CFP: ‘Urban Ritual and Ceremony in Pre-Modern Europe, c.1300-c.1700’, Northumbria

Closing date for proposals: 18 February 2014

‘Urban Ritual and Ceremony in Pre-Modern Europe, c.1300-c.1700’
A one-day conference to take place at Northumbria University on 29 May 2014.

Recent years have witnessed a proliferation in the study of ritual and ceremony in pre-modern European towns. Once considered a topic of only marginal interest, the study of late medieval and early modern ritual and ceremonial practices now lies at the forefront of historical investigation; indeed, many of the most innovative works of recent years have focused on these themes. The purpose of this one-day conference is to draw together urban historians of later medieval and early modern Europe who are working on any aspect of ritual and ceremony.

The development of multiple ritual and ceremonial practices in pre-modern European towns reflected the corporate nature of urban society. Such events could be cohesive or divisive, fostering unity or creating dissension. Towns were also the principal location for the royal rituals, such as coronations or baptisms, which were performed on the urban stage. While often giving the impression of immutability, urban ceremonial forms were constantly changing in response to contemporary needs.

This conference will cross the traditional late medieval/early modern divide to consider aspects of change and continuity in ritual and ceremonial forms. As well as examining the role of the participants in urban rituals, this conference also hopes to address the role of the spectators who watched the event, as all rituals and ceremonies required an audience. The conference is not restricted to one geographical area, and submissions are encouraged from scholars working on any part of Europe.

The keynote paper will be given by Dr Christian Liddy (University of Durham)

Possible topics include:

  • Rituals of Revolt
  • Guild Ceremonies
  • Royal or Ducal Ceremonies (entries, baptisms, coronations, etc)
  • Corpus Christi and other Religious Processions
  • Executions and Punishments
  • Honorable Amends and Acts of Penitence
  • Childbirth, Marriage and Funerals
  • Ceremonial Space and the Urban Environment
  • Recording Ritual and Ceremonial Practices
  • Rituals and Warfare

Please send abstracts for a 20- minute paper with a short CV to urbanritualandceremony@gmail.com by 18 February 2014
For further details, email Dr Neil Murphy (neil.murphy@northumbria.ac.uk)

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