‘Race’, Law and Group Identity in Medieval Europe – deadline 2 April 2021

Date / time
Date(s) - 6 September - 7 September
9:00 am - 6:30 pm


CALL FOR PAPERS:‘Race’, Law and Group Identity in Medieval Europe

Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland (in association with Swansea University, UK)

6 and 7 September 2021

This will be an interdisciplinary conference welcoming historians, art historians, archaeologists, literary scholars and sociologists. It will discuss the complex relationships that existed between any of the following elements: (1.) medieval ‘race’ –here problematized as constructed variously in relation to biological, ethnic, linguistic or even proto-national elements–; (2.) laws directly or indirectly governing perceived ‘racial’ or other identity groups; and (3.) the formation and perpetuation of ‘racial’ or other group identities.

The later medieval processes of colonization at the European ‘peripheries’ (e.g. Wales, Ireland, Prussia, Livonia, reconquest Spain, the Levant, etc.), of increasing legal consciousness and litigiousness, and of growing self-awareness among literary and political communities transformed the social and political landscape of medieval Europe. These changes were reflected in both core and peripheral areas. This conference shall cast the widest possible net to bring together exciting new perspectives on these processes and their outcomes, broadly conceived.

Indicative approaches to ‘race’, law and group identity include:

  • colonization; urbanization
  • urban and spiritual space
  • integration/assimilation; rebellion
  • minority suppression
  • self-expression
  • material culture
  • contemporary group characterizations.

Proposals: We invite proposals for 20 minute student papers and 30 minute academic papers (abstracts of 250 words)• Proposals should be emailed to Dr Matthew Stevens m.f.stevens@Swansea.ac.uk by 5pm on 2 April 2021.

keynote speakers:

  • Monday 6 September, Professor Deborah Youngs (Swansea University) and,
  • Tuesday 7 September, Professor Andrzej Janeczek (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw).Languages: English and German (with English translation).

Venue: Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland. It is envisaged that this will be an in-person event. Should widespread covid-19 travel restrictions remain in October 2021, the event will be moved online.

Costs: Funding is currently being organized, but speakers should expect it to cover only travel and accommodation within Poland. Non-presenting delegates should expect to pay a modest conference fee, with a reduction or waver for PhD Students.

This conference is to be held in connection with Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej) grant no. PPN/ULM/2019/1/00033/U/00001, ‘Ethnicity, law, urban development and identity: a comparative study of medieval Wales and Prussia’