Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages, 5 – 7 June 2014

img01Registration for the annual St Andrews postgraduate conference on Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages is now open. The conference, running from 5 – 7 June 2014, focuses on issues of gender and/or transgression in the medieval period and has a strong interdisciplinary character.  The keynote lecture will be delivered by Dr Dion Smythe, Queen’s University Belfast. 

Now in its sixth year, the conference – hosted by the St Andrews Institute for Mediaeval Studies – aims to create a lively and welcoming forum for speakers to present their research, make contacts, and participate in creative discussion on the topics of gender and transgression in the Middle Ages.

The conference programme, featuring work from postgraduates and early career researchers from around the world, has now been finalised, and interested researchers can register here. Further updates are also available on the conference facebook page and twitter feed

Call for Papers: Gender & Transgression in the Middle Ages 2014

Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages
5-7 June 2014
Call for Papers

The School of History is pleased to announce the call for papers for Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages 2014, an interdisciplinary conference hosted by the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS).

Entering into its sixth year, this conference welcomes participation from postgraduate, postdoctoral and early career researchers interested in one or both of our focal themes of gender studies or more general ideas of transgression in the mediaeval period. This year’s conference will have a keynote lecture by Dr Dion Smythe of the Queen’s University Belfast as well as an optional workshop focused on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mediaeval Transgression. We invite proposals for papers of approximately 20 minutes that engage with the themes of gender and/or transgression from various disciplinary standpoints, such as historical, linguistic, literary, archaeological, art historical, or others. Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

 – Legal studies: men, women and the law, court cases, law-breaking, marriage

– Byzantine studies

– Masculinity and/or femininity in the Middle Ages: ideas of gender norms and their

application within current historiography

– Ambiguous genders: eunuchs, transvestites, transgender

– Homosexuality and sexual deviancy

– Orthodoxy and Heresy: transgressing orthodox thought, portrayals of religious

‘outsiders’, monasticism, lay religion, mysticism

– Social outcasts

There will be three set strands of Medieval Law and Literature, Transgression in Byzantium, and Masculinity in the Middle Ages. In addition to these, there will be several other sessions within the broader conference theme. 

Those wishing to participate should please submit an abstract of approximately 250 words to by 10 February 2014. Please attach your abstract to your email as a Microsoft Word or PDF file and include you name, home institution and stage of your postgraduate or postdoctoral career. Registration for the conference will be £15, which will cover tea, coffee and lunch on two days and two wine receptions. All delegates are also warmly invited to the conference meal on Friday 6 June. Further details can be found at the conference website as they become available. 

Gender & Transgression Conference 2013

SAIMS Postgraduate Organisers of the Gender & Transgression Conference: Eilidh Harris, Laura Tompkins, Mike French, Anna Peterson and Miriam Buncombe

SAIMS Postgraduate Organisers of the Gender & Transgression Conference: L-R Eilidh Harris, Laura Tompkins, Mike French, Anna Peterson and Miriam Buncombe

May 2013 saw the return of the Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages Postgraduate conference, hosted by the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies and supported by the School of History. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the conference, the conference was expanded across three days.

The PG sessions at this year’s conference covered a broad range of subject matter and disciplines, from ‘Gender and Religious Identity’ through to ‘Cross-Dressing in the Middle Ages’. The conference was able to boast a truly international participation this year, with speakers from all over Britain, Europe and America.


Prof. Pauline Stafford gives the keynote lecture

Prof. Pauline Stafford giving the keynote lecture

A session sponsored by the Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature, provided an excellent opportunity to bring together institutes with an interest in the medieval period; a lively discussion following the session spilled over into the first wine reception of the conference, also sponsored by CMEMLLProf. Pauline Stafford (University of Liverpool) gave this year’s keynote address, speaking on ‘Reading Gender in the Old English Vernacular Chronicles’. The paper was extremely well received, and Prof. Stafford’s involvement throughout the conference was greatly appreciated.


Conference participants visiting University Library Special Collections

Conference participants visiting University Library Special Collections

The expanded time frame of the conference allowed for some St Andrews-focused activities on the Friday afternoon. The Special Collections department ran an excellent session on some of the library’s most interesting medieval documents. A second group enjoyed a walking tour of mediaeval St Andrews with Dr Alex Woolf and was rewarded for their bravery in the face of torrential rain with a quick pint in the pub afterwards!  After a mentally (and for some physically!) stimulating day everyone was ready for the conference meal, this year held in the Golf Hotel.

The conference ended with a particularly stimulating round table discussion led by Prof. Frances Andrews. This highlighted many key themes that had arisen over the past few days, and was instructive for spotlighting strands for consideration in future years.  Feedback from post-graduates and staff alike has once again been very positive and the organisers hope that the conference can continue to go from strength to strength.