CFP: Contesting Boundaries in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland

Session proposal for the Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO)

June 20-22, 2022

Frontiers, borderlands, contact zones – medieval Ireland is often conceived in terms of the countless borders by which it was demarcated. Some of those borders were physical, from the geographic boundaries that mirrored both the natural and political landscapes to the military frontiers along which the limits of royal authority were contested. Others reflected ideological boundaries, like the ethnic categories that functioned as mechanisms of legal difference. When represented on the map (and sometimes in scholarship), these boundaries appear rigid and impervious. Yet textual evidence, material culture, and the landscape itself offer tangible proof of widespread exchange and hybridity, demonstrating the porousness and fluidity of such boundaries and limits. In this session, presenters will use digital tools and methods to explore the mechanisms by which boundaries and limits in medieval Ireland were created, adapted, and transgressed. Through a reevaluation of physical boundaries, from the small and intimate to the large-scale, this session considers challenges to existing mental geographies of medieval Ireland and of medieval borderlands more broadly.

Please email a title and abstract to Margaret Smith, margars@siue.edu, by December 15.

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