FORTHCOMING SEMINARS TO BE HELD AT THE CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF THE MIDDLE AGES (CESMA), UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM (Autumn, 2019)

Based in the University of Birmingham, the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages is an  academic network that promotes and facilitates research from a wide range of disciplines. As well as research projects and annual public lectures, the CeSMA hosts seminars every 2-3 weeks with guest speakers from a variety of institutions and backgrounds. The following is a list of the planned seminars for the remainder of this academic term:

 

Christ on the altar: visualising his sacrifice at the time of
Byzantine iconoclasm and other theological controversies

Speaker: Dr Francesca Dell’Acqua, University of Salerno
Wednesday the 9th of October 2019, 14:15
Arts building 201

Dr Dell’Acqua is Assistant Professor in art history at the University of Salerno and a specialist in the material cultures of western and Mediterranean Europe in the Middle Ages. She has taught at the universities of Florence and East Anglia, and has taken part in archaeological fieldwork across Europe.

 

Middle English literature in medieval Europe

Speaker: Dr Aisling Byrne, University of Reading
Wednesday the 23rd of October 2019, 14:15
Arts building 201

Dr Byrne is a Lecturer in medieval English literature at the University of Reading. Her research encompasses medieval romance, chivalric literature, monsters and marvels,  textual cultures, medieval translation, cross-cultural encounters, in medieval European writing.

 

Governing by writing: applying imperial calligraphy in Tang
administration

Speaker: Xie Chen, University of Birmingham
Wednesday the 13th November 2019, 14:15
Arts building lecture room 8

Xie Chen is a PhD student studying artistic patronage in the court of the Tang dynasty. In 2016 Chen was one of only four students to be awarded the prestigious Li Siguang Scholarship.

 

Missing numbers: macro regions and the political economic
geography in first millenium CE Southeast Asia

Speaker: Phacharaphorn Phanomvan, University of Oxford
Wednesday the 27th November 2019, 14:15
Arts building 201

Phacharaphorn Phanomvan is a DPhil student at the University of Oxford, specialising in southeast Asian economic history. Earlier this year Phacharaphorn was awarded a grant by the Scottish Funding Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund scheme to investigate the illegal antiques trade and the looting of heritage sites in Nepal and Myanmar.

Re/de-centering women and books in the Middle Ages

Speaker: Dr Elizabeth L’Estrange, University of Birmingham
Wednesday the 11th December 2019, 14:15
Arts building 201

Dr L’Estrange is a lecturer and head of the University of Birmingham’s Art History department. She is a specialist in late medieval and early modern illuminated manuscripts, and in the gendered reception of medieval books. She was awarded a commendation by the CARMEN medieval network for her project ‘Reassessing Women and the Book, c. 800-1600’.

 

For more information on future CeSMA seminars and changes to this year’s itinerary, do bookmark the following link:

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/historycultures/departments/history/research/seminars/medieval-history.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2U8EqTMvGyfQZxHV6rH-ZGFdftYGRABFsBU_MWQglCkgU5AR9fkVhlG7U

You can also find the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/medievalstudiesbirmingham/

Forthcoming medieval history research seminars taking place at the university of Nottingham:

19th March – James Aitcheson

Jamie Aitcheson is studying a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, focusing on fantastical phenomena in Anglo-Norman literature and its representation in historical fiction. He read history at Emmanuel College Cambridge and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He is the author of four published historical fiction novels, the fourth of which was named Book of the Month by The Times in 2016. His talk is on ‘Writing the Middle Ages.’

Performing Arts Studio, Trent Building, 4.30-6pm

16th April – Justine Trombley

Dr Justine Trombley is a research fellow at the University of Nottingham studying heretical writing in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Europe. She studied a BA in History at the University of Vermont and received her Masters and PhD in medieval history from the University of St Andrews. Her talk is titled: ‘Can I Say That?: Treading the Lines of Accepted Style and Personal Expression in Academic Writing’

Humanities A27, 4.30-6pm

21st May – Robert Francis 

Robert Francis is an archaeobotanist, gardener and PhD student at the University of Nottingham. From early 2018 he has been designing, building and cultivating his own Anglo-Saxon garden just a short walk from the humanities building! In this seminar Robert will be taking us on a guided tour of his creation, in: ‘Exploring the Anglo-Saxon Garden’

Humanities A27, 4.30-6pm. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing for this seminar!

