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Ritual and Ceremony in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

June 29, 2017
University of Northumbria

Institute of Humanities, Lipman Building
City Campus, Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST
United Kingdom

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Recent years have witnessed a proliferation in the study of ritual and ceremony. Once considered a topic of only marginal interest, the study of medieval and early modern ritual and ceremonial practices now lies at the forefront of historical investigation; indeed, many of the most innovative works of recent years have focused on these themes. The purpose of this one-day conference is to draw together historians of medieval and early modern Europe who are working on any aspect of ritual and ceremony.

Papers are welcomed from those work on courtly or urban rituals. Indeed, towns were also the principal location for the royal rituals, such as coronations or baptisms, which were performed on the urban stage. Such events could be cohesive or divisive, fostering unity or creating dissension. While often giving the impression of immutability, ceremonial forms were constantly changing in response to contemporary needs.

This conference will cross the traditional late medieval/early modern divide to consider aspects of change and continuity in ritual and ceremonial forms. As well as examining the role of the participants in rituals, this conference also hopes to address the role of spectatorship, as all rituals and ceremonies required an audience.

The conference is not restricted to one geographical area, and submissions are encouraged from scholars working on any part of Europe. It is hoped that the conference will be interdisciplinary and will include contributions from those with interests in literature, music, etc.

Possible topics include:

  • Royal or Ducal Ceremonies (entries, baptisms, marriages, coronations, etc)
  • Financing
  • Panegyric and Print
  • Material Culture
  • Performativity
  • Childbirth, Marriage and Funerals
  • Liturgy
  • Executions and Punishments
  • Honorable Amends and Acts of Penitence
  • Ceremonial Spaces
  • Rituals and Warfare
  • Rituals of Revolt

The conference will be held at the Institute of Humanities at Northumbria University and there is no registration fee.

Please send proposals for papers to the conference organisers (Neil Murphy and Katarzyna Kosior) by 28 April 2017:

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