Call for Papers – Medieval Anchorites in their Commumities

The 5th International Anchoritic Society Conference
Gregynog Hall, Newtown, Powys, Wales
April 22-24, 2014
Call for Papers
Medieval Anchorites in their Communities

Keynote Speakers:
Diane Watt (Surrey)
Tom Licence (UEA)
Eddie Jones (Exeter)

Much of the work undertaken in the field of medieval anchoritism, particularly within an English context, has concentrated on the vocation’s role within the history of Christian spirituality, its function as a locus of (gendered) sacred space and its extensive ideological cultural work. Indeed, in the hundred years since Rotha Mary Clay’s foundational 1914 study of  English anchoritism, The Hermits and Anchorites of England (1914), only sporadic attention has been given to the English anchorite as part of a community – whether social, intellectual, spiritual or religious – and as part of a widespread ‘virtual’ community of other anchorites and religious or ‘semi-religious’ figures spread across England and beyond.

In its focus on anchorites within their multifarious communities, this conference seeks papers attempting to unpick the paradox of the ‘communal anchorite’ and the central role often played by her/him within local and (inter)national political contexts, and within the arenas of church ideology, critique and reform.

It also seeks contributions for a Roundtable discussion on any aspect of Mary Rotha Clay’s work, its lasting legacies and the debt to her scholarship owed by new generations of scholars in the twenty-first century.

Offers of 20-minute papers are sought on any aspect of medieval anchorites in their communities including (but not restricted to):

•Spiritual circles
•Communities of discourse
•Anchoritic/lay interaction
•Anchorites and church reform
•Networks of patronage
•Networks of anchorites
•Anchorite case studies
•Anchoritic friendship groups
•Book ownership/ borrowing/ lending/ circulation
•Communities of texts: ‘anchoritic’ miscellanies/ textual travelling companions
•Textual translation, circulation and mouvance
•Non-insular influence
•Gendered communities

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to Dr Liz Herbert McAvoy at by Friday, August 30th 2013

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