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Medieval matters have contemporary parallels

Medieval matters have contemporary parallels

A group of medieval scholars from across the world are assembing at Albany this week to discuss issues that are still relevant today including infrastructure, immigration and crime.

The conference, which will run from January 30-31, will bring together cademics and students of medieval studies, with sixteen speakers from the United States of America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand presenting their research on a variety of topics from the period c1100–1600.

The theme of the conference is urbanity, urban ideologies and cultures, and what it meant to be a citizen in European cities at that time.

Senior lecturer in history and conference convenor Dr Andrew Brown says people in medieval Europe grappled with an array of issues ranging from citizenship, immigration and pollution to media and technologies.

“If you think of the ways modern city councils encourage citizenship, or promote their cities to a wider world, you’ll find similar processes going on in the medieval world. Instead of facebook and twitter, medieval people used public oratory and speech, as well as the latest in technology, such as the printing press.

Ruling groups in medieval cities went to some efforts to spread their message and to compare their cities with others, both within Europe and outside.”

This is the first time the conference has been held in New Zealand, and follows on from a previous medieval conference in Bruges. A follow-up conference will be held in The Netherlands at a later date.


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