Call for Papers

Buildings and the Body Symposium

27-28th June 2014, University of Southampton

Call for Papers ***NOW CLOSED***

An interdisciplinary symposium to explore living and building in the medieval and early modern world.


Recent years have seen an upsurge of interest amongst medieval and early modern archaeologists and historians in the materiality of buildings and their social biographies. Amongst historians this has led to increasing interest in the eliciting of narratives derived from evidence of this materiality whilst historical archaeologists have devoted much attention to the ways in which the human body creates and inhabits its built environment. Both streams of work are strongly convergent and archaeology, in addition, is adding to this scholarship with the development of increasingly sophisticated virtual computer studies.

The wide time frame considered by this symposium is aimed at encouraging a rich diversity of viewpoints for discussion, illustration and comparison. In particular we are seeking papers which build on recent research or introduce new conceptual ways of viewing the building and its relationship to the body. The symposium has been devised to review the progress of ideas which make up the historical and archaeological perceptions of this relationship and explore and critique the newly emerging approaches, theories and practices.

We invite participants to contribute to this exciting process from across the humanities, as well as from heritage bodies, local interest societies, commercial units and other disciplines. Importantly, since we intend this event to be as inclusive and as enjoyable as possible, we would like to encourage the attendance of undergraduates and members of the public eager to expand and exchange their knowledge of this field.

With contributions from:

  • Duncan Brown, English Heritage
  • Dr Kate Giles, University of York
  • Prof David Hinton, University of Southampton
  • Philip Hoare, University of Southampton (Visiting Fellow) & Plymouth University (Artist in Residence)
  • Prof Matthew Johnson, Northwestern University
  • Dr Louise Revell, University of Southampton
  • Dr Danae Tankard, University of Chichester
  • Prof Chris Woolgar, University of Southampton

Symposium structure

The symposium will be organised through the following five themes:

1)     Biographies and narratives of buildings

2)     New approaches, theoretical perspectives and digital methodologies

3)     Objects and buildings: bodily mediators, expressions, agents?

4)     Cosmology and the perception of  the supernatural lives of buildings

5)     Buildings and the senses.

Each theme will be applied to both:

  • A paper session consisting of two 20 minute podium presentations
  • A round table discussion consisting of several 10 minute presentations, after which the session will be thrown open to discussion for all participants.

In addition, there will be a poster exhibition and competition, in which research related to any of the above themes can be presented. We particularly encourage poster submissions from undergraduate and post-graduates on taught courses, and will have prizes for the best posters from each of these groups.

We therefore invite abstracts for contributions in the following:

  • 20 minute podium paper presentations
  • 10 minute roundtable paper presentations
  • Posters (A1 size maximum)

Please send submissions using this form by 31st March 2014 to


Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton

Dr Jude Jones, Catriona Cooper, Penny Copeland, Ellie Williams, Matthew Harrison, Tom Dhoop



  1. Pingback: CFP: Buildings & the Body Symposium: Exploring Living and Building in the Medieval and Early Modern World | Early Modern Architecture
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