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Urban Parish Communities in Medieval Europe, 1049-1545

Research in Medieval Studies - An International Meeting Series

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Published on Monday, March 29, 2021


The past decade has witnessed a marked increase in medieval studies. Younger scholars have, in general, benefitted from doctoral and post-doctoral funding, besides collective research programmes. This, along with the experience and know-how of established academics in countless departments around the Globe has helped to foster this renewal. Results have been ground-breaking in many topics. The Research in Medieval Studies (RiMS) is conceived of as an ongoing series of yearly meetings whose aim is to bring scholars of different academic and geographical backgrounds together to open, or otherwise continue and direct, historiographical debate on key issues in medieval studies, while helping to establish outstanding research that is both innovative and comparative.


Coimbra, 2-3 December 2021, CHSC – University of Coimbra, IEM – NOVA University of Lisbon & CITCEM – University of Porto


We invite the submission of unpublished, original research work to RiMS 2021. The second RiMS meeting will concregate around the subject of communal organisation in the European urban parish from the Gregorian Reform to the Council of Trent.

Although the subject of substantial scholarship, the history of parishes has remained markedly institutional in approach, mostly owing to due to the scope of sources available and the very logic behind the preservation and keeping of documents in the archives. In turn, the examination of parish networks has largely been based on ecclesiastical taxation records, making the papacy a ‘universal’ force to be reckoned with. Without calling such assessments into question, nor the importance of the often irreplaceable sources on which they are based, RiMS 2021 aims to highlight research on communities as they informed the urban parish — often predating the Church and the institutionalisation of jurisdiction and circumscription.

In consideration of this, we call for research papers that draw upon sociological analyses of secular and ecclesiastical communities, their discourses and the interactions between them— both in terms of cooperation and collaboration, and disputingly and competingly — in order to characterise the parish in its temporal and spiritual dimensions. Proposals may cover longer-term examinations or focus more narrowly on a period and place in Western and Eastern Christianity. Comparative approaches and contextualised micro-history are especially welcome in that they allow for further, wider comparison.

As a starting point, we suggest four research strands, which should not be taken separately but rather as intersecting plans, with the common goal of contributing to understanding the parish as an institutional, judicial and fiscal reality across medieval Christendom, through gaining a better knowledge of the men and women that were part of it.

Main topics

  1. Secular and regular ecclesiastical communities in and around the parish.

(a) recruitment and social composition.

(b) integration into the parish universe and religious and pastoral service.

(c) the dynamics of cooperation and competition.

  1. Households and urban lineages: strategies of social assertion and the preservation of memory.

(a) the establishment of churches and parishes and the exercise of rights of appointment.

(b) the founding of chantries and post-mortem ceremonies.

(c) participation and patronage of liturgy.

  1. Urban social groups and professions: association, representation and solidarity.

(a) guilds and confraternities’ relationship with the parish.

(b) the founding and maintenance of collective chapels.

(c) the development of parish-specific liturgy.

  1. Foreigners, religious minorities and disreputable occupations: dynamics of integration and exclusion.

(a) group consciousness, self-representation, and relationship with the parish.

(b) coexistence and separation within the parish.

(c) the cohabitation of cults and cultures.

Submission guidelines

Researchers are invited to send a 500-words proposal and a up to two-page curriculum vitæ to rimsmeeting@gmail.com

Th­e RiMS Meeting will have a registration fee of €80, which will include access to coffee break and meals (2 lunches and 2 dinners) for the duration of the event. Th­e organisation expects applicants to have financial support from their institutions to cover travel and accommodation costs. A list of affordable hotels will be provided at the website of the event (under development). Soon, a list of keynote speakers will also be announced. Stay tuned!

Important dates

  • Call for papers open from 15 February 2021 thru 30 April 2021.

  • Applicants will be informed of decision by 31 May 2021.
  • Papers submitted by 31 October 2021.
  • Seminar in Coimbra on the 2-3 December 2021.
  • Post-seminar manuscript submitted for peer-review by 31 January 2022.
  • Final version of the manuscript submitted for publication by 30 April 2022.



  • University of Coimbra
    Coimbra, Portugal (3004)


  • Friday, April 30, 2021


  • Midlle Ages, Church history, Urban communities, Parish history


  • Maria Amélia Álvaro de Campos
    courriel : rimsmeeting [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Maria Amélia Álvaro de Campos
    courriel : rimsmeeting [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Urban Parish Communities in Medieval Europe, 1049-1545 », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, March 29, 2021, https://doi.org/10.58079/16bd

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