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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

MEMSA Conference

The finale of MEMSA's academic year is its own postgraduate conference in Durham which attracts a wide variety of postgraduates and academics from across the UK and beyond.

Each year, the conference has welcomed a wide variety of highly original and engaging postgraduate papers, and has enjoyed the privilege of hearing internationally regarded keynote speakers. Details of past conferences can be found below.

Journals from previous conferences can be found on the MEMSA WordPress site.

MEMSA is pleased to announce the Crossing Borders, Contesting Boundaries podcast series. A new project for the 2020 – 2021 academic year, the CBCB podcast follows the success of MEMSA’s digital 2020 conference in inviting its participants to share and discuss their research on the theme of crossing borders and contesting boundaries in the medieval and early modern world.

The CBCB podcast runs fortnightly during term time, alternating with the MEMSA seminar series. The podcast series explores the theme of crossing borders, contesting boundaries in a variety of ways, encompassing contributions from postgraduate students and early career academics from across the world and representing a range of disciplines, perspectives, and approaches.

The Crossing Borders, Contesting Boundaries podcast can be followed or subscribed to on a range of platforms, including Google Podcasts and Spotify, or streamed directly on To receive updates, sign up to the MEMSA mailing list