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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

CMRC Research Day - Law, Culture and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance Event

16 January 2012
Humanities Avenue Campus University of Southampton

Event details

Following the example of past CMRC Research Days, this theme reflects a shared interest among CMRC members, with a strong interdisciplinary potential.

Law took many different forms in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: divine law; natural law; ecclesiastical or canon law; Roman law; feudal law; royal law; municipal law; manorial law; and so on. These various legal systems touched on every aspect of life ranging from marriage to property. There is interest among CMRC members in several of these kinds of law, and in looking at law from the viewpoint of its users rather than its makers.
The research day can address various research questions: how did individuals, such as nobles, women and peasants, and institutions, such as monasteries, use the different legal systems of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance? How far did they know the law and legal procedure? How did they choose which kind of court to use to address their grievances and resolve their legal problems? How far do medieval and Renaissance literary texts, such as Shakespeare's ‘Merchant of Venice', reflect contemporary attitudes to law and what people sought to obtain through it? What does Archaeology reveal about the operation of the law, for example from such evidence as the bodies of executed criminals and the boundaries of legal ownership in the landscape?

CMRC members are invited to propose papers (of 20 minutes' duration) for the research day. Those interested are requested to email a title and brief synopsis (no more than 100 words) to Peter Clarke ( preferably by 15 December 2011. A programme will be circulated in early January and the Research Day will take place on Monday 16 January 2012 in Building 65, Lecture Theatre A. Our guest external speaker will be Dr Chris Briggs, a former colleague who has since moved to some university in the fens ;-) and who will give a paper titled 'English peasants and the law, c.1250-c.1450: some research themes'.

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