18th June – Matt Hefferan

Matt Hefferan is studying a PhD in History at the University of Nottingham. His thesis will be a social and political history of the household knights of King Edward III in both war and peacetime. His talk is titled: ‘Mapping the Medieval’

Humanities A27 4.30-5pm; Digital Transformations Hub 5-6pm 

Forthcoming seminars to be held at the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages (CeSMA), University of Birmingham

Based in the University of Birmingham, the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages is an  academic network that promotes and facilitates research from a wide range of disciplines. As well as research projects and annual public lectures, the CeSMA hosts seminars every 1-2 weeks with guest speakers from a variety of institutions and backgrounds. The following is a list of the planned seminars for the remainder of this academic term:

Maritime trade and Buddhism in East Asia 700-1400

Speaker: Dr Peter Sharrock
Wednesday the 14th of November 2018, 16:15-18:00
Arts building LR5

Dr Sharrock is a former Reuters journalist and senior teaching fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

The Classic Maya Collapse: the decline of royal power and the rise of the merchant princes

Speaker: Professor Elizabeth Graham
Tuesday the 27th November 2018, 16:15-18:00
Alan Walters Building, G11

Professor Graham is an archaeologist of classical and colonial-era Mesoamerica at University College London.

Reconfiguring the template: representations of powerful women in historical fiction – the case of Anna Komnene

Speaker: Dr Ioulia Kolovou
Thursday the 13th December 2018, 16:15-18:00
Arts Building, LR1

Dr Kolovou is a doctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow. She specialises in literary theory and classical philology.

For more information on future CeSMA seminars and changes to this year’s itinerary, do bookmark the following link:

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/historycultures/departments/history/research/seminars/medieval-history.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2U8EqTMvGyfQZxHV6rH-ZGFdftYGRABFsBU_MWQglCkgU5AR9fkVhlG7U

You can also find the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/medievalstudiesbirmingham/

Leeds IMC 2018: Reflections from Midlands PGRs

The Leeds International Medieval Congress (IMC) has just passed, and has been enjoyed by many PGR researchers in the Midlands. Here are a few reflections and comments from some of those who attended.


Jamie Smith

It is common knowledge that doing a PhD can at times be quite an isolating experience. In contrast to masters’ and undergraduate students, who frequently attend large seminar groups full of people investigating a single topic, PhD History students can end up in offices surrounded by people who don’t research the same century, let alone the same subject, as them. In this context it is easy to feel detached. That’s why big conferences, like the International Medieval Congress (IMC), are so important, as they give us the opportunity to engage with the wider research community, learn what challenges our discipline is facing and perhaps make a few friends along the way.

With this in mind, on the first evening of the IMC this year I attended the Anglo-Saxon Studies roundtable, hoping to discover where the discipline is going. I do not usually identify as an Anglo-Saxonist. However, a few Anglo-Saxon examples do appear in my thesis, so I thought this would be a fun opportunity to learn about a research area I’ve always regarded as one of my personal favourites (don’t tell the Anglo-Normans).

Overall, the event left me quite shocked. Firstly, rather than a seminar room, the roundtable was held in some sort of dance studio. This led to one of the participants joking that he could discuss digital humanities ‘through the means of interpretative dance’. Although, what was more surprising was how serious and, to be quite frank, disheartening the rest of the discussion was. Anglo-Saxonism is in dire straits apparently: the future is uncertain. A particularly important issue discussed was the lack of undergraduate interest. The participants argued that students no longer connect with the Anglo-Saxons, raising questions about where the next generation of researchers will come from. There was a lot of food for thought, and when I discussed the event with other attendees afterwards I realised many of us had been left contemplative and a bit downcast.

