Graduate Conference in Medieval Studies at Princeton University War, Peace, and Religion in the Middle Ages April 13, 2013 Call for Papers

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Graduate Conference in Medieval Studies at Princeton University

War, Peace, and Religion in the Middle Ages

April 13, 2013

Call for Papers

The Program in Medieval Studies at Princeton University invites submissions for its twentieth annual graduate conference in Princeton, New Jersey.


Keynote Speaker: Brett Whalen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


War, Peace, and Religion


Throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, religion deeply influenced practices of, protests against, and debates about war. Religious difference frequently provoked medieval warfare, and was an important aspect of conflicts as diverse as the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and the Iberian peninsula, Charlemagne’s campaigns against the Saxons, and the Crusades. Religion could also spark violence and conflict on a local level: the medieval church’s fight to define and ensure orthodoxy often led to the violent suppression of supposedly heretical religious groups, while many medieval communities participated in horrific persecutions of religious minorities in their midst. Some saints, popes, and clerics instigated and directed war to further their religious and political ambitions, while many others tried to control violent conflict and promote peace. Religion’s influence on warfare also extended to academic debate and medieval literature. Theologians, exegetes, and religious writers strove to conceptualize war and peace in Christian and historical terms, and religious concerns saturated many academic and social debates over the nature, place, and utility of armed conflict in medieval Christendom.

How did religion influence the outbreak, practice, containment, and conceptualization of war in the Middle Ages? Conversely, how did war and peace – real and imagined – shape medieval religion? We invite the submission of proposals from a variety of disciplines, time periods, geographies, source materials, and methodological approaches.  Potential topics might include, but are not limited to:


* Conversion by the sword: violent conversion, enlarging Christendom through war, converting defeated armies.


* Interconfessional conflict between Christians, Jews, and Muslims: the Crusades and the Reconquista, increased interconfessional exchange as a result of the Crusades, violent persecutions of Jews.


*The holy warrior: military saints, crusading kings, military religious orders, pious knights in medieval romance.


*War in religious literature: interpreting biblical warfare, apocalyptic perspectives, theological approaches to warfare, hagiographic depictions, war and the liturgy.


*War and religion in medieval romance


* The experience of war: local religious responses to warfare, communities coping through faith, holy men and women as protectors.


* The internal war against heresy: inquisition, crusading against Christians, competing religious traditions.


* War in religious art: illuminated manuscripts, cathedrals, reliquaries, sculpture.


*Religious responses against war: religious concepts of peace, clerics and conflict resolution, saintly pacifism.


In order to support participation by speakers from outside the northeastern United States, we are offering a limited number of modest subsidies to help offset the cost of travel to Princeton. Financial assistance may not be available for every participant; funding priority goes to those who have the farthest to travel. Every speaker will have the option of staying with a resident graduate student as an alternative to paying for a hotel room.


Interested graduate students should submit abstracts of no more than 500 words to Molly Lester and Leah Klement ( by January 31st, 2013.


All applicants will be notified by February 10th, 2013. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes.

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