Late medieval European court cultures have traditionally been studied from a mono-disciplinary and national(ist) perspective. This has obscured much of the interplay of cultural performances that informed “courtly life”. Recent work by medievalists has routinely challenged this, but disciplinary boundaries remain strong. The MALMECC project therefore has been exploring late medieval court cultures and the role of sounds and music in courtly life across Europe in a transdisciplinary, team-based approach that brings together art history, general history, literary history, and music history. Team members explore the potential of transdisciplinary work by focusing on discrete subprojects within the chronological boundaries 1280-1450 linked to each other through shared research axes, e.g., the social condition of ecclesiastic(s at) courts, the transgenerational and transdynastic networks generated by genetic lineage and marriage, the performativity of courtly artefacts and physical as well as social spaces, and the social, linguistic and geographic mobility of court(ier)s.
Image: Frères Limbourg, “Septembre”, Les très riches heures du duc de Berry (Chantilly, Musée Condé, Ms 65, fol. 9v).
Since the inception of the project, the MALMECC team have conducted an international project workshop dedicated to methodological innovation in late medieval studies (2017), and a series of international study days (2018-19), focussing on late medieval ecclesiastic courts, late medieval multilingualism and cultural exchanges across linguistic boundaries, and cardinals’ and papal households of Avignon as transcultural hubs. A fourth international study day probing the transnational qualities of courtly life in north-western Europe is scheduled for March 2019 in Liège (Belgium).
In the project conference, we hope to unite as many strands of court studies as possible and invite speakers from any discipline engaged with the long fourteenth century (c. 1280-1450) to join us in exploring phenomena of late medieval courtly life from a transdisciplinary angle. Submissions for papers may address (but need not be limited to) one or several of the following thematic strands:
– New and unusual methodological approaches to the study of European courts and court cultures
– Blurring anachronistic boundaries set by modern scholarship
– Consciously exploring the interstitial spaces of the sacred-secular, courtly-urban-rural, virtuous-obscene, courtly-uncourtly-pastoral
– Forging links between liturgy, sound/music and space/architecture
– Music and the senses at court
– Space and place, visibility and invisibility, hearing and overhearing, silence and noise in late medieval courtly life
– Gender, genealogies, sexualities, marriage and celibacy at secular and ecclesiastical courts
– Court careers, courtly roles and their performativity
– Court communications: speech and language, multilingualism, speaking and singing, crimes of speech and slander
– Patronage, performance and cultural productions at courts: art, literature, music and entertainment, courtly diversions and their audiences
– Memory, identity and lineage
– Courtly ecologies of sounds, bodies, materials, identities, power
– Economics of the court; the court and the city; the court and the countryside
– The geography and limits of the court: boundaries, definitions, territories, institutions
– Courtly alterity: courtly discourses on race, sexuality, (social) differences and disability
– European courts and court studies in a global context
Please send abstracts of 250-400 words to Martha Buckley, project support coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). Deadline: 5 May 2019.
See also the website: http://www.malmecc.eu/conference/