The question of whether Anglo-Saxonism could be saved spurred me into attending the New Voices in Anglo-Saxon Studies panel the following day. The answer I came away with was an unequivocal ‘Yes!’ In contrast to the downbeat tone of the roundtable, the three speakers were both positive and innovative. Interdisciplinary approaches using literature and archaeology were on display, whilst under researched medieval groups, like woman and people with disabilities, were up for discussion. This time I came away inspired by these pioneering papers, which demonstrated approaches that could perhaps broaden interest in the Anglo-Saxons.

Therefore, learning more about my research community was the most insightful part of the IMC and why I recommend attending. You may not agree with everything that is said, but it is important to know what concerns currently matter in your discipline. Also, if you are lucky, you might come away inspired to join the conversation.


Jen Caddick

I hadn’t initially planned to attend Leeds IMC this year, but I’m so glad that my friends, colleagues and supervisors all encouraged me to go! As more than 2,000 highly-caffeinated medievalists descended upon the University of Leeds, I found myself amongst a crowd of people who were driven to study by a love of their subject and, more often than not, a broader love of learning.

That’s not to say that walking up to the University on the first day wasn’t just a bit nerve-wracking. As I was waiting in the queue to pick up my registration pack, trying to decide which of the three sessions I’d earmarked I most wanted to go to, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. There was so much going on, I just didn’t know how to make the most of my week. Fortunately, there were seasoned IMCers on hand to give me some advice:

  1. Making the most of the conference doesn’t necessarily mean attending every session
  2. Try to go to at least one thing which isn’t related to your own research

In both cases, this is advice that I would definitely recommend following.

IMC was brilliant, but intense. I think taking just one session or evening roundtable out of each day meant that I was able to more fully engage with those sessions that I did attend. But it was also during some of those missed sessions, when everything was a bit quieter and calmer (and the tea/coffee queue was much shorter) that I managed to have some of the most productive discussions with other people about their research. As for attending non-research-related sessions, I get so caught up in the bubble of my own work that it was refreshing to see the sheer chronological, geographical, and topical breadth of research being undertaken. Attending sessions which had unfamiliar topics was a great way to experience a wider variety of presentation styles, but also to just sit and enjoy what I was listening to instead of trying to jot down notes or come up with questions.

Beyond those first-day nerves, it was a real joy to listen to the wide variety of papers which reassured me (at a time when that old foe “Imposter Syndrome” was making another appearance) that other people were dealing with obstacles like defining the late-medieval gentry or grappling with finding individual narratives in amongst the “Big Data” regardless of where they were in their careers. The whole week was a reminder that medievalists don’t have everything figured out and, more importantly, that’s part of the fun.


Jamie

Jamie Smith is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham in his first year. His thesis is titled: ‘Good neighbours? Anglo-British relations interpreted through diplomatic practice: 927-1154’.

 

 

Jen

Jen Caddick is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham in her first year. She is funded by Midlands 3 Cities and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her thesis is titled: ‘The Distribution of Royal Patronage to the Gentry in the Minority of Henry VI, 1422-1437’.

Medieval PG Research Seminar at UoN

The student run Medieval PG Research Seminar’s are resuming this semester at the University of Nottingham.

All are welcome to the attend. The first meeting will be held in A27, Humanities, on the 29th of November.

PG SEM.png

Any queries, please contact Alex Marchbank at alexandra.marchbank@nottingham.ac.uk

Religion and Conflict in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

Religion and Conflict in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods ran between the 11th and 13th of July 2017 at Nottingham Trent University. Martin Roberts, PhD student at the University of Nottingham, offers his thoughts here.


With conference season in full swing it seemed a very short time between my presenting to the Leeds International Medieval Congress and this three-day conference at Nottingham Trent University organised by the Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict. Newly-established, the Centre aims to increase understanding of the origins, ideology, implementation, impact and historiography of religion and conflict in the medieval and early modern periods. If the quality of their inaugural event is anything to go by, it looks to have a very health future.

