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Religion pervaded the medieval city and the lives of its citizens. Indeed, the city was frequently, in one way or another, crucial in the expansion of different religions, perhaps most notably Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Cities harboured their first religious communities and their principal buildings in turn giving rise to topographies of the sacred comprising specific establishments associated both with serving the spiritual needs of the faithful and with accommodating various forms of religious life, all of which mediated and facilitated divine favour. In addition to the sacralisation of space, time itself underwent a parallel transformation becoming delineated by a calendar of feast-days and acts of worship commemorating the most important moments in each religious tradition and frequently highlighting feast-days especially connected to a particular host or home city and the powers there established. Such “urban” feasts could include celebration of the city’s celestial patrons and the most important events in its history – occasions capable of galvanizing an entire community. Further, differentiated time was imposed, guiding daily life between days of work and days dedicated to God which were to be sanctified and which included moments of exultation and exuberance, contrasting with times of penance.
The city was also the place of demonstrations of dissent and the presence of religious minorities, which both ecclesiastical and lay powers tried to contain and control, thereby preserving the power of the prevailing religious orthodoxy. At the same time, religion became an arena in which competing powers sought to affirm and legitimise themselves, a place of dispute over the possession of goods – sacred or profane -, of contests over offices and benefices, and of strategies aimed at achieving exclusive access to and dominion over sacred powers in broader strategic manoeuvring. There were also squabbles over congregations, influence, spaces, and times, which involved a variety of actors qualified to intercede both for the living and for the dead (and to perpetuate the memories of the latter), including monks, canons, mendicant orders, secular clergy, and even hermits or “religious women.”
The subject of religiosity in the medieval urban world encompasses a great multiplicity of themes which readily mingle the Christian, Islamic and Jewish worlds in seeking to understand how religion shaped the way in which the civic space was constructed and understood, the powers that converged in it, and the rituals and practices that guided the daily lives of inhabitants.
Accordingly, this year (2023) on 5th -7th October, the Institute of Medieval Studies (FCSH; Nova University, Lisbon) and the City Council of Castelo de Vide will host the VIII International Conference on the Middle Ages, entitled: Religions in Medieval Urban Europe. With a focus on Christian, Islamic and Jewish Europe, researchers from any scientific discipline (History, Archaeology, History of the Art, Literature, among others) are invited to present proposals for sessions and/or individual presentations suitable for inclusion in the following thematic panels:
1. Topography of the sacred in the urban space: rhythms and strategies of implantation, spaces, constructions.
2. Materiality of religious life and its impact on the urban space: places of worship, conventual dependencies and enclosures, strategies for heritage management.
3. Religious institutions and their impact on urban religious life: preaching and teaching, sacramental life, welfare practices, devotions, intercession for the dead.
4. Faces of religion: religious institutions and their members
5. Intervention of power in religious life: strategies and tensions.
6. Memory of the dead and the logics of social affirmation in the urban context: spaces, practices and strategies of inhumation and sponsorship.
7. Different forms of religious life in the medieval city
8. Experience of religious spaces in the city.
9. Confraternal practice and charity in the medieval urban context
10. Pilgrimages and religious feasts in the city
11. Religious art in urban contexts
12. Religion and the city: representations in medieval memorial texts
13. Religious minorities in different urban contexts
14. Religions in urban contexts: coexistence, tensions, and conflicts
15. Religious dissent and contestation in the city
16. Proposals for religious reform in the city
17. Religions in medieval Castelo de Vide
The Conference will comprise 4 plenary sessions featuring researchers invited by the organizing committee, along with separate thematic panels. Each panel will be made up of three paper presentations and will be 60 minutes long. Researchers wishing to participate are requested to submit proposals for whole panels and/or individual papers, the latter being arranged by the organizing committee into coherent panels. The Conference includes a full cultural program with guided tours, Conference Dinner, and a public Book Launch to present the published volume which brings together a selection of articles gathered from the VII International Conference of the Middle Ages and the Autumn School of October 2022.
Please note, the working languages of the Conference are: Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English.
