HomePrison spaces in the Middle Ages: an interdisciplinary approach to the territories and materialities of medieval incarceration

Prison spaces in the Middle Ages: an interdisciplinary approach to the territories and materialities of medieval incarceration

Les espaces carcéraux au Moyen Âge : approche interdisciplinaire des territoires et des matérialités de l’incarcération médiévale

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Published on Thursday, July 18, 2019 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

While recent work has renewed our knowledge of medieval execution sites and of the internal layout of detention facilities, much remains to be done to understand the distribution of prison spaces and territories, in particular to shed light on the socio-spatial dynamics and logic of their establishment. These prison spaces evolved between the beginning and the extreme end of the Middle Ages, with prisons only multiplying from the 13th century onwards. These evolutions must be understood in close coordination with the evolutions of medieval justice and its spatial practices. Studies can be carried out at the scale of a building, a neighborhood, a city, a city, one or more regions.

Announcement

Bordeaux, 2020 1st-3 april 

Argument

While recent work has renewed our knowledge of medieval execution sites and of the internal layout of detention facilities, much remains to be done to understand the distribution of prison spaces and territories, in particular to shed light on the socio-spatial dynamics and logic of their establishment. These prison spaces evolved between the beginning and the extreme end of the Middle Ages, with prisons only multiplying from the 13th century onwards. These evolutions must be understood in close coordination with the evolutions of medieval justice and its spatial practices. Studies can be carried out at the scale of a building, a neighborhood, a city, a city, one or more regions. The sources to be mobilized are very diverse: judicial documents, urban regulations, prison regulations, accounts, iconography, archaeological sources (excavations, archaeological studies of buildings, etc.), so-called "literary" texts, etc. Three angles of approach can be used:

1/ Diversity of prison spaces: beyond the prison

In the Middle Ages, prison spaces were of various material forms and sizes and had multiscalar installations in a sometimes complex interplay of jurisdictions: "holding prison" could thus be done in a neighborhood, a city, a private individual's house, a convent, a "private prison", etc. The renovation, transformation and maintenance, more rarely construction, of these places are undoubtedly opportunities to understand these phenomena. The spatial distribution of the various prison sites may contain historical meanings that have not yet been explored, beyond the traditional problem of conflicts of jurisdiction. We know that some jurisdictions used to use prisons in other jurisdictions: can we go so far as to talk about prison networks with collaborations between justice systems on an urban scale? 

2/ Beyond the walls: porosities of prisons

Prison places only functioned in close interaction with their economic and relational environment, which conditioned their very existence and contributed to their integration into a territory. Visitors, brotherhoods or suppliers had to somehow penetrate the prison envelopes, which required material arrangements. Did some prisons have problems of neighborhood and common ownership? The visibility, acceptance and accessibility of these places are essential to interpret their uses and integration into their environment.

3/ Prison and urban spaces: prisons, stages of urban rituals

Prisons were not only used to lock people up, these buildings were also used as reference places for certain urban rituals, judicial (executions) or not (visits, entries, etc.), which the historian has every interest in considering if he wants to understand all the facets of these places. From this point of view, the relative location of these places (near or in which building? Near which road?) may have had a different valence in the eyes of the population that should be taken into consideration.

Submission Guidelines

Proposals for papers: title and abstract of the paper (250 words), bio-bibliographic notice (10 lines),

to be sent before 5 November 2019

to the following addresses :

mcharageat@free.fr ; julie.claustre@univ-paris1.fr ; Elisabeth.Lusset@univ-paris1.fr;   mathieu.vivas@univ-lille.fr 

Scientific Committee

  • Martine Charageat (Ausonius UMR 5607)
  • Julie Claustre (LaMOP UMR 8589)
  • Elisabeth Lusset (LaMOP UMR 8589)
  • Mathieu Vivas (IRHiS UMR 8529)

Places

  • MSH
    Bordeaux, France (33)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Keywords

  • prison carcéral archéologie espaces territoires justice

Contact(s)

  • Julie Claustre
    courriel : julie [dot] claustre [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr
  • Martine Charageat
    courriel : mcharageat [at] free [dot] fr
  • Mathieu Vivas
    courriel : mathieu [dot] vivas [at] univ-lille [dot] fr
  • Elisabeth Lusset
    courriel : Elisabeth [dot] Lusset [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Julie Claustre
    courriel : julie [dot] claustre [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Prison spaces in the Middle Ages: an interdisciplinary approach to the territories and materialities of medieval incarceration », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, July 18, 2019, https://calenda.org/652708

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