17th International Congress of Medieval Canon Law

The 17th International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, co-sponsored by ICMAC (Iuris Canonici Medii Aevi Consociatio/International Society of Medieval Canon Law) will be based at the University of Kent campus in Canterbury, UK, between Sunday, 7 July, and Saturday, 13 July 2024. These congresses take place every four years on alternate sides of the Atlantic and constitute the leading academic conferences in the field of medieval canon law. Traditionally they have drawn scholars from many countries, including not only medievalists and lawyers, but also those who study related fields, such as Western jurisprudence and legal norms, Roman law, ecclesiastical and papal history, theology and biblical exegesis, manuscript studies, and the history of culture, society, and ideas.

ICMAC, the congress organisers Prof. Barbara Bombi FBA, Dr Edward Roberts, and Prof. Peter Clarke and congress programming committee invite proposals for individual 20-minute papers and for sessions (of 3 x 20-minute papers or 4 x 15-minute papers) on any aspect of medieval canon law, including, but not limited to, the following themes:

·        Texts and Jurisprudence

·        Influence of the ius commune on the Western Legal Tradition and International Law

·        Canon Law and Local Ecclesiastical History

·        Canon Law, Theology, and Pastoral Care

·        Medieval Law in Comparative Perspective

Proposals should be submitted as Word attachments via email to the congress address (icmcl2024@gmail.com) no later than 15 December 2023.

An individual paper proposal should comprise: paper title and language of presentation; a brief abstract (100-150 words); the speaker’s details (name; academic status; institutional affiliation; email address).

A session proposal should comprise the above for each paper proposed, together with: the details (as for speakers above) of the session organiser and session chair; the session title; a brief rationale (50-100 words) for the session, i.e., how the papers are related.

Proposals are welcomed from those at all stages of their academic career, including PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, as well as independent scholars. Papers may be delivered in these languages: English; French; German; Italian; or Spanish. Scholars not presenting in English are encouraged to use PowerPoint presentations and/or provide written English summaries of their papers.

Regular sessions will not feature papers on text-editing projects (but can include papers on manuscript studies). Updates on such projects will be showcased in a poster session during the Congress. Scholars who wish to present on such projects may submit two proposals if they desire, one for the poster session and another for a regular session.

The organisers would especially welcome proposals on the theme ‘Bridging the Divide’, focusing on Canterbury as a place of significance in the history of Western Christianity and medieval canon law before and after the Protestant Reformation and as the centre of the global Anglican communion. Contributions to this theme might cover such topics as:

  • Canterbury’s role in the compilation and diffusion of medieval canon law in the English Church
  • Canon law and local jurisdictions: application of canon law in the archbishops’ and other local church courts
  • Canon law and secular law: the impact of the Becket crisis on medieval canon law (especially after the Constitutions of Clarendon in 1164) and its long-term legacy
  • Global Anglicanism: the continuing influence of medieval canon law in the Anglican communion and other post-Reformation churches

Although the chronological focus of the Congress is typically c. 500 – c. 1500, we would also welcome contributions from early modernists to this theme, which is designed to bridge the all too separate study of pre- and post-Reformation Christianity and explore continuities and synergies in the history of canon law over the longue durée. Historians of early modern Catholicism are also invited to offer papers exploring continuities of pre-Tridentine canon law in Europe and the New World, including among English Catholics.

In addition, we would welcome contributions to the strand ‘Canon law and governance’, which will explore how the study of medieval canon law can help inform current public policy debates, notably on the role of international law, electoral systems, constitutional reform, and representative government. The strand will thus focus on these four topics:

  • Canon law and international law: the transnational influence of medieval canon law on the emergence of national legal systems
  • Constitutionalism and canon law: the interaction of medieval canon law and secular law in the development of governing institutions
  • Communities and canon law: the role of medieval canon law in the emergence and definition of groups and communities, such as women and clergy
  • Elections and consent: the influence of medieval canon law on the role of elections and consent in government

Papers on other aspects of medieval canon law and governance, such as human rights, are also welcome. The purpose of this strand is to show the continuing relevance of medieval canon law to political issues and appeal to a broader public audience. Invited speakers in this special strand include:

  • Prof. Orazio Condorelli (University of Catania, Italy)
  • Prof. Christof Rolker (University of Bamberg, Germany)
  • Prof. Caroline Humfress (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • Prof. Nicholas Vincent FBA (University of East Anglia, UK)
  • Prof. Sara Butler (Ohio State University, USA)
  • Prof. Charles West (University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Dr Joseph Canning (Queens’ College, Cambridge, UK)
  • Dr Danica Summerlin (University of Sheffield, UK)

Prof. Kenneth Pennington (Catholic University of America, Washington DC)

The event is finished.


Jul 07 - 13 2024


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