- Filomena Andrade (Universidade Aberta), “As Ordens Mendicantes na construção da cidade medieval”.
- Maribel Fierro (Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales – CSIC) , “Disidencia religiosa y contestación en las ciudades de al-Andalus”.
- Maxime l’Héritier ( Université Paris 8)
Adelaide Millán Costa (U. Aberta)
Alberto García Porras (U. Granada)
Antonio Collantes de Terán (U. de Sevilha)
Antonio Malpica Cuello (U. de Granada)
Arnaldo de Sousa Melo (U. do Minho)
Beatriz Arizaga Bolumburu (U. de Cantábria)
Catarina Tente (U. Nova de Lisboa)
Chris Wickham (U. of Oxford)
David Igual Luis (U.de Castilla-La Mancha)
Denis Menjot (U. Lyon 2)
Dominique Valérian (U. Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Eloísa Ramirez Vaquero (U. Pública de Navarra)
Emilio Martín Gutiérrez (U. de Cadiz)
Giovanna Bianchi (U. of Siena)
Gregoria Cavero Domínguez (U. de León)
Hermenegildo Fernandes (U. Lisboa)
Hermínia Vilar (U. Évora)
Iria Gonçalves (U. Nova de Lisboa)
Isabel del Val Valdivieso (U. de Valladolid)
Jean Passini (EHESS-Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales)
Jean-Luc Fray (U. Clermont Auvergne)
Jesús Solórzano Telechea (U. de Cantábria)
José Augusto Sottomayor-Pizarro (U. Porto)
José Avelino Gutiérrez González (U. de Oviedo)
José Manuel Nieto Soria (U. Complutense de Madrid)
Juan Vicente Garcia-Marsilla (U. de València)
Leslie Brubaker (U. of Birmingham)
Louis Sicking (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam/Universiteit Leiden)
Luísa Trindade (U. de Coimbra)
María Asenjo González (U. Complutense de Madrid)
Maria Helena da Cruz Coelho (U. de Coimbra)
Maria João Branco (U. Nova de Lisboa)
Mário Barroca (U. do Porto)
Michel Bochaca (U. de La Rochelle)
Pere Verdés Pijuan (IMF-CSIC)
Peter Clark (U. de Helsínquia)
Philippe Bernardi (U. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, LAMOP)
Raphaella Averkorn (U. Siegen)
Santiago Macias (U. Nova de Lisboa) –
Sara Prata (U. Nova de Lisboa)
Sauro Gelichi (U. Ca ‘Foscari de Veneza)
Stéphane Péquignot (École Pratique des Hautes Études/Université PSL)
Wim Blockmans (U. de Leiden)
Amélia Aguiar Andrade (IEM | NOVA FCSH)
Gonçalo Melo da Silva (IEM | NOVA FCSH)
Patrícia Martins (CMCV)
Mariana Pereira (IEM | NOVA FCSH)
Ricardo Cordeiro (IEM | NOVA FCSH)
Scholarships to be awarded by IEM:
The Institute for Medieval Studies will give scholarships to cost the conference fees. Applications will be reviewed by the organizing committee. It will be considered the academic merits of the candidates and the reasons expressed in the motivation letter.
Applicants must send the following documents to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org :
1) Curriculum vitae
2) Motivation letter (1 page, A4)
3) Paper proposal (relevance of the proposal for the knowledge of the conference theme. (max. 1 A4 page)
Supporters: IEM – NOVA FCSH; CMCV; FCT; NOVA FCSH
The organization will provide transport by coach for speakers from campus NOVA-FCSH-Castelo de Vide-campus NOVA-FCSH.
The registration pack for speakers includes coach transport from Lisbon Airport – Castelo de Vide – Lisbon Airport, lunch during conference days, guided tour of Castelo de Vide and Conference Dinner.
Deadline for proposals for panels and papers: until 30th April
Panels, Papers and Posters acceptance: 7 May
Speakers (general): 70 €
University students (undergraduates, MA and PhD): 50 €
IEM integrated researchers and students at NOVA FCSH: 40 €
Conference E-mail: email@example.com