Urbanity and Society c.600-1500 (22-23 May)

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Urban Studies is a sub-field with a long and distinguished history of its own. Those who investigate urban environments have, however, largely been seen as working independently from other aspects of historical study, as a consequence of the separate and distinctive role envisaged for towns and cities by feudal models of society. With the growth of less rigid models of understanding social and political relationships, it is time to rethink what urban centres meant to wider society. The ‘urban’ as an interdisciplinary topic can be brought together through discussion of all the different ways that urban life was understood, recorded and depicted as well as its physical remains. In addition to looking at the multi-faceted urban experience, this conference will examine the relationships between towns and other aspects of medieval society and culture. How might literature, art or archaeology uncover and explain perceptions of urban institutions such as, but not limited to, guilds, religious bodies or civic authorities? Are there regional differences in how the city or the town should be understood? Is there a difference between the two terms? Was this the same across Europe and the world?

This one-day conference to be held at the King’s Manor, University of York, with a public keynote lecture on the Friday aims to bring together postgraduate students and academics alike from a variety of disciplines to open up conversations and create new networks of approaches to urban topics.

For more information, see the conference website.


Friday 22nd May

Afternoon – 1700 onwards: Arrival and Registration.

18.15-19.30: Public Keynote Lecture by Dr Zoë Opačić (Birkbeck): A Tale of Three Cities: Architecture and Spectacle in Prague, Krakow and Vienna


Saturday 23rd May

10.00-12.00: Urban Élites and Community in Medieval Europe

Civic Commensality in Late-Medieval England – Dr. Dave Postles, University of Hertfordshire

Nuremberg’s Urbanity and the Rural Nobility in the Fifteenth Century – Ben Pope, Durham University

Strangers in Town: A Trade Facility for Muslims in Twelfth-Century Constantinople – Dr Jacopo Turchetto, University of Padova
14.00-16.00: Growth, Spatial Changes and Representations of Medieval Towns

Stairs, Gates and Money: The Settlement of Monastic Orders near Bridges in Imperial Cities – Jana Gajdošová, Birkbeck, University of London

Medieval Society and Urban Space: An Archaeological and Historical Approach Through a French Example: Troyes (Champagne-Ardenne) – Claire Bourguignon, University of Burgundy

City and Nation in Anglo-Norman England – Dr Daniel Gerrard, University of Oxford

4.30- 6.00: Financing trade in the fifteenth century: provincial towns and the role of London

Final Keynote from Dr Richard Goddard, University of Nottingham

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