CFP: Gender in Material Culture: Annual Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2013

Image copyright: David Griffith (Image source: Gender and Material Studies Group)

Call for papers – Gender and Medieval Studies Conference

4th-6th January 2013 – Bath Spa University, United Kingdom

Deadline for submissions is 14 September 2012.

The School of Humanities and Cultural Industries (HCI) at Bath Spa University invites submissions for their annual Gender and Medieval Studies Conference. This year the theme of the conference will revolve around the gendered nature of objects and the material environment in the Middle Ages. In particular, the conference will consider the gendered nature of social, religious and economic uses of ‘things’, exploring the way that objects and material culture were produced, consumed and displayed.

From the announcement: “From saintly relics to grave goods, and from domestic furnishings to the built environment, medieval people inhabited a material world saturated with symbolism. Gender had a profound influence on production and consumption in this material culture. Birth charms and objects of Marian devotion were crafted most often with women in mind, whilst gender shaped the internal spaces of male and female religious houses. The material environment could evoke intense emotions from onlookers, whether fostering reverence in religious rituals, or inspiring awe during royal processions. How did gender influence encounters with these objects and the built environment? Seldom purely functional, these items could incorporate complex meanings, enabling acts of display at every level of society, in fashionable circles at European courts or amongst civic guilds sponsoring lavish pageants. Did gender influence aesthetic choices, and how did status shape the way that people engaged with their physical surroundings? In literary texts and in art, the depiction of clothing and objects can be used to negotiate symbolic space as well as class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity. Texts and images also circulated as material objects themselves, with patterns of transmission across the British Isles, the Anglo-Norman world, and between East and West. The exchange of such objects both accompanied and enacted cross-fertilisation in linguistic, political and cultural spheres.”

The conference invites papers from a range of multidisciplinary perspectives, embracing literature, history, art history and archaeology.

Themes should include:

  • adornment, clothing and self-fashioning
  • the material culture of devotion
  • objects and materialism
  • the material culture of children, adolescents and life cycle
  • emotion, intimacy and love-gifts
  • entertainment and games
  • memory and commemoration
  • pleasure, pain, and bodily discipline
  • production and consumption
  • monastic material culture
  • material culture in literary texts

Proposals of approximately 300 words (for 20 minute papers) should be emailed to the GMS committee at by 14 September 2012. Your name, research area, institution and level of study should be included in your abstract. This information can also be found here.

The Kate Westoby Travel Fund provides limited financial support for postgraduates and independent researchers who wish to attend the meeting.

For questions regarding the conference please email Dr Bronach Kane or Dr Ellie Woodacre

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Monthly Archive


Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at :, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.