Call for Papers: 2024 Medieval Studies Graduate Conference at Princeton University



Call for Papers: 2024 Medieval Studies Graduate Conference at Princeton University

October 26, 2024


Ordinary People, Everyday Lives:

Exploring the Mundane in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages


Our perception of the pre-modern world is often shaped by the creative expressions of its contemporaries, such as literary works, decorative art, and imposing architecture designed to captivate attention. The practices and processes of everyday life, which have left less noticeable traces, can be harder to access, even though it is these ordinary and mundane acts that can profoundly increase our understanding of life before modernity. Building on Bourdieu’s thesis that habitus informs practical action and Wittgenstein’s emphasis on the need to ground human experience in everyday language, this graduate conference asks how our understanding of pre-modern societies and cultures changes if we remain faithful to what sources tell us of practices “on the ground.” As such, this conference focuses on the lived lives of ordinary people—among others, laborers, artisans, and lower clergy. This conference encourages graduate students to explore themes of liminality and intersectionality, practicality and processes, customs and traditions, and more as they relate to the quotidian in the late antique and medieval world. How did the individual perceive and navigate the world around them? What is the nitty-gritty of everyday pre-modern life, and how do we know? Papers may respond, but are not limited, to these questions.

In order for the conference to develop interdisciplinary and multifaceted perspectives, they welcome topics from all pre-modern disciplines and geographies related to the Ordinary and the Mundane from around 300 to 1500 CE. They invite graduate students to submit their abstracts (ca. 200 words) for 15-minute presentations by June 15, 2024 through this form. The conference will take place on October 26, 2024 at Princeton University. Travel within the North-East-Corridor and accommodations in Princeton will be subsidized for presenters.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Alice Morandy ( and Lucia Waldschuetz (

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