultural heritage, and faith in identity construction
  • Means of identity expression, such as written production and material culture
  • Relations between different ‘foreign’ individuals and groups
  • Interaction and assimilation/resistance to assimilation with ‘local’ populations, institutions, and rulers
  • Impact of gender, socio-economic background, and other types of differences
  • Theoretical treatments of the concepts of ‘identity’, ‘foreignness’, and ‘abroad’ in the Middle Ages

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of up to 250 words and a short biographical note to no later than 12th September 2021.

The organisers plan to hold the conference in person in Cambridge, UK. However, this may change to reflect developments relating to Covid-19.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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