Call for papers: Experiences of Governance: Navigating Jurisdictional Spheres in the Later Middle Ages

Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London
Saturday 2 March 2013

Sponsors: Oxford Centre for Medieval History
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck College

Organisers: Tom Johnson (Birkbeck College, London)
Samantha Sagui (Fordham University)
Eliza Hartrich (Merton College, Oxford)

Keynote Speakers: Dr Ian Forrest (Oriel College, Oxford)
Prof Jelle Haemers (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars from Britain and the Continent who are interested in exploring the ways in which late-medieval people navigated the law, legal institutions, and jurisdictions.  Rather than focusing on the formal rules according to which legal and governing institutions operated, this conference highlights the practical experience of consumers of the law in later medieval Europe.  In line with the ‘new legal history’, it hopes to encourage an approach that considers legal processes in the later middle ages as a product of wider society and culture, and, in particular, to examine popular ideas of justice and order which informed litigants’ use of the legal mechanisms at their disposal.

We invite postgraduate students and early career academics to present twenty-minute papers. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The contrasting experiences of local, seigneurial, royal, and ecclesiastical jurisdictions
  • The way that consumers of the law negotiated jurisdictions, and how they formulated jurisdictional differences for their own purposes
  • Popular constructions and contestations of law and legal norms
  • Formal and informal mechanisms for social control, and the relationship between such mechanisms
  • The construction and negotiation of legal and jurisdictional boundaries

Please submit a 300-word abstract to Tom Johnson ( by 15th December 2012.

Further information can be found on our conference page at the IHR website,