Examining the programme I was struck immediately, not only by the wide-ranging papers, but also that speakers had travelled from Barcelona and Mainz, even Sydney, to attend. Held, for the most part, in NTU’s Newton Building, the prevailing atmosphere was certainly friendly and the conference, both overall and throughout the individual sessions, extremely well-organised and thoroughly stimulating.

Due to commitments elsewhere I was unable to attend Day One, but Day Two began with a fascinating Keynote by Professor Liz Tingle (De Montfort) on ‘Sacred Travel: Long Distance Pilgrimage and the (Re)building of Catholic Identity in an Era of Religious War’ and continued into five separate sessions each split thematically. Session One (Conflict in the Parish) contained three excellent papers by Alfred Johnson (Sydney), Dr Dave Postles (Hertfordshire) and Dr Fiona McCall (Portsmouth). In the afternoon, I was fortunate enough to attend the session on ‘Conflict in Church and State’ with papers from Toby Bromidge (Royal Holloway) on ‘The Armenian disintegration of secular and ecclesiastical leadership in the late eleventh century’, Samuel Lane (Oxford) on the conflicts between church and city in late medieval Salisbury, and Ping Liao (also Oxford) on religious persecution and the use of the army Restoration England and Scotland, 1660-1688. In the afternoon, in the session on Marital Conflict, it was my turn. Presenting my paper ‘Consent, Clandestinity and Conflict: Old Stories, New Understanding – Matrimonial litigation in the early sixteenth-century diocese of Lincoln’, I was “on the same bill” as the highly-engaging Dr Jonathan Healey (Oxford), who entertained and enthused everyone with his ‘Curious Case of the Cross-Dressing Catholic: Religion, Revelry and Resistance in Jacobean Lancashire’ and the equally fascinating paper given by Carolin Katzer (Mainz) on Mixed Marriages in Early Modern Worms. I hope I contributed at least something to the session’s success! During the final part of the afternoon Delfi Nieto (Barcelona) and Dr Claire Taylor (Nottingham) both gave excellent papers on heretical themes. Day Two concluded at the Malt Cross (and later at 4550 Miles from Delhi) permitting everyone who attended further opportunity to socialise and continue earlier debates and, I understand, to enjoy an exceptional conference dinner.

Day Three was also filled from beginning to end. A particular early highlight was Dr Katherine Lewis’ keynote lecture, ‘“You will realise you are fighting with men”: Crusaders, Turks and Masculinity in the Late Middle Ages’, but there were also enthralling sessions too on ‘Gender and Conflict’, ‘Text, Representation and Identity’ and ‘Holy War’. There is, sadly, too little space to comment on them all.

In conclusion, a very welcome addition to the conference calendar and one I hope to attend in future.


2014.09.02 MOR ID PICMartin Roberts is a PhD Student at the University of Nottingham. His thesis is entitled, ‘Ecclesiastical Justice at the Cusp of the Reformation: The Study and Interpretation of its written legacy with particular reference to some records of the Audience Court of John Longland, bishop of Lincoln’.

Leeds IMC 2017: Reflections and Comments from Midlands PGRs

The Leeds International Medieval Congress (IMC) has just passed, and has been enjoyed by many PGR researchers in the Midlands. Here are a few reflections and comments from some of those who attended.


Alexandra Marchbank: The Historical is Political

‘This was my first year at the Leeds IMC and in less than a day I went from nervous first timer to extoling its virtues to almost everyone I met. There was an excellent breadth of papers, tea and coffee galore, stimulating conversation, and of course the famous (or infamous?) dance. One of the elements which I hadn’t quite expected was the extent to which a conference centred on people, places and events happening at least 500 years ago could be political. And not just in the sense that the people researching those events lead political lives, but in the sense that the historical space itself is a political arena.

