Call for Papers – Rule & Recreation

Postgraduate Medieval Conference
21st Annual Postgraduate Medieval Studies Conference
28 February-1 March, 2015
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol, UK


Keynote address by Alixe Bovey, University of Kent

The University of Bristol hosts the longest-running international medieval postgraduate conference in the UK. This annual event offers medievalists the opportunity to present their research and discuss ideas in an interdisciplinary setting. For our 21st year, we will be looking at two intrinsic aspects of medieval life and culture: Rule and Recreation.

Rule can be interpreted in many different ways, including legal, monarchical, or monastic. In almost ever aspect of medieval society, there were those who made the rules, those who followed them, and those who broke them entirely. Rules governed and were subverted by the less formal delights of medieval life: the recreation of games, songs, plays, storytelling, dance. A consideration of recreational experiences, across cultures and classes, provides insight into medieval life and society.

The aim of this year’s conference is to consider the way these aspects of life were separate and simultaneous, and how, together, they helped to construct the richness of the medieval world. We are interested in the way ideas of rule and recreation existed in the political sphere, the personal realm, the religious institutions, and beyond, as well as the influence of region, socio-economic status, gender and/or other factors upon these concepts. We welcome a wide range of discussion from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, from the literary and historic to the visual arts and the performative to explore how perception and practice of dependence/ independence influenced the medieval world and our understanding of it.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Law & the courts
  • Etiquette and manners
  • Monarchy and expressions of royal power
  • monastic rule and culture
  • Guilds and civic organisations
  • The arts at court and in the community
  • Games, pastimes, and traditional ritual
  • Festivals and festivities
  • Literary constructs and rules of composition

Papers must be no more than 20 minutes long. Papers welcome from current postgraduates and early career researchers.

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent by email (by preference) to

or by post:

Laura-Elizabeth Rice
The Greyfriars, Worcester, WR1 2LZ

Deadline for applications:       Friday, 28 November, 2014

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