Session1
TitleKeynote Lectures 2011:
Date/TimeMonday 11 July 2011: 09.00-10.30
 
SponsorBoydell & Brewer, Woodbridge
 
SpeakerSamuel K. Cohn Jr., School of Humanities (History) / Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of Glasgow
Robin Fleming, Department of History, Boston College, Massachusetts
 
IntroductionSharon Farmer, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara
 
AbstractScavenging and Its End in the Early Medieval Britain (Language: English), Robin Fleming, Department of History, Boston College, Massachusetts
Rich and Poor in Late Medieval Europe: The Political Paradox of Post-Plague Economics (Language: English), Samuel K. Cohn Jr., Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of Glasgow

Abstract 'Scavenging in the Early Medieval Britain':
Romano-British society depended on complex systems of production, supply, and transportation to provide it with basic commodities, such as iron, pots and lead, which were widely available and inexpensive. But when the economy imploded in Britain, when money ceased to have value, and when the Roman state withdrew, it was impossible for these systems of production to persevere, and the people of Britain underwent dramatic material impoverishment. This lecture will lay out evidence which argues that many individuals and communities in the 5th and 6th centuries engaged in the scavenging and recycling of material from abandoned Roman sites as a basic subsistence activity. It will also chart the decline of this practice in the 7th and 8th centuries, and show how newly forming elites came to lay claim to the landscape and to the labour of others in such ways that allow them to produce basic commodities like freshly-smelted metal, which in turn made them rich. In short, the rise and fall of scavenging allows us to witness the ways in which social stratification developed in one early medieval society.

Abstract 'Rich and Poor in Late Medieval Europe':
The century following the Black Death of 1348 in Western Europe presents a rare moment in European history when the inexorable widening of wealth - the rich getting richer; the poor, poorer - was put on hold, even reversed. Paradoxically, at this moment of egalitarian economic development, the gap in political privilege and power widened, especially in towns with the growth of oligarchies and decline in guild republics and artisan representation, but also in the countryside for many areas of Europe. This lecture will try to explain the enigma.

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets for the event. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possile to avoid disappointment (The room will be open 15 minutes before the beginning of the lecture). In addition to the lecture there will be a video relay in the adjacent Headingley Room where the same rule applies.