Monasticism and Lordship – Annual Leeds Postgraduate Monasticism Conference

May 17-18, 2013

The wealth and prestige of monastic institutions during the medieval period (c. 400–c. 1500) ensured that they occupied a central place in their socio-political landscape. However, their unique institutional characteristics, derived from ecclesiastical privilege and spiritual primacy, meant that they were not merely an imitation of their secular counterparts, nor were they dealt with on exactly the same terms as secular landholders. Some issues arising from this are whether religious lordship differed in nature from the secular, what distinctive contributions the regular clergy made to their socio-political scene and how the exercise of lordship was integrated into consecrated life. To address these points, this conference aligns secular activity with the religious world, and vice versa, by concentrating on points of interaction and the mechanics governing them. Principal items for consideration are:

  • The role of religious houses in the administration of estates, as lords or tenants, and the problems confronting them
  • Comparison between the material culture of secular and religious lordship
  • The socio-politics of benefactions to religious houses
  • ‘Social services’ offered by religious houses, their beneficiaries and practicalities; e.g. burial, hospitality, education, medical care
  • Lay proprietorship over religious houses and its effect on the religious community, such as the entrance of ruling elites into religious life
  • The role of monasteries and regular clergy in contrast/conjunction with institutions of secular lordship, e.g. castles or borough-towns
  • Navigation through the paradox arising from vows of poverty and exigencies of lordship; perceptions of this process

Held over two days at Leeds University, this conference will assess the intertwined nature of two important historiographical themes. The approach is wholly inter-disciplinary, and we encourage contributions from participants of any disciplinary background (e.g. archaeological, literary theoretical, art historical, historical or sociological perspectives). Interested parties should send a 300 word abstract for a twenty minute paper to Alternative proposals for one-hour sessions are most welcome, such as joint papers or panelled debates. Proposals should be submitted no later than 31 January 2013.

Please visit the Leeds Monasticism Conference website for more information

(via Medievalists)