Masculinities and Law in Premodern Europe

Date / time: 31 August, 12:00 am

Masculinities and Law in Premodern Europe


Call for Papers, deadline – 31 August 2022

Online Conference, 15-17 November 2022 (three half-days)

From the twelfth century onwards, a new class of legally trained professionals was enabling profound political and social change as part of increasingly specialised judicial systems. Feminist scholarship has stressed the role of gender in this transformation, with attention to women’s experiences of justice and to the regulation of ‘vices’ such as prostitution and sodomy. However, gender is often overlooked in standard legal histories and accounts of the early legal professions.

This conference aims to draw on the history of masculinities; studies of women, gender and the law; legal history; and feminist legal scholarship to examine masculinities, law and the legal professions in the premodern European world, c.1100-c.1700. The scope is broad, encompassing canon, civil, common, and customary law; and Christian, Jewish, and Muslim legal traditions.

Possible themes include (but are not limited to):

  • How did men as law-finders and lawmakers construct and perform gender identity?
  • Authority, legitimacy and gender in premodern judicial thought
  • Becoming a ‘man of law’: education and disciplinary practices in universities and elsewhere
  • Masculine institutions: Lawyers’ guilds, the Inns of Court, the French Basoche etc.
  • Contesting masculinities in the courtroom: lawyers, litigants, jurors and others
  • Gender in the operation of legal processes and practices
  • Gendering the spaces of the law
  • Legal approaches to ‘deviant’ or disruptive masculinities; sexual misconduct and violence
  • Lawyers, books, literacy, Latinity – gendering access to and production of legal knowledge
  • Representations of lawyers and judges in drama, literature, art, memorial culture etc.
  • Historiographical, methodological and theoretical concerns

We invite proposals for individual 20-minute papers or panels/roundtables. Submissions are welcome from scholars at all career stages, including graduate students and independent researchers.

  • For individual papers: Submit a 250-word abstract and title, and a brief bio.
  • For panels/roundtables: Submit a single 500-word abstract and title for the session, and brief presenter bios.

Please send proposals to by 31 August 2022.

Follow us on Twitter @Mascs_and_Law or for further information, please contact the conference convener Dr Amanda McVitty, Massey University