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Beyond Exceptionalism II

  • July 11, 2022
  • (BST)
  • July 13, 2022
  • (BST)
  • John Rylands Research Library (Manchester, UK)

Beyond Exceptionalism II, c. 500-c. 1500

11-13 July, 2022                    

Call for Papers and Sessions


Abstract deadline: 1 February 2022.

Contact email: 



BE II Conf Poster.pdf              BE II Conf Program.docx

Conference Registration: https://events.manchester.ac.uk/event/event:l1pr-l3ka1lf0-vg2690/beyond-exceptionalism-ii-conference

We are delighted to announce the Beyond Exceptionalism II conference will take place on July 11-13, 2022 at John Rylands Library in Manchester, UK. The conference will adopt a hybrid format that simultaneously offers sessions both in-person and via Zoom.

In 2015, Beyond Exceptionalism addressed a troubling situation. Over 50 years of intense research and publication on the study of medieval European women had not reversed the entrenched notion of female powerlessness and passivity. Elite woman with the authority and ability to influence their families, communities, and realms were somehow all exceptions to the norm. The conference centered on a rhetorical question: how many ‘exceptional’ women in positions of authority does it take before active females become the rule? The first ‘Beyond Exceptionalism’ conference resulted in new avenues of research, fresh approaches to medieval women’s experiences and an edited volume: Medieval Elite Women and the Exercise of Power, 1100–1400: Moving beyond the Exceptionalist Debate (Palgrave 2018).

Six years and one global pandemic later, the question still resonates. Studies that assume medieval women were marginal and powerless remain at the center of medieval studies. ‘Beyond Exceptionalism II’ will be an interdisciplinary conference that addresses this misapprehension by fostering new avenues and interpretations of medieval women– both elite and non-elite, secular and religious – and exploring new methodologies. We encourage papers that draw upon material culture, network analysis, gender and space. Presentations that address a non-European perspective are especially welcome.


Keynote Speakers:

Valerie Garver, History Department Chair, Northern Illinois University

Amy Livingstone, Head of School of History and Heritage, University of Lincoln

Talia Zajac, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies


Possible topics include but are not limited to: lordship, manorialism, monasticism, crusades, literacy, monarchy, guilds, pilgrimage, warfare, towns, castles & manors, networks and alliances, medicine, patronage, lay religious life, law and custom


Those wishing to participate should please submit an abstract of approximately 250 words to tanner.87@osu.edu and huneycuttl@missouri.edu.

Please attach your abstract to your email as a Microsoft Word or PDF file. Included with 250‑word abstracts or session proposals (including individual abstracts) should be the following information:


  • name of presenter(s)
  • participant category (faculty, graduate student, or independent scholar)
  • college/university affiliation
  • mailing address
  • email address
  • audio/visual requirements and any other special requests

Abstract deadline: 1 February 2022. Session chairs and individual presenters will be informed of acceptance no later than 1 March 2022.



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