I went to lots of sessions over the four days that I was at Leeds – too many, perhaps, to really take them all in, but two in particular stood out for me. Those were sessions 1035 and 1117 on Wednesday morning. The first included a paper by Victoria Cooper about her experiences as the author of a paper on identity politics in medieval-inspired video games which was subsequently adapted and published online. She talked about the bullying, harassment and threats that were directed at her for exploring the ways in which medieval imagery has been used and abused by far-right and nationalist groups to legitimise present attitudes. This has stuck with me, and had resonance in session 1117 with a paper by Caron Newman. Her research looks at the archaeology of the English/Scottish border, and I was particularly struck by the notion – again easily found online – that border raids between the two nations were incessant, and that there was little else happening in the ‘desolate landscape’, an idea which Caron argues still prevails and which she works to refute.

Sometimes I wonder about the relevance of medieval research and the impact that it has for individuals, communities and places that are occupied and politicised today. These two papers in particular helped me to realise that our work is important because our understandings of the places and spaces and people in the past are vital for informing our beliefs and values about those places, spaces and people today. So thank you, Leeds, for the late nights, the friendly delegates, and for reminding me that medieval research is a lot more political than I sometimes think.’


Hannah Ingram: Leeds IMC. Gender and Harassment in Academic Spaces: Round Table Discussion.

I attended the ‘Gender and Harassment in Academic Spaces’ round table on the Wednesday evening of the Leeds IMC, which had been organised jointly by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship and the Gender and Medieval Studies Group. It was a thoroughly thought-provoking session, but I did leave feeling both enlightened and extremely angry in equal measure.

Upon entering the conference room, I was disappointed, but also unsurprised, to see a majority female attendance. I could probably count the male academics present on one hand, a striking statistic, considering the session was packed and it was standing room only towards the back. The speaking panel was an eclectic mix of female medievalists, who all brought something interesting and important to the table.

The session focused on the need for an independent process to enable victims of sexual harassment within academia, both male and female, to report such misconduct. Indeed there have been increasing calls for conferences and institutions to facilitate the reporting process, rather than hiding behind liability disclaimers. After a demonstration by Dorothy Kim of how online feedback forms for reporting sexual harassment have been employed at recent international conferences, the floor was opened up for the attendees to air their own experiences.

This was the part of the session I found the hardest to listen to, particularly as some of the individuals present shared, quite frankly, shocking memories of how they have been treated because of their gender in the academic sphere. I will not go into too much detail here, out of respect for the women involved, but what was clear was just how far there is still to go. In fact complaints ranged from the lack of facilities for female academics with young children, right up to cases of ongoing sexual harassment. Some of this anecdotal evidence particularly revealed the underlying problems, such as the experience of one woman, who, having rebuffed an unwelcome advance from a male colleague at a conference, was told by him that ‘what happens at conferences stays at conferences’. Indeed the unspoken conclusion seemed to be that sexual discrimination, whether consciously or unconsciously, is still perpetuated in academia, with universities reluctant to recognise it, as doing so would mean acknowledging there is a problem.

A particularly pertinent point was raised towards the end of the session, which concerned the mentor-mentee relationship between senior and junior academics (or PhD students) which, as a central facet of accepted academic training, could unfortunately allow, or even encourage, sexual harassment or misconduct. Indeed it was agreed that this relationship, whilst hugely beneficial from a career perspective, could potentially shield would-be harassers.

The session closed with the understanding that meaningful changes could only realistically be achieved if academic institutions and universities take responsibility and actively address these issues. Otherwise sexual discrimination and harassment will continue to be swept under the proverbial rug.


