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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1430: Articulating Legal and Political Boundaries: How to Think through Legal Change in Europe during the Central Middle Ages - A Round Table Discussion

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 19.00-20.00

Sponsor:AHRC Project 'The Community of the Realm in Scotland, 1249-1424' / BA Network 'Jurisdiction, Legal Community & Political Discourse, 1050-1250'
Organisers:Danica Summerlin, Department of History, University of Sheffield
Alice Taylor, Department of History, King's College London
Moderator/Chair:John Hudson, St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of St Andrews

This round table identifies the questions raised from the sessions on 'Articulating Legal and Political Boundaries, 1050-1350', which aimed to challenge the 'Grand Narrative' of legal development in Europe during the central Middle Ages. Traditional narratives have stressed either the growth of papal and imperial claims to pan-European legal supremacy or, the converse, how developing polities created their own 'national laws'. This strand examines how legal communities were defined against one another (and for what purposes) and how litigants, lawyers, and politicians used and negotiated competing legal traditions, all of which problematises or complicates the relationship between law and the nation. So how distinct, really, were the 'separate' legal traditions which developed during this period? How politicised was law and how far did different political actors draw on different types of law in different circumstances? In short, how contextual was medieval law? How far does a critical approach to jurisdiction and legal tradition problematise the traditional narrative of the emergence of the nation-state? The round table will develop these questions in a broader perspective, drawing on the papers presented in the four-session strand held during the day.

Participants include Ingrid Ivarsen (University of St Andrews), Matthew McHaffie (University of St Andrews), Danica Summerlin (University of Sheffield), Alice Taylor (King's College London), and Helle Vogt (KĂžbenhavns Universitet).