CFP Crusading Masculinities: International Workshop

From conference organiser Natasha Hodgson, our 2015-2016 Bullough Fellow:

University of Zürich, Switzerland, Wednesday 30th March – 1st April 2016

zurichConference Organisers: Matthew Mesley (University of Zürich), Natasha Hodgson (Nottingham Trent University, UK) and Katherine J. Lewis (University of Huddersfield, UK). The workshop has been generously funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. We also gratefully acknowledge support for postgraduate attendance provided by the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East.

In the last decade significant research on the role and representation of women in the crusades has been produced, yet the rich varieties of ideas about medieval manhood prevalent throughout crusade sources remain largely untapped. Gendered comparisons were often used to draw distinctions between the men who took the cross and their enemies, and authors of crusade narratives regularly commented on the manliness of different individuals and groups during crusade expeditions. Masculinity was also a feature of preaching: gendered language was central to the communication of the crusade message and to its enduring popularity. Medieval men existed in a hierarchical world, but even during the short time at which crusading was at its height, social constructs such as masculinity were subject to change. Crusaders were not just a hybrid of secular and ecclesiastical ideals: they represented a spectrum of masculinities from a cross-section of medieval society: rich and poor, laymen and clergy, traders and settlers, fighters and pilgrims. They encountered and reflected on the masculine ideals of different religions, sects and cultures: Christian, Jewish and Muslim. The development of military orders in the early to mid-twelfth century represented another significant shift in elite male identity. The enormous popularity of crusading and the military orders is a testament to their central place in the developing debate over ideal manhood in medieval society.

This workshop’s aim is to bring together scholars from the fields of gender history and crusader studies, in order to examine and highlight the variety of masculinities which were represented in the context of the crusades.

Confirmed speakers include: Anthony Bale (Birbeck, University of London); Niall Christie (Langara College, Vancouver); Paul M. Cobb (University of Pennsylvania); Susan Edgington (Queen Mary University, London); Yvonne Friedman (Bar-llan University, Ramat-Gan); Natasha Hodgson (Nottingham Trent University); Linda G. Jones (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona); Ruth Mazo Karras (University of Minnesota); Katherine J. Lewis (University of Huddersfield); Christoph Maier (University of Zürich); Matthew M. Mesley (University of Zürich); Alan V. Murray (University of Leeds); Helen Nicholson (Cardiff University); Dion C. Smythe (Queen’s University Belfast).

We would like to invite offers of twenty-minute papers relating to the crusades on the following themes:

  • Competing masculinities/men and social status
  • Masculinities and public display/rituals
  • Clerical and/or lay masculinities
  • Gender and Late Medieval Crusading Ideals
  • Masculinities and violence/non-violence
  • Masculinities and the family
  • Female masculinities
  • Women as audience/women in relation to masculinities
  • Representations of masculinities in art/material culture/music
  • Individual exemplars of masculinities and leadership roles
  • Military Orders and masculinities
  • Crusading Memory and Masculinities
  • Cross-cultural encounters: gendering the ‘enemy’
  • Muslim and Byzantine perspectives
  • Spanish and Eastern-European perspectives
  • Crusading Medievalism and Masculinity

Papers can be in relation to any historical forum where crusading formed a relevant ideological component, and we also welcome papers from scholars who explore non-textual sources. We are happy to accept submissions over a broad chronological timescale, in relation to crusading activity or representation across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East – from a range of disciplinary perspectives. We are particularly keen to encourage postgraduates to offer papers and hope to be able to provide postgraduate speakers with financial support towards travel costs, accommodation, and registration. There is space for up to thirty participants.

If interested please send an abstract of not more than 300 words to, by November 15th 2015

Questions and queries about the conference programme or the call for papers can also be directed to the email above.


PDF available: CFP-Crusading Masculinities Zurich 2016