Geogrie Fitzgibbon: Presenting to Cistercian Speacilists at the IMC

Though my fourth IMC (I started attending as a curious MA student and you can read about that here: buff.ly/2tsOSj7), this year was my first year presenting. My paper, on Cistercian engagement with the cult of saints in the twelfth century, was part of a three-session strand sponsored by the journal Cîteaux: Commentarii Cistercienses. The series included papers closely-focused on texts; Bernard of Clairvaux’s letters and Third Crusade sermons, as well as less well-known manuscripts such as Master Hildebrand’s Libellus de Contemplatione. Our panel was the last of the Cistercian series, and oriented around material culture. My co-panellists, Caroline den Hartog and Stephen Anthony Moorhouse, are archaeologists, and presented on the sites of St Servaes in Utrecht and Rievaulx Abbey’s grange at East Bolton, respectively.

While I have presented at a range of conferences, this was my first experience presenting in front of Cistercian specialists. In some ways it was lucky we were scheduled to speak on Wednesday, following the Cistercian scholars’ dinner the night before; it’s easier to speak to friendly faces! The paper was drawn from the second chapter of my thesis, and it was really helpful to have such engaging questions from the audience (apparently everyone can be interested in ancient body parts). I now have ideas to follow up that will improve the chapter, as well as a lead on a useful book, and the opportunity to present next year.

Overall I would thoroughly recommend presenting at the IMC. The range of papers and audiences makes for fascinating conversations. If you’re planning to contact a journal or research centre to join a strand, the deadline is looming! You can also submit a standalone abstract to the programme committee, or form a panel of your own. You can only present one paper per year at the IMC, but you can chair panels in addition, as I did for some friends on the Monday. Paper proposals are due by 31 August, sessions by 30 September, so get planning!


AlexAlexandra Marchbank is a first year PhD student at the University of Nottingham and co-supervised at the University of Birmingham. She is funded by the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership for her thesis entitled, ‘Testamentary Piety: The Evidence of the Norfolk and Kent Wills, c. 1400-1535″.

 

hannahHannah Ingram is a second year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. She is funded by the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership for her thesis entitled, ” Archetypes and Individuals: Reconstructing the Users of the Westminster Staple Court.”

 

georgieGeogrie Fitzgibbon is a third year PhD student at the University Birmingham. She is funded by the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership for her thesis entitled, “Comparisons, Connections and Contexts: Cistercian Monasticism and the Cult of Saints’ Relics, c.1100-c.1250″.

 

 

Identity in the Middle Ages: Medieval Midlands 2017

 

During an all too brief excursus from writing up my thesis, I attended the second Medieval Midlands Postgraduate Conference at the end of last week. The event spanned two days and was devoted to the theme of ‘Identity in the Middle Ages.’ The first thing that struck me upon reading the conference programme was the diversity of papers, which covered the fifth to the sixteenth centuries, ranging from Coventry to the Kitan Liao. By contrast to last year’s event, which was located at the University of Nottingham’s newly built Humanities Building, this year’s conference was held at De Montfort University’s Trinity House Chapel, whose origins trace back to the fourteenth century. This is certainly the most evocative setting in which I’ve attended a conference and provided an intimate and friendly setting, while still recalling the character of the medieval period.

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Trinity House Chapel

With a theme as broad as identity, it was unsurprising to hear diverse perspectives. While Hannah Ingram and Alex Marchbank traced identities through commercial and familial networks, in the process addressing how documents provide only a snapshot of an individual’s life, Steve Walker and Graham Aldred critiqued conventional views of early Medieval Britain, with specific emphasis on the difficulties of reading identities from place names and the archaeological record. In a similar vein, although Alice Byrne, Jack Beaman and Mark McCabe all focused loosely on the theme of chivalry, Alice found this in the popularity of the cult of St George in the Midlands, Jack discussed the pitfalls of French and Latin terminology, while Mark focused on Richard I as an exemplar of hegemonic masculinity. To round off the first day, Anna Cruse and James Wright both found something individual in very different topics: firstly, Isabella D’Este’s commissions from Andrea Mantegna and secondly, Ralph, Lord Cromwell’s ostentatious display of wealth at Tattershall Castle.

