Friday, September 8, 2017

In their 2011 volume in the Cambridge Medieval Textbooks Series, The Carolingian World, the authors raise the question of whether such a place or concept existed in eighth- and ninth-century Europe.[1] They conclude that indeed there was a “Carolingian World,” amorphous and difficult to define as it was, and that most scholars tie it to the political, religious, and cultural plans of the Carolingian elites, whose domains spanned most of western and central Europe from the mid-eighth until the end of the ninth century. Thus, the “Carolingian World” did not map onto any specific borders or boundaries so much as it reflected the influence and ambitions of its rulers and thinkers who imagined their unique place in history and the world. What is not clear, however, is the extent to which those living under Carolingian rule and influence experienced a “Carolingian World.” These sessions on “Living in the Carolingian World” invite papers to consider this fundamental question from a variety of perspectives, drawing inspiration both from Heinrich Fichtenau’s Living in the Tenth Century, which explored post-Carolingian Europe through the actions and points of view of those who lived in it, and from recent scholarly work that has expanded investigation of early medieval Europe in both methodological and conceptual terms. We welcome papers on topics that address this question, particularly proposals that focus on the daily lived experience of those who inhabited the Carolingian empire, whether male or female, free or unfree, young or old, plant or animal, but who were not part of the Reichsaristokratie. In short, these sessions will test the limits and usefulness of the “Carolingian World” as a framework for understanding life in eighth- and ninth-century Europe.

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words before 15 September 2017 to the session organizers, Valerie L. Garver and Noah Blan, at

[1] Marios Costambeys, Matthew Innes, and Simon MacLean, The Carolingian World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 9-16.

Valerie L. Garver, PhD
Associate Professor and
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History
Co-Coordinator, Medieval Studies
Northern Illinois University
Submissions Editor, Medieval Prosopography

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