McCord Centre for Landscape

Event items

Power and Place in the Middle Ages

Medieval Settlement Research Group Spring Conference 2017.

Date/Time: 29 - 30 April 2017

Venue: Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.

The events of the past year have been a reminder of the importance of power and its unpredictability as an agent of social and material change. How societies choose to govern themselves, or how those in power choose to govern, has consequences which pervade all levels of society. This conference therefore seeks to examine the role of power in the history of medieval settlements and landscapes.

We invite proposals for individual papers of 30 minutes in length examining the conference theme of ‘Power and Place in the Middle Ages’.

The conference will be an interdisciplinary event and the conference organisers welcome proposals from across the full range of academic disciplines.

Discussion topics

Possible topics for inclusion (although we are also happy to receive additional papers on the broader subject of Power and Place):

  • the role played by secular and religious power and institutions in the formation and history of medieval settlements and landscapes
  • power and the formation of social and individual identity within medieval communities
  • representations of, and the construction of, power through the manipulation of settlement and landscape
  • the role played by material culture and literary and visual culture in the social construction of power in the Middle Ages
  • theoretical approaches to understanding power and the formation of social and individual identity in pre-modern societies.

The term power as considered here, is not simply referring to political or institutional power, nor should it be only be equated with coercion and domination. Power, be it cultural, political or economic, provides opportunity for some, restricts others, while othersare able and willing to resist power. Hence, the interplay between those with power, and those without, is complex and subject to constant renegotiation. Furthermore, how we seek to define power and understand its effects, be it in terms of individual agency or social structures, lies at the heart of our conception of the individual and society, and the nature of social and material change.

Submitting a paper

Papers are invited from both established scholars and from postgraduate scholars having completed the first year of a PhD. Please submit a title and 200-abstract to by 28 February 2017.

Further information

The Medieval Settlement Research Group is a multi-disciplinary group that facilitates collaboration between archaeologists, historians, geographers and other interested parties dedicated to developing understanding of settlement between the fifth and sixteenth centuries AD. Further information on the group and forthcoming events can be found at

For further information on the call for papers and the conference please contact Benjamin Morton.