Colloque – Transcending boundaries? Solidarity in the pre-industrial period

Recent historiography on charity, poor relief and mutual assistance has strongly focused on its community-delineating potential. All assistance and relief is in one way or another reserved for a specific group considered ‘deserving’, be that co-religionists, fellow townsmen, members of a particular guild, confraternity or quarter, etc. When allocating aid or relief to one specific group, the in-group is formed while its boundaries are being sharpened to outsiders. The putting up of boundaries thus stands at the forefront of research on charity, assistance and relief.

This is enhanced by Eurocentric modernity narratives, in which notions of territory have played a major part. Historiography for example has strongly focused on a perceived shift, especially from the sixteenth century onwards, from private initiatives to the responsibility of public institutions and governments, initially at city level; later the regional or ‘national’ level took over. Writing from the vantage point of national welfare states, historians have perceived poor relief all too easily as linked to a certain territory and / or citizenship. Poor relief and aid embedded in networks stretching across territories often escaped the attention. This is all the more problematic since medieval and even early modern political actors conceived their political communities in a non-territorial way, as corporations, or clusters of corporations, based on membership rather than residence.

Recent studies have already cri cised this modernity narra ve and the use of ‘na ons’ as frame of analysis. In a range of research elds ‘entangled history’ or ‘histoire croisée’ approaches have yielded new insights, while in the broader social sciences new conceptual approaches have chosen networks as their basic concept. However, a truly network-based and transna onal perspec ve on charity, assistance and relief is s ll missing. In this workshop we want to broaden the view by focussing on networks of charity, assistance and relief, transcending local, regional and / or na onal boundaries; thus exploring the area of tension between territory, network and transna onalism. Family, religious, commercial and other es indeed all challenged or transcended territorial boundaries.

Transcending Boundaries

Programme :

12u30: Welcome and registration

13u:00 Keynote lecture by Gervase Rosser (University of Oxford) – Living Together: Contemporary Challenges and the Experience of the Medieval Guilds
13u45: Eline Van Onacker (UA) – An (a)social economy? Peasant communi es and the rela onship between formal and informal relief during the grain crisis of 1556/57 in the Low Countries
Marjolein Schepers (VUB) – Crossing community boundaries? Territoriality, transna onalism and belonging in eighteenth-century France and Flanders 15u30: Coffee/thee

16u00: Hannelore Franck (KU Leuven) – Reform of outdoor relief in Europe during the 16th century: religious transforma on or political opportunism?
Arie van Steensel (RUG) – Solidarity: Modern Theories and Medieval Practices
17u45: Closing remarks by Bert De Munck (UA)
18u00: Drinks and Dinner

Informations pratiques :

October 27, 2017
University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, building E, room E.207 (see map)

This event is free of charge but registra on is obligated since the number of places is limited.

A propos RMBLF

Réseau des médiévistes belges de langue française
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