Medieval Studies Graduate Conference

We are delighted to announce that planning for Princeton University’s annual Medieval Studies Graduate Conference is underway!

The conference will be held over Zoom on March 6, 2021 with the following theme: “Reclaiming Losses: Recovery, Reconquest, and Restoration in the Middle Ages.”   

This theme was developed prior to the global spread of the coronavirus. It is clear, however, that it now resonates with our collective preoccupations in entirely unexpected ways. We hope these resonances are uplifting and creative. We hope they will not only inspire new ways of thinking about the topic in its historical context, but also that they will help point our present thoughts to the future and to the ultimate recovery we know is to come.   

The conference’s keynote address will be given by Professor Hussein Fancy, Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.   

The CfP is provided below with a more detailed conference description. We warmly invite all interested contributors to submit a proposal abstract to Eric Medawar ( by November 6, 2020. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either of the conference organizers, Eric Medawar ( or Rachel Gerber (  

We look forward to all proposals and send everyone our best wishes!  

Sincerely,   Eric Medawar and Rachel Gerber  

Princeton Medieval Studies Graduate Conference  

March 6, 2020  

“Reclaiming Losses: Recovery, Reconquest, and Restoration in the Middle Ages”  

Loss can be accepted or contested. This conference will consider how perceptions of legacy and entitlement stirred ambitions to reassert lost claims from Late Antiquity through the Late Middle Ages. From the last great war of antiquity between Persia and Rome to Charlemagne’s Roman renovatio, Byzantine expansion, contestation over Iberia, and the later crusades, many medieval conflicts were justified as campaigns to reconquer and restore past order. Beyond political and territorial pursuits, contemporaries sought to reclaim losses of all kinds, whether legal, economic, intellectual, social, cultural, physical, emotional, or spiritual.   

This conference will explore the circumstances under which medieval people made claims to past legacies, how they asserted those claims, and what it meant to express them as calls for restitution. How did contemporary understandings of legacy and entitlement factor into perceptions of loss? How did the motive to restore a loss—whether real or imagined—shape contemporary choices and their outcomes? When was loss understood as a fundamental challenge to individual or collective identity and what resulted from such challenges?  

To this end, we invite 300-word proposals for fifteen- to twenty-minute talks on topics examining recovery, reconquest, and restoration in the Middle Ages. We welcome proposals covering any region of the world reflecting the time frame encompassing approximately 500-1500 CE. Please submit proposals or requests for more information to  Proposals should be submitted by November 6, 2020, and applicants will be notified of decisions by November 16, 2020.  

The conference will be held on March 6, 2021 and will take place over Zoom.  Participation from any location is, therefore, warmly welcomed.

For further information, please visit our website:  

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