Borders are difficult to define, yet they have tangible resonance at various levels. Their function is ambivalent as they allow both alienation and integration. In the Middle Ages the situation was even more intricate, so much so that there are scholars who even deny the existence of boundaries in this era. Nevertheless, the role of borders in shaping particular critical events, such as political-religious conflict, the development of national kingship and the spreading of disease, is undeniable. It is also evident how these events have, in turn shaped or modified such borders.
This Call Papers aims at putting together a series of interdisciplinary sessions that will examine the ambivalent function of borders, how they worked, what they implied, how they were created, (trans)formed and moved. The sessions will foster a cross-disciplinary approach and will follow three interconnected main thematic strands examining different kinds of borders:
- Geographical borders which include concepts such as insularity; periphery; regional networks; continents; regional boundaries; feudalism; the rising of national identities and national kingship; invasions; conflict and integration; development of social, ethnic and national identities; hybrid frontier cultures and languages; multilingualism and multiculturalism; the symbolic function of borders; moral, cultural and social barriers; etc
- Permeable and moveable borders include travel, pilgrimage, migration; the function of small islands as borderlands with a pivotal role in migration, conquest and integration; the role of geographic, socio-political and cultural borders in the spreading of epidemics;
- Intellectual borders include the social significance of knowledge (literary, scientific, medical, etc) as an element of cross-border integration and as a way to understand cross-cultural and trans-border relations, as well as the role of borders in its circulation; textual transmission and manuscript circulation; how borders influence the production, distribution and use of knowledge, trans-border relations among monastic centres and scriptoria.
Topics of Interest include but are not limited to:
- All the fields of Germanic Philology, including Old and Middle English, Old Norse, Icelandic, Lombard, Gothic, etc;
- Celtic Studies;
- Medieval Islamic Studies
- Geography and Cartography;
- History of Science and History of Medicine; Landscape Epidemiology;
- Sociology; Anthropology; Human Geography.
Please, send abstracts of 250-300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 5th of September 2021.
Organisers: Dr Elisa Ramazzina (University of Oxford and Queen’s University Belfast); Professor Karen Pinto