"Law and (Dis)Order in Piers Plowman"

deadline for submissions: 
October 26, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
International Piers Plowman Society
contact email: 

This panel is part of the Medieval Colloquium at Sewanee (13-14 April 2018):


This panel, sponsored by the International Piers Plowman Society, invites papers exploring the theme of law—in all its complex manifestations—within William Langland’s Piers Plowman, as well as other poems of the Piers Plowman tradition. Questions which our panelists might address include, but are not limited to: Do civil and/or canon law play a positive role in the poem? What is the relationship between civil and canon law in the poem’s imaginary? What is the function of policing within the poem? What is the relationship between law and morality in the poem? Who is surveilled and who is not, and what does this reveal about the poem’s commitments? What do Langland’s revisions—in response to the events of 1381—tell us about the role of law and order in the poem’s ideology? How did poems of the Piers Plowman tradition re-shape Langland’s vision of the law? Panelists might address such questions from any number of perspectives, and we encourage submissions from those with expertise in canon or civil law, as well as those with expertise in Langland’s poem.

Andrew Galloway, Cornell University, will be serving as the respondent.