The second day was rather more eclectic. While Paul Srodecki traced the development of frontier identities in the representations of the monarchs and aristocracies of late medieval Poland and Hungary, Chen Xue mapped the cosmological identity of the Kitan Liao, contrasting this with Tang conceptions of identity. In doing so, both portrayed identities in dialogue and conflict, as we also heard on the first day. This theme continued with Sian Webb’s paper on portrayals of Muslims and Christians in French and English hagiographies, in which she described a child born of a union between Christian and Muslim parents that was merely an amorphous lump of flesh. This topos of deriving something complex and indefinable from seemingly simple origins was emblematic of the portrayal of identity which arose from the conference as a whole. Meanwhile, Tom Sayers portrayed the idiosyncratic career of Andronikos Komnenos and what his flight from the wrath of Manuel I can tell us about Latin and Byzantine identities. In the final session, Mariele Valci discussed the implications of the denaro provisino for a Rome caught between commune and Papacy, though she also ranged across the pilgrimage route through Champagne to Canterbury. Finally, Mark Webb traced the evolving urban landscapes of Leicester and Coventry and what these can tell us about their respective governance and social composition.

IMG_20170428_100536

Chen Xue (University of Birmingham): ‘Under the North Pole is the Central Kingdom – Constructions of the Kitan Liao Identity in Cosmology’

But a conference is much more than the sum of its papers. The two day format meant that there was ample to time to discuss ideas and interests with other delegates within Trinity House and its accompanying gardens. It was especially pleasing to engage with the thriving culture of medieval research in the Midlands. This is in a large part is due to the success of the AHRC Midlands 3 Cities Consortium, but it was pleasing to attract delegates from much further afield, such as Naples, Kiel and Strasbourg. Aside from admiring our surroundings, the lunch breaks also offered an opportunity to observe the poster presentations arranged in the windows of the chapel. Lastly, each day concluded with a discussion which contrasted and compared the various papers in ways that I have only been able to sketch briefly here. In the process, we ranged across the topics mentioned above – and were even exposed to the occasional non-academic perspective.

From a personal perspective, the blend of archaeological and textual approaches was a particular highlight. Although I am a textual historian, I’ve recently begun to incorporate archaeological material into my thesis and found the opportunity to explore the nuances of this field outside the confines of my own work particularly stimulating. This was encapsulated in Helena Hamerow’s keynote address, which addressed the origins of the Gewisse in post-Roman Britain and how they differ from ancient Britons in the archaeological record. I never expected to find parallels between this context and my research, the Paulicians of ninth-century Asia Minor, but it quickly became apparent that the mechanisms of identity formation she proposed had parallels at the other side of the continent. It is realisations like this which make wide-ranging conferences like this extremely valuable and why I chose to attend in the first place. In concluding, I can only thank this year’s organising committee for their efforts in making the event such a success and hope for an equally fascinating conference next year.


Carl DixonCarl Dixon is a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, funded by the Midlands3Cities consortium. His research focuses on the Greek sources of the Paulician heresy.

 

MEDIUM ÆVUM Annual Lecture and General Meeting – New Date

REARRANGED – 6th May 2017

2017_04_07_11_20-1This years MEDIUM ÆVUM Annual Lecture and General Meeting will be held at the University of Nottingham on Saturday 18th March 2017. All are warmly invited to attend with no registration required. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception!

To read the Professor Kathryn Kerby-Fulton’s abstract for this lecture,  click here.

A map of University Park is available here. The Clive Grainger building is number 16 on the map, next to the main visitors car park.

 

Keynote Speaker Confirmed!

We are pleased to announce that the Keynote speaker for this year’s Medieval Midlands conference will be Helena Hamerow, Professor of Early Medieval Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Professor Hamerow has written extensively on Anglo-Saxon communities, with a focus on England and Northwest Europe. We are excited to hear her speak about identity in Wessex in the post-Roman world, which has particular relevance for our conference theme.

For postgraduates wishing to speak at the conference, the call for papers remains open until 10th February, with abstracts of 300 words to be sent to esther.lewis@nottingham.ac.uk. Delegate registration will open during the spring.

cfp-with-keynote-page-001