Approaches to Late Medieval Court Records
Workshop Durham University 30th June 2017
Records of crime and disputes offer us some of the most intriguing insights into the premodern past. As one of the few types of source material which purports to record the actual speech and behaviour of individuals, they can seem to speak to us directly from the page – an illusion which sparked fascination with early microhistorical classics such as Montaillou, but which has subsequently prompted the emergence of a more cautious historiography engaged with their methodological challenges. Over the last thirty years a newer body of work has continued to demonstrate the enormous potential of court records for numerous avenues of enquiry, whether into practices of memory, gender, subjectivity, emotion, vengeance, feuding, honour, the history of legal institutions, and others.
This workshop invites proposals from scholars at any stage of their career working on all aspects of late medieval court records, whether secular or ecclesiastical, with an interest in methodological issues pertaining to them. Questions we seek to pursue include: how do we define and access the truths or realities presented through records of disputes and crime? How did contemporaries use these documents to interact with each other, to create truths and to shape the reality of the world around them? And how should historians approach the images they present us with?
This day-long workshop will bring together participants to discuss pre-circulated drafts of papers and to reflect upon the issues raised above, as well as other questions which arise during the event. Papers submitted prior to the event need be no longer than 5000 words, and need not be in a final version. Participants will later be invited to submit their work to the organisers as part of an edited collection to be proposed for Amsterdam University Press’s series, Premodern Crime and Punishment. There will also be opportunities outside the workshop to take part in visits to areas of historic interest in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Durham Castle and Cathedral.
Some funding will be available to support travel and accommodation costs, for which participants are encouraged to get in contact with the organisers.
Please send responses no later than 30th March to:
Frans Camphuijsen firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Page email@example.com