CALL FOR PAPERS: International Congress on Medieval Studies 2016, Special Session: Medieval Settlement and Landscape in Modern Ireland & Britain

Deadline: 1 September 2015

The 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies takes place May 12-15, 2016.
Proposals are invited for 15 to 20-minute papers from any field or theoretical approach relating to medieval settlement and landscapes. Potential papers can relate to any of the issues made in the CFP below, or may consider a related topic. Please send abstracts of around 300 words and a brief bio to session organizer Vicky McAlister, Southeast Missouri State University, by Sept. 1, 2015.

Probably the most striking aspect of the proposed paper session is its inherently interdisciplinary composition. Medieval settlement and landscape studies have combined theories and techniques from a variety of disciplines, most overtly those of history, archaeology and geography. A significant question tackled by this session therefore is: How do these intellectual approaches inform one another? Ireland and Britain is a neat geographical concentration, with their intertwined histories, but also in terms of historiography. Papers that can make links, however, between Ireland and Britain and the outside world are encouraged. Implicit in the session title is the issue of context. Settlement and landscape studies often take a ‘bottom up’ approach to look at the impact wide sections of medieval society had on their physical context. They provide necessary background upon which to contextualise events and changes from the middle ages. This session will also discuss new technologies for studying the middle ages. In particular, the contributions of GIS and LIDAR to our understanding of the historic landscape could be discussed. At the same time, technical jargon should be avoided so as to make the session as relevant to as many scholars as possible. Finally, as stated in the session title, the papers will consider the place of medieval landscapes in the modern world. Heritage preservation is an issue for all practitioners in the field. On the flip side, it provides a means of interaction with the public. Presenters will be urged to consider this positioning of the medieval within the modern.

Further details will be published at

The congress is an annual gathering of around 3,000 scholars interested in medieval studies. It features more than 550 sessions of papers, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops, and performances. There are also some 90 business meetings and receptions sponsored by learned societies, associations, and institutions. The exhibits hall boasts nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers, and purveyors of medieval sundries. The congress lasts three and a half days, extending from Thursday morning until Sunday at noon.