Wednesday, July 24, 2019

These sessions form part of the on-going reevaluation of the present state of the study of Anglo-Saxon law which began with the celebration of the centenary of Felix Liebermann's Gesetze der Angelsachsen.

Recognizing the extent to which our understanding of early law has changed over the last century, the
purpose of these sessions is to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to discuss new ways of understanding pre-Conquest legal culture. We invite papers that examine the many ways in which law was made, understood, practiced, promulgated, and transcribed in the Anglo-Saxon world. 

We are eager to receive submissions representing a variety of perspectives, methodologies, and disciplines. Possible topics include (but are not limited to): royal legislation, legal manuscripts, law in/and literature, legal procedure, charters and diplomatics, writs and wills, dispute resolution, theories of law and justice, perceptions of early law in later periods, law in/and art. We welcome traditional philological and historicist approaches, as well as those informed by modern critical theory. The last few years have witnessed the most extensive reconsideration of Old English law since Liebermann himself, and this session offers an important opportunity to discuss the progress and publicize the research taking place in this field.

This session is intended to re-evaluate Archbishop Wulfstan of York’s conception of the institution and ideology of kingship. Wulfstan is of perennial interest to scholars both as one of Anglo-Saxon England’s most influential political thinkers and as the author of a wide range of homilies, law-codes, political tracts, and canon law compilations. This session will focus particularly on Wulfstan’s views of kingship and royal authority. The timing of this session is especially apt as it coincides with the millenary of his legal masterpiece I-II Cnut and anticipates the commemorative events surrounding the millenary of his death in 2023.

We are eager to receive submissions representing a variety of perspectives, methodologies, and disciplines. Speakers are invited to explore, not only Wulfstan’s political writings, but also his relationship with the kings he served, his received knowledge of both cross-channel and insular traditions of political thought, and the extent to which his work echoes or differs from that of his contemporaries. It is hoped that the session will serve as an opportunity to consider how Wulfstan’s writings contribute to our understanding of royal authority, the relationship between Church and crown, and the complexities of English identity in an age of upheaval.

Andrew Rabin
Professor and Vice Chair
Department of English
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

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