CFP: ‘Rethinking Poverty in Medieval and Early Modern Europe’, Newman University, Birmingham, 30th – 31st January 2015

Deadline for Abstracts: Monday, 1 December 2014

‘Rethinking Poverty in Medieval and Early Modern Europe’,
Newman University, Birmingham,
30th – 31st January 2015.

In a period when modern media outlets and politicians continue to discuss the cost of living in our own time, historians have long appreciated the preponderance and scale of poverty in the pre-modern world. While recent scholarship has done much to enhance our understanding of the development of centralised systems of poor relief between the late-medieval and early modern periods, historians know far less about continuities in the definition, treatment or legislation of poverty across this period. As a result, the gulf separating developments of the earlier and later part of this period appear even larger and more significant in their impact.

This two-day conference seeks to address poverty over a broadly defined medieval and early modern period and will provide a forum for medieval and early modern scholars to compare and contrast developments and continuities across Europe. While medieval and early modern are deliberately broad concepts, the definition of poverty is also wide and could encompass a variety of topics. The work discussed here will augment the existing field of study by offering new ways to problematise the concept of poverty and understand the complexity of charitable giving, obligation  and kinship in the pre-modern period.

The conference provides a platform where the contributions of postgraduates, early-career researchers and established scholars exchange their ideas on an equal footing. We hope to provide a small amount of financial assistance to PhD candidates or unwaged speakers at the conference. If you would like to be considered for a postgraduate bursary (where available) please indicate so in your paper proposal.

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers on the following themes:

–       Social, theological, ethnic and physiological definitions of poverty.
–       Centralised and informal systems of charity.
–       Assessing the movement of paupers, vagrants or wage labourers.
–       Riots and unrest.
–       The impact of warfare/epidemic/crisis on poverty.

Submission Documents: 300 word abstracts and CVs to

Deadline for Abstracts: Monday, 1 December 2014

The cost of the conference is anticipated to be £150 for residential delegates and £100 for non-residential delegates including all refreshments, lunches and conference meal.

Organisers: Dr Laura Crombie (University of York) and Dr Chris Langley (Newman University, Birmingham)

Dates: 30-31 January 2015

Location: Newman University, Birmingham



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