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Past events

Birkbeck Medieval Seminar 2015 - Paying for Prayer: The Later Medieval Chapel

  • Alastair Bennett, Royal Holloway, University of London. ‘Preaching in the Great Hall in Piers Plowman’.
  • Isabel Davis, Birkbeck College, University of London. 'Kneeling and Naming: Lady Margaret Hungerford's Chantry Aesthetic'.
  • Kate Giles, University of York. 'Corporate chapels and individual interests: Hugh Clopton and the Stratford-upon-Avon Holy Cross Guild Chapel'.
  • Anne E. Lester, University of Colorado at Boulder. 'Praying Privately in Public: The Rise and Function of the Private Chapel in Northern France, 1200-1350'.


Birkbeck Medieval Seminar 2014: Marjery Kemp at 80

Birkbeck Medieval Seminar 2013: Landscape and Belief

    When? 27 April, 10am-5pm 
    Where? Rooms G15 and G16, Main Building, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX

    Taking inspiration from the philosophy of phenomenology, scholars of medieval history, literature and archaeology have begun exploring the intimate connections between human society and landscape.

    Phenomenologists have envisaged existence as a constant process of being-in-the-world, whereby human relationships are forged through socially and culturally constructed landscapes. From this perspective, to understand a society we must also understand the social and cultural meanings it attached to landscape and the way these meanings changed over time. Because the social and cultural meanings of past landscapes leave traces in both textual and material culture, this is necessarily an inter-disciplinary exercise in which a range of different but complementary methodologies can be applied.

    The Birkbeck Medieval Seminar 2013 will focus on the connections between landscape and belief as well as the methodologies for analyzing those connections. It will do so through presentations from four outstanding scholars working in different disciplines.


    • John Blair (Queen’s College, University of Oxford)
    • Stefan Brink (University of Aberdeen)
    • Catherine Clarke (University of Southampton)
    • Alfred Hiatt (Queen Mary, University of London)

    Download the full programme here.

12 March, 2011 - Medieval Shakespeare: The Cultural Politics of Periodisation

Conference: Faith and Inwardness in the Middle Ages: Saturday 19 June 2010

Rethinking Medieval Marriage: 23 May 2009

  • Glenn Burger (Queens College and Graduate Center, City University of New York), In the Merchant’s Bedchamber
  • Emma Lipton (University of Missouri), John Gower’s Politics of Marriage
  • Shannon McSheffrey (Concordia University, Montreal), Marriage by Ravishment in Fifteenth-Century England
  • Pamela Sheingorn (Baruch College and Graduate Center, City University of New York), Embodied Meaning in Images of the Married Life of Mary and Joseph
  • Respondent: Isabel Davis (Birkbeck College, London)
  • For further information: Isabel Davis

The Politics of Speech in Late Medieval England: Saturday 8 March 2008

  • Susie Phillips, Northwestern University The Trouble with Gossip in Late Medieval England
  • Sandy Bardsley, Moravian University Scolding Women and Reproaching Men: Speech and Gender in Post-Plague England
  • Marion Turner, Jesus College Oxford Seeking the News: Parliament, Reportage, and Control in Ricardian England
  • Andy Wood, University of East Anglia The politics of speech and silence in Tudor England
  • Paul Strohm, Columbia University Response

Doggerel: Disesteemed Verse in the Middle Ages: 10 March 2007

  • A one-day conference at Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX 10am-5pm
  • Clare Lees (Kings College, London) ‘Nonsense Verse?’
  • Nicola McDonald (University of York) ‘Fragments of Desire’
  • Anthony Bale (Birkbeck College, London) ‘Doggerel and Dirty Linen: Lydgate’s Tretise for Lauandres in its Contexts’
  • Julia Boffey (Queen Mary College, London) ‘“Mysse-masche, dryff-draff’: Doggerel and Burlesque in Middle English Verse’
  • Organised by Dr Isabel Davis.

Gender and Labour in late Medieval England (11th March 2006)

  • Caroline Barron, 'Labour and Gender in the Medieval London Workforce: The 'Golden Age' Reconsidered'
  • Andrew Butcher, ‘Labour and Gender: Towards a Fifteenth-Century Imaginary Urban Ethnography’
  • Catherine Batt, ‘Work, Gender, and the Academic’
  • Jeremy Goldberg, 'Adam, Eve and the Angry Man: Some Thoughts on the Gender Division of Labour in Late Medieval England'

Saracens, Islam and Medieval England: 12 March 2005

Fornaldarsögur: Sagas of Ancient Times (26 February 2005)

  • Carl Phelpstead, 'Is Yngvars saga víðförla a fornaldarsaga?'
  • Richard North, 'The Riddles of Gestumblindi in Heiðreks saga: a tale from Denmark?'
  • Rory McTurk, 'A wimp in spite of himself: the case of Sigurðr Völsungr'
  • David Ashurst, 'Wagner, Morris and the Volsungs'
  • Ralph O'Connor, 'Stjörnu-Odda draumr and Icelandic legendary storytelling'
  • For further details contact Dr Alison Finlay.

St Edmund: Royalty, Martyrdom, Masculinity (28 February 2004)

  • An interdisciplinary one-day conference on representations of St Edmund from the early middle Ages to the Early Modern period.

Faith and Inwardness in the Middle Ages