Monday 6th – Wednesday 8th January

Conference Description:

In the light of current environmental crises, renewed public engagement with environmental concerns, and the urgent need to rethink the relationship between humans and the natural world, this conference seeks to explore how medieval European understandings of such connections might inform responses in our own historical moment. Furthermore, it aims to challenge traditional thinking about the hegemonic schemas of ‘science’ and ‘nature’ in the medieval world-view through an intersectional and interdisciplinary focus, investigating how gender, race, differently-abled or queered bodies – as presented in literary, scientific, medical, religious, and other types of texts – might open up new ways of conceptualising the human-universe dynamic. In so doing, the conference will be both timely and important by revealing how Medieval Studies might play an integral part in what Donna Haraway sees as the value in uniting ‘remembrance and the what-might-yet-be’ of the earth and its inhabitants.

With recourse to the textualization of the ‘natural’ world in the Middle Ages, the conference will explore the ways in which the medieval world-view is inscribed, re-imagined, and re-written. That the human was understood to be a microcosm of the universe itself, and thus ‘naturally’ connected, we seek to advance research into how medieval conceptualisations can illuminate our own relationship with the world and its past, present, and future.

Foci include:

  • The relationship between the human and non-human
  • The textuality of medieval depictions of the ‘natural’ world and its inscription onto the very skin of its animals in the medieval codex
  • Scientific explanations of the gendered human body and notions of order / disorder / queerness / monstrosity
  • The connection of medieval medicine with the ‘natural’ world; the repercussions of ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ phenomena
  • Sensory aspects of the world including the music of the spheres and the medieval garden
  • Theologies of ‘nature’ and the ‘natural’, and medico-religious hermeneutics
  • The ramifications of understanding the human position in the medieval universe for our own historical moment
  • A postgraduate poster competition

Conference Registration

Fee for Full Registration: £85 (for all faculty and employed delegates)

Reduced Registration Fee: £50 (for postgraduate students, unwaged delegates and low waged ECR delegates)

Conference Dinner: £20 (optional extra: includes set menu with wine)

To register for the conference click here.

Registration closes at 5pm GMT on Thursday 19th December 2019.

Any enquiries should be directed to the conference organisers, Dr Laura Kalas Williams ( and / or Professor Liz Herbert McAvoy (