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Models of Conflict in Medieval Europe

The organisers welcome papers from postgraduate students from all disciplines on the subject of Models of Conflict in Medieval Europe for a conference at Durham University on Tuesday 21st August. Areas of interest could include military, religious, legal or literary models of both violent and non-violent conflict, as well as the relationship between theory and practice.

For further details please see the attached call for papers. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for 20 minute papers to by May 20th 2007.

Models of Conflict in Medieval Europe

Tuesday 21st August 2007, Durham University History Department

Keynote Speaker: Professor Michael Prestwich

Conflict was a central feature of the European Middle Ages. War was endemic throughout the period whilst feud, near universal in the early Middle Ages, persisted in some regions well into the sixteenth century. This martial culture is reflected not only in violent literary themes but also in the Christian imagery of spiritual warfare common in medieval sermons and hagiography. Conflict, however, did not inevitably involve bloodshed. For example, though the threat was often present, land disputes were frequently settled without recourse to violence, but could be just as bound by ritual and social expectation as any bloodfeud.

This postgraduate conference will explore the way in which conflicts were conceptualised by medieval men and women by examining the models that both shaped their expectations of how real-life conflicts would play out and influenced the way they represented conflict in literary and religious texts. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

· Legal models governing the proper conduct of feuds and disputes.

· Ideals relating to the proper conduct of warfare: e.g. the elite-cultural models of the heroic and chivalric ‘codes’ or religious notions of just and holy war.

· The influence of gender and class models on the roles individuals were expected to play in conflicts.

· The use of, or deviation from, such models for effect in both literary and religious texts.

· The relationship between theory and practice. How accurately do any of these models describe the reality of medieval conflicts?

· Modern models of conflict – sociological, anthropological, historiographical – and their usefulness for our understanding of the Middle Ages.

We welcome papers from all disciplines that take an imaginative approach to such models and their significance in the Middle Ages.

A tour of Durham Cathedral will be running on the following day, Wednesday 22nd August, for interested delegates. The conference is to be held in the Cousin’s Library of the Palace Green Archives and bed and breakfast accommodation will be available in the Castle.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to by May 20th 2007.

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