The Medieval Church: From Margins to Centre (26-27 June 2023)

deadline for submissions: 
February 5, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Ideology, Society and Medieval Religion
contact email: 

Fifteen years ago, the Social Church workshops initiated by Ian Forrest and Sethina Watson worked to introduce the study of the Church as an active agent in medieval society: in other words, putting people at the heart of the institutional church. Two decades later, we hope to bring a similarly fresh perspective to the study of medieval religion with The Medieval Church: From Margins to Centre, a two-day conference to be held on 26–27 June 2023 at the Humanities Research Centre, University of York, with the generous support of the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Department of History (York).

This conference aims to consider the relationship between the Church and the marginalised in medieval society – minority genders and sexualities, racial minorities, disabled people, non-Christians, and the poor. How did the Church respond to, oppress, or offer opportunities to those on the margins, and how did marginalised individuals and groups exercise agency through their interactions with the institutions and mechanisms of the Church? We are interested in both the ‘positive’ – for example, how the church supported the poor, holy models of disability and transgender experience – and the ‘negative’, such as the Church’s role in the creation and maintenance of social prejudices. We welcome papers from researchers working across the medieval period (from c.400-1500) as well as different geographic regions (including papers on other denominations of Christianity, as well as the Church outside of Europe), and with disciplinary focuses including but not limited to History, Literary Studies, Art History and Archaeology.

The conference is prompted by current trends in medieval race studies, trans studies and disability studies, and aims to provide a particular platform for postgraduate and early career researchers who work in these areas. To support this aim, we plan to offer a bursary of £30 per person for up to 10 postgraduates and ECRs. If you are interested in being considered for a bursary, please indicate this when you send in your proposal. We aim to host this conference in a hybrid format, so please also indicate whether you would be interested in presenting in-person in York or online.

Please send abstracts of up to 250 words to Tim Wingard ( by no later than 5pm on Sunday 5 February 2023. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.