Dealing with the Dead: Mortality and Community in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

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Thea Tomaini, Explorations in Medieval Culture Series, Brill Publishers
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Call for Papers

Dealing With The Dead: Mortality and Community in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Call for abstracts for chapters to be included in an upcoming volume on Death and culture in Medieval and Early Modern art, history, and culture.

For people of all classes in medieval and early modern Europe death was a constant, visible presence. It was part of everyday life and there were reminders everywhere of its inevitability: injury and accidents, illness and disease, public executions, and the tragedies of death in childbirth and infant mortality. Yet, the acknowledgement of the fact of death, despite its undeniable reality, did not necessarily amount to an acceptance of its finality. Whether they were commoners, clergy, aristocrats, or kings, the dead continued to function literally as integrated members of their communities long after they lay in their graves.

From stories of revenants bringing pleas from Purgatory to the living, to the practical uses of the charnel house; from the remains of the executed on public display, to the proclamation of an aristocratic dynasty's authority over the living via its dead, we are looking for papers that discuss how communities dealt with their dead as continual, albeit non-living members. We are interested in interdisciplinary studies that illustrate unexpected situations and under-researched persons, periods, and events in art, literature, archaeology, and history. We are also interested in papers that argue against stereotypical or outdated presumptions about the relationships between the premodern dead and their fellow community members above ground. How do 21st century scholars deal with the medieval and early modern dead?

Papers are open to any discipline of the humanities and also to the disciplines of paleography and archaeology. Papers are also open medieval and early modern cultures outside Europe. We are especially interested in the Romances, France, Eastern Europe, the Islamic world, and the Early Modern period. Please send abstracts of 300 words to Thea Tomaini, University of Southern California at tmtomaini@gmail.com