CFP: Between heaven and everyday world. Knowledge and Community from the High Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era

June 7-8, 2018, University of Klagenfurt/Austria

Call for papers

Between heaven and everyday world. Knowledge and Community from the High Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era

(7–8 June 2018, conference venue: Stiftungssaal K.0.0.1, University of Klagenfurt/Austria)

Life in a community shapes the cultural expressions of the Middle Ages in manifold ways, be these in literature and the arts, in the religious context, or in the realm of science.

References to knowledge and frequent adaptations of knowledge horizons play a significant role in this; they can support community and can also be of existential relevance when salvation itself is at stake. Consequently, communities rely on coherent stocks of knowledge, on authorities and on tried and tested interpretation models. They are prone to a didactically governed form of controlling knowledge and passing it on, both in the highly abstract sphere of theoretical knowledge and in instances of application-oriented knowledge.

The conference aims to examine the diverse medieval communities – these being urban, political, social, and religious – and their knowledge management, their modes of transferring knowledge, as well as their educational ideals and their systematizing discourses.

Attention will be focused on 1) the arts and sciences, 2) the social and cultural aspects of knowledge (e.g. religious orders, elites), 3) the contemporary methodology and the processes of knowledge organisation, 4) the reflection upon knowledge, 5) transfer activities.

Specifically, the following shall serve as starting points for the intended approach:

  • education and training in schools, universities and monasteries
  • scholarly profession, experts, laity
  • knowledge of salvation, knowledge of virtue, ordo knowledge
  • canon and normalisation, accumulation and criticism
  • techniques, for instance the art of memory – what role does it play in communal life, e.g., as part of rhetoric and catechesis? How is the teaching’s dialectic of secrecy and dissemination arranged? –
  • literary or respectively theatrical knowledge negotiations and their poetic methods (allegories or metaphors)
  • types of text conveying knowledge (treatises, chronicles, sermons, university notes, didactic literature)
  • artistic methods (visuality)
  • artefacts as bearers of knowledge

Since the recent years have witnessed the publication of a considerable number of proceedings and monographs, dealing specifically with learning and knowledge in the early Middle Ages or, respectively, in the monastic culture (Rolf H. Bremmer/Kees Dekker [ed.]: Foundations of Learning, 2007; Rolf H. Bremmer/Kees Dekker [ed.]: Practice in Learning, 2010; Sita Steckel: Kulturen des Lehrens im Früh- und Hochmittelalter, 2011; Concetta Giliberto/Loredana Teresi [ed.]: Limits to Learning, 2013; Julia Becker/Tino Licht/Stefan Weinfurter[ed.]: Karolingische Klöster. Wissenstransfer und kulturelle Innovation, 2015), research shall now turn its focus onto the high and late Middle Ages in an interdisciplinary effort. Thus, the intention is to make fruitful use of the concepts of knowledge transfer and of knowledge culture, which primarily get attention in philological / historical disciplines and in the context of cultural science (‚La trasmissione dei saperi nel Medioevo‘, Centro Italiano di Studi di Storia e d’Arte Pistoia, 2005; Transfert des savoirs au Moyen Âge – Wissenstransfer im Mittelalter. Ed. by Stephen Dörr and Raymund Wilhelm, 2008), for a later stage and for the transition between the late Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age.

The Call for Papers is addressed to scholars from various disciplines engaged in medieval studies (including German Studies, Romance Studies, English Studies, History, Art History, Medieval Latin/Neo-Latin Studies, Theology, Philosophy), as well as adjacent realms of Early Modern Studies, to explore one of the thematic aspects listed. Particular investigations and case studies are welcome, as are fundamental considerations regarding pre-modern communities and their knowledge culture.

Proposals for lectures (20 minutes) should preferably be e-mailed to this address:

Proposals are expected no later than 31 October 2017.


Proposals can be submitted in German or English (max. 1 page). In addition to the lecture proposal, please send a short CV including a selection of publications (max. 1 page).

The publication of the conference papers is planned.

The conference will take place in the Stiftungssaal of the Alpen-Adria-University of Klagenfurt (Universitätsstraße 65–67; Room K. 0.01). Accommodation and travel expenses can be paid in accordance with the funding possibilities.

Organisation: Angelika Kemper (Klagenfurt), Christian Domenig (Klagenfurt)

Further information on the conference:

Deadline: October 31, 2017

Posted: August 16, 2017