Session Title

Cities of Religion, Religions of the City: Religious Diversity and Urbanization in Medieval Europe

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Centre for Medieval Studies, Univ. of Bristol; Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies

Organizer Name

Benjamin Pohl

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Bristol

Presider Name

Robert F. Berkhofer III

Presider Affiliation

Western Michigan Univ.

Paper Title 1

The Late Medieval English Cathedral in Its City: Structural Diversity and Local Relations at Hereford, Worcester, and Gloucester

Presenter 1 Name

Richard Fisher

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Bristol

Paper Title 2

Urban Identity as "Translatio": The Development of Caen in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

Presenter 2 Name

Laura L. Gathagan

Presenter 2 Affiliation

SUNY-Cortland

Paper Title 3

A "Scabby Goat"? Theology Students between the University and the City, Paris ca. 1200

Presenter 3 Name

Jan Vandeburie

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Leverhulme Trust/Univ. degli Studi di Roma Tre

Paper Title 4

Nizhny Arkhyz: A Little-Known Holy City of Medieval Christianity

Presenter 4 Name

John Latham

Presenter 4 Affiliation

School of Oriental and African Studies, Univ. of London

Start Date

14-5-2017 10:30 AM

Session Location

Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

Description

Traditionally, studies on religious diversity within medieval urban landscapes (or 'cityscapes') have often been shaped (not to say limited) by the perceived dichotomy between religious life on the one hand, and secular life on the other. According to this view, religious communities are thought to have formed some kind of 'alien element' within the predominantly secular urban environments that developed throughout Europe from the late tenth century onwards - a 'city within a city', so to speak. In many ways, such theories of alienation and separation are still firmly rooted in the paradigms of nineteenth-century scholarship, which deliberately distanced itself from the religious focus of previous generations of historians, many of whom had been monks or priests themselves (think, for example, of Dom Jean Mabillon and the Benedictine Historical School of Saint-Maur). A few exceptional cases aside (for example, the seminal works of Dom David Knowles), the evident weakness of these paradigms and their legacy in modern scholarship lies in their fundamental inability to acknowledge and appreciate the richness and complexity of medieval religious diversity and the crucial ways in which it was shaped by (and, in turn, helped shaping) processes of urbanisation across Europe. A group of leading researchers from the Universities of Bristol (UK) and Ghent (Belgium) is currently preparing a joint research project that will dedicate itself to developing new methodological and theoretical frameworks for studying the role(s) of religious communities within medieval cities. This project will contextualise religious diversity within the dynamics of medieval urbanisation (and vice versa), thus arguing for a plurarilty of urban religions (the 'religions of the city'), rather than comparing and/or contrasting it with secular spheres of influence. This session will provide a forum for presenting and discussing some of these new approaches, inviting international scholars to participate in the development of new and innovative frameworks that will transform our understanding of medieval urban religiosity and its legacy.

Benjamin Pohl

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May 14th, 10:30 AM

Cities of Religion, Religions of the City: Religious Diversity and Urbanization in Medieval Europe

Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

Traditionally, studies on religious diversity within medieval urban landscapes (or 'cityscapes') have often been shaped (not to say limited) by the perceived dichotomy between religious life on the one hand, and secular life on the other. According to this view, religious communities are thought to have formed some kind of 'alien element' within the predominantly secular urban environments that developed throughout Europe from the late tenth century onwards - a 'city within a city', so to speak. In many ways, such theories of alienation and separation are still firmly rooted in the paradigms of nineteenth-century scholarship, which deliberately distanced itself from the religious focus of previous generations of historians, many of whom had been monks or priests themselves (think, for example, of Dom Jean Mabillon and the Benedictine Historical School of Saint-Maur). A few exceptional cases aside (for example, the seminal works of Dom David Knowles), the evident weakness of these paradigms and their legacy in modern scholarship lies in their fundamental inability to acknowledge and appreciate the richness and complexity of medieval religious diversity and the crucial ways in which it was shaped by (and, in turn, helped shaping) processes of urbanisation across Europe. A group of leading researchers from the Universities of Bristol (UK) and Ghent (Belgium) is currently preparing a joint research project that will dedicate itself to developing new methodological and theoretical frameworks for studying the role(s) of religious communities within medieval cities. This project will contextualise religious diversity within the dynamics of medieval urbanisation (and vice versa), thus arguing for a plurarilty of urban religions (the 'religions of the city'), rather than comparing and/or contrasting it with secular spheres of influence. This session will provide a forum for presenting and discussing some of these new approaches, inviting international scholars to participate in the development of new and innovative frameworks that will transform our understanding of medieval urban religiosity and its legacy.

Benjamin Pohl