Colloque – The Abbot as ‘Human Resource’ in the Medieval West, 9th–12th Centuries

International Conference/Congres International
Ghent/Gand, 15–16/12/2016

Recent years have seen tremendous development in historical scholarship on the significance of monastic leadership, particularly that of so-called ‘reformist’ abbots, in the ninth- to twelfth-century West. One reason for this is that historians’ view of the nature and consequences of reform’ in this period has profoundly changed. Another relates to the fact that reform is now increasingly being considered as resulting from the interplay of multiple, monastic and non-monastic stakeholders. Finally, there is now increased awareness of how the discourse of biographical commentaries has shaped modern views of abbots’ agency and motivations.

These three factors have yielded an approach that has moved away from regarding such monastic leaders as representatives of abstract ‘reform movements’, to looking at how they, as individuals, specifically contributed to the development of religious communities. Key to this trend in historical studies is the question of how Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of social, cultural and symbolic capital may be given a more central role in discussions of reformist leadership, and reform generally.

Bringing together international experts in the field, and relying on state of the art scholarship, this conference will seek to establish, for different regions and periods, how abbots contributed as ‘human resources’ to the development of reformed monastic communities. Speakers will address one or more of three approaches. The first looks at the direct contribution of abbots to the shaping of reformed realities; the second at their influence over future modes of leadership; and the third at the way in which later generations of monks relied upon the memory of their life and achievements to address current concerns.


Programme :

Thursday/Jeudi 15/12

09.30 Registration/Acceuil

10.00 Steven Vanderputten (Ghent University/Université de Gand) – Introduction

10.30 Michèle Gaillard (Université de Lille SHS – Institut de recherches historique du Septentrion) – Abbés et abbesses comme ressources dans les réformes monastiques en haute Lotharingie, du début du IXe siècle au milieu du XIe siècle
11.15 Katy Cubitt (University of York) – Abbots as a human resource in Benedictine Reform England
12.00 Jirki Thibaut (Ghent University) – A Look at the Agency of Abbesses: The Example of Ottonian Saxony
12.45 Lunch

14.00 Nicolangelo d’Acunto (Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan) – Les abbés comme ressources humaines en Italie aux 10ième-11ième siècles
14.45 Carlos Reglero (Universidad de Valladolid) – Founders and reformers: abbots in the kingdoms of Leon and Navarre (IX-XII centuries)
15.30 Break

16.15 Ben Pohl (University of Bristol) – Between crosier and career: Abbots as agents of change in eleventh- and twelfth- century Normandy
17.00 Gert Melville (Technische Universität Dresden) – The abbot of Cluny between legitimacy and legality (at the turn of the 12th to the 13 century)

19.00 Speakers’ dinner

Friday/Vendredi 16/12

10.00 Emilia Jamroziak (‪University of Leeds)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ – Early Cistercian abbots, leadership and human-resources: central and local perspectives in the twelfth century‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
10.45 Johan Belaen (Ghent University) – The role of abbots in the coordination of regional Benedictine monasticism (c. 1130 – c. 1215): new perspectives and questions

11.30 Steven Vanderputten – Concluding remarks

Informations pratiques :

International Conference/Congres International
Ghent/Gand, 15–16/12/2016

Organizing committee :

Steven Vanderputten (UGent)
Gert Melville (TUDresden)

Scientific committee :

Steven Vanderputten (UGent)
Gert Melville (TUDresden)
Brigitte Meijns (KU Leuven)

Source : Universiteit Gent

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