10 Interesting Sessions the 2019 International Medieval Congress

The programme for this year’s International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds has been released. Here are 10 sessions we think will be very interesting!

Session 128 – Gough Map: Artefact and Image – New Findings, New Questions

The full importance of the map of Britain known as the Gough Map (c. 1400) is only now beginning to emerge. A new phase of collaborative cross-disciplinary research was initiated in 2012 when a team of historians and scientists was convened to contribute to a state-of-the-art examination of the physical nature of the document (parchment, pigments), its codicology (scripts, execution), and its geographical and historical content with the aim of discovering more about the processes of its creation, origins and purpose. An interim report corrected some long-held misunderstandings while also underlining the need to investigate further its physical production and the context of its origins. The aim in the proposed panel is to point to some of the ways in which the Gough Map interconnects with many aspects of medieval studies, introduce the implications of its origins, and comment on the need for historians and scientists to work closely together in hyperspectral analysis in historical study.


Session No: 602 – Care of the Past and Care of the King in the Reigns of Edmund, Eadred, and Eadwig

This session explores the reigns of the English kings, Edmund (r. 939-946), Eadred (r. 946-955), and Eadwig (r. 955-959). It aims to bring the reigns of these often passed-over kings into the light through the re-examination of specific primary sources which produce varying representations of the past both during these kings’ reigns and also concerning these kings’ reigns – thus how the past was cared for in both Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman texts. This session will also explore the care of a king, specifically a sickly one and what that meant for the royal court. All three papers focus on these ‘lost’ 20 years and will aid in the development of a clearer picture of these decades.

Session 629 – Illicit Arms Trade: The Mediterranean and the Baltic

Weapons and other kind of material were of uttermost importance for waging wars in the Middle Ages. It was therefore necessary to attempt to control, not only the production but also the spreading and trading in arms. The present session compares the attempts to declare arms trade illicit in the Mediterranean and the Baltic, and discusses the extent of the prohibition, who took initiative to prohibit, and economic, religious, and mercantile reasons for the prohibition.


Session 811 – Ghosts, Dangerous Bodies, and the Walking Dead in the Medieval World

This session aims to explore medieval views upon death, decay, and resurrection by looking into the role of a revenant- a dead person returning back to life – in a written narrative.

Session 850 – The Medieval Student Experience: Materialised Relationships in the Medieval Universities 

This panel culminates the ongoing scholarly research from the online project ‘The Medieval Student Experience’ hosted at Queen Mary, University of London. The project provides a platform of material on medieval student life, as well as a site of invaluable resources for researchers and students. Our three papers offer insights into the varied material relationships between university and the outside world – communities women, the local authorities and other ‘studia’. All three papers touch on aspects of the curriculum, privileges and relationships of our medieval predecessors.

Session 1128 – Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Islamic Interaction in South Arabia and the Horn of Africa


The Middle Ages are commonly viewed as a time when Jews lived subordinate to either Christian or Islamic rule, as a segregated group. However, a number of Late Antique and medieval examples demonstrate that Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Islamic relations in these time periods were much more complex and varied than what is often believed to be the norm. This panel focuses on two neighboring and interconnected regions which feature some of the most unique examples of Jewish interaction with Christians and Muslims – South Arabia and the Horn of Africa.

Session 1303 – The Dark Side of Digitization: How Virtual Collections Shape Research

Manuscript digitization helps to conserve and disseminate collections while enabling new forms of analysis. There are many successful initiatives: the Bibliotheca Laureshamensis, the Codices Electronici Sangallenses, the Bibliothèque virtuelle du Mont Saint-Michel… Yet digitization also has its dark side: there are issues of representativity (what manuscripts are digitized, and why?), of distortion (to what extent do photographic images reproduce a manuscript?), and of interpretation (what are the hidden assumptions and interpretative models behind quire formulas, dating, and other forms of metadata?). This session seeks to delve deeper on these issues, focusing on the question of how virtual collections shape research.

Session 1427 – Dolphins: A Round Table Discussion

Like at previous IMCs, the Medieval Animal Data-Network organizes a round table concentrating on one animal and its position and perception in the medieval world. This year, it is the dolphin, an animal that could, on the one hand, be well known by the inhabitants of certain European regions, on the other hand, however, a sea dweller about whom one did not know much. The discussants, in the panel as well as, to be hoped, in the audience, will include historians of culture, literature, and religion, art historians, and zooarchaeologists.


Session 1414 – More Myths of the Crusades: A Follow up to Seven Myths of the Crusade – A Round Table Discussion 

As a follow up to the 2015 book Seven Myths of the Crusades, five crusade historians, including junior, mid-level, and senior scholars, will come together to discuss additional modern myths about the medieval crusades. Among the topics that will be considered are the ‘younger sons’ thesis, crusading and colonialism, anti-crusade sentiment among Greeks in the late Byzantine and post Byzantine periods, the mislabeling of the residents of the crusader states as ‘crusaders’, and myths related to idea of the knight crusader.

Session 1744 – Precious Pastimes: Music and Entertainments for Regular and Secular Nobility

During the Middle Ages, carving wood, creating metal and painted decorations were made by workers of a lower social status for regular and secular nobility. Some sources explaining either their methodology or the acquisition of objects made with noble materials, like precious wood or metal. Such objects were made either to be played or to be shown as objects of power in private and public spaces which were used to show their religious or political power. In this session, we will focus on the technique to realize games, organs and ornaments, on their use as distinctive signs of the power and of the identity of their owner. Finally, we will show how they were used in spaces as part of the day-life and of rituals. Our topics will focus on the reception and on the use of materials by the nobility in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Click here to learn more about all the sessions at the IMC.


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