Monthly Archives: August 2021

Feeling Medieval: The Inaugural Conference of the Society for the Study of Medieval Emotions Call for Papers

Received from Hailey O’Harrow (University of St. Andrews) and Dr. Stephen Spencer (King’s College, London) Event Overview In 1941, Lucien Febvre called on scholars to place emotions at the very centre of their work; until they did so, he famously insisted, ‘there will be no real history possible’. Today, the ‘affective turn’ has seen the emergence of new methodologies and the destruction/adaptation of old ones; attempts to chart emotional continuities and changes over the longue durée; and a widening of geographic scope beyond western Europe. Nevertheless, the field finds itself at an important juncture, at least regarding the study of the Middle Ages: with the initial wave of scholarly interest having passed, scholars need to decide upon the most pressing research questions to be addressed, and thus the contours along which the field should develop. The history of emotions need not be only, or even primarily, about investigating past emotional experiences or standards: it can simultaneously serve as a framework to cast new light on much broader and traditional themes within medieval studies—religion, law, gender, politics, family—and thus play a far more diverse and prominent role in the historian’s toolkit by, for example, facilitating a deeper understanding of our sources. […]

Attend 50 Years of Keith Thomas’s “Religion and the Decline of Magic”

Received from Michelle Pfeffer (University of Oxford) Event takes place online:  3rd September 2021, 14:00-17:45 (BST) This year sees the 50th anniversary of Sir Keith Thomas’s masterpiece, Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971), one of the most significant British historical monographs of the last century. This short conference will celebrate and reflect on Thomas’s achievement as well as publicise new interdisciplinary work on the history of magic and religion. How to Register The event will be live streamed from All Souls College, Oxford. Due to a limit on numbers as a result of the pandemic, only a small audience will be invited to attend the conference in-person. Please register here to receive a link to the live stream. Registrations close 2 September 2021, 15:00 (BST). Organised by Michelle Pfeffer (Magdalen College, University of Oxford), Jan Machielsen (Cardiff University), and Robin Briggs (All Souls College, University of Oxford) Conference Schedule 14:00-15:30 Session 1: The Decline of Magic Today Chair: Sir Noel Malcolm Panellists: Robin Briggs, Chris Gosden, Michelle Pfeffer, Will Pooley, Laura Sangha, David Zeitlyn Registrants will be sent the written papers for this roundtable a week in advance of the conference. 16:00-17:30 Session 2: The Legacy of Religion and […]

Reflections on Contested Histories: Creating and Critiquing Public Monuments and Memorials in a New Age of Iconoclasm

by Hannah Lyons, Dr. Tomás Irish and Dr. Simon John (Swansea University) On 28 and 29 June, Swansea University hosted researchers from around the world at this online workshop. Attendees discussed the history of statues and memorials, but also posed questions about what the events of 2020 might tell us about the future. The workshop was originally scheduled for June 2020, but was postponed in light of the repercussions of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was in that month of June that protesters toppled the statue of the slavetrader Edward Colston from its plinth in Bristol. In the wake of that event, debates about controversial statues became front-page news around the world. Twelve months on, the debates uncovered by those developments in the summer of 2020 featured at the heart of this workshop. The two days of discussion and debate were informed by several linked questions. What socio-political motives underpin cultural responses to monuments? How have monuments shaped how people understand the past? How do monuments interact with the urban setting in which they stand? How do the meanings of monuments develop over time and how are they mediated? How have monuments been used to enforce political […]