Jesús Ángel Solórzano-Telechea's picture
Call for Papers
September 30, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Atlantic History / Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Urban History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

In this conference we will focus on the social use of urban space in the late medieval period, an era in which (the spatial centre of) many of the present-day European towns was shaped. It wants to study how urban space was produced, constrained, and defined between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries with a comparative European perspective.


International Meetings of the Middle Ages in Nájera have been proposed as an international congress in the field of study and dissemination of Medieval History since 2003.

This NEIM 2021 edition will take place in an offsite virtual environment, due to COVID'19.


Social theory and historical research about the use of space in towns has shown that the production of space was a gradual process. Urban space is not simply a demarcated arena, bound perhaps by something substantial like a wall and shaped by a built environment, but it was also the result of an on-going process of production. The memory of a physical border, cultural traditions of citizens, and social practices taking place within the city shaped urban space. The key to understanding this ordering powerlines in the concept of relational space, which is fundamental to understanding cultural transfers. Space is not a rigid container, but rather the result of construction processes and thus relational. Relational space emerges through connections between various objects, people, concepts, rules and places, which is also a fundamental concept to understanding cultural transfers. Thus, it has physical and social or cultural components. Furthermore, it was born of customs and laws but also driven by the demands of the streets. Space was 'lived' and produced by the people living in towns.

In this conference we will focus on the social use of urban space in the late medieval period, an era in which (the spatial centre of) many of the present-day European towns was shaped. It wants to study how urban space was produced, constrained, and defined between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries with a comparative European perspective. In this period, citizens challenged the power of territorial and ecclesiastical lords, and therefore urban communities acquired authority within certain spatial boundaries. But also within city walls space was highly contested. Spaces there became highly differentiated, laden with specific, if multiple meanings that could both signal and confer identity, status, and authority. Political contest, social change, and cultural constructions not only took place 'in urban space', but also produced space and emerged from prior spatial productions or constructions. The performance of rituals, prestigious building activities, the public punishment of citizens, etc. were the symbolic and spatial expression of the urban community, both acquiring power from its location and at the same time conferring power on that space.

Much of this has been studied from a top-down perspective: royal and ecclesiastical authorities, regional lords, or mighty urban families have defined urban space. Yet, recent research has shown that the bottom-up perspective is a valid one as well: ordinary citizens gave meaning to the places in which they lived, they created market space for economic activities, and they constructed houses or organized the cleaning and safety control of neighborhoods. This conference wants to combine both perspectives. Sometimes the interests of commoners collided with those of the authorities (for instance when military needs forced them to undertake important building activities), on other occasions social conflict arose about the use of space (for instance when citizens appropriated space during political or religious conflicts). As a result, this conference is not so much about how the urban space looked like, but more about how it was shaped, used and lived by citizens, both the governors of towns as well as their inhabitants.

Main topics

We want to study:

  • how spatial constructions are appropriated by people;
  • how social and economic practices confer rights on the users of space;
  • how people acquire power through the ritual use of space;
  • how urban communities define and defend themselves with building activities;
  • how urban elites and ordinary citizens governed and organized urban neighborhoods;
  • how existing spatial configurations determine the course of political contests, and vice versa;
  • how institutions and governance processes influenced and modified waterfronts in port cities;
  • how were the social uses of port spaces.
  • how cultural manifestations change the meaning of space;
  • how gendered the use of space could be.
Submission guidelines

Historians, PhD researchers and Graduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts for research presentations or posters on topics related to The social use of space in the late medieval European town.

Abstracts should be no more than 500 characters and should clearly state the purpose, thesis, sources, methodology, and principal findings of the paper to be presented. All abstracts and a short CV (250 words) should be submitted electronically to NEIM 2021 at: neim@unican.es

Successful proposals will be published in 2022 after the peer reviewed process.

The deadline for submissions will be September 30th, 2021.

The scientific languages of the meetings are Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Italian.

All presentations will be made through the virtual platform TEAMS.

The texts of the power points must be in English.

Each presentation may be a maximum of 20 minutes long

You will be informed on the acceptance of your presentation per mail no later than October 20th 2021

Registration and attendance

This year’s virtual meeting provides the utmost flexibility for members to connect in ways never before possible, explore ideas, and actively learn in a new online environment.

Participants should send:  name, surname/s, address, e-mail to: neim@unican.es

The deadline for registration will be on November 25th, 2021.

We invite you to join us!

  • Jesús Ángel Solórzano Telechea. Universidad de Cantabria
  • Jelle Haemers. University of Leuven
Organising committee
  • María Álvarez Fernández, Universidad de Oviedo
  • Iñaki Bazán Díaz, Universidad de País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
  • Inazio Conde Mendoza, Universidad de Cantabria
  • Gilberto Fernández Escalante, Universidad de Cantabria
  • José Damián González Arce, Universidad de Murcia
  • Cristian Rivero Zerpa. Universidad de Cantabria
  • Nena Vandeweerdt. Universidad de Lovaina (KULeuven) / Universidad de Cantabria
Scientific committee
  • Amélia Aguiar Andrade. Universidade Nova de Lisboa
María Asenjo González. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Raphaela Averkorn. Universität Siegen
  • Iñaki Bazán Díaz. Universidad del País Vasco/ Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
  • Michel Bochaca. Université de La Rochelle
  • Roman Czaja. Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu / University Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun
  • David Ditchburn. Trinity College Dublin
Ariel Guiance. CONICET-Universidad de Córdoba de Argentina
  • Jelle Haemers. Universiteit Leuven
  • Ricardo Izquierdo Benito. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
  • Juan Francisco Jiménez Alcázar. Universidad de Murcia
  • Christian Liddy. University of Durham
  • Denis Menjot. Université de Lyon II
  • Germán Navarro Espinach. Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Giuliano Pinto. Universitá degli studi di Firenze
  • Sarah Rees Jones. University of York
  • Ana María Rivera Medina. Universidad Nacional a Distancia UNED
  • Teófilo F. Ruiz. University of California-Los Ángeles
  • Vicente Salvatierra Cuenca. Universidad de Jaén
  • Louis Sicking. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam / Universiteit Leiden
  • Urszula Sowina. Polska Akademia Nauk /Polish Academy of Sciences. Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology
  • Ma Isabel del Val Valdivieso. Universidad de Valladolid
  • Hermínia Vilar. Universidade de Evora



Contact Info: 

Jesús Ángel Solórzano Telechea
E-mail: neim [at] unican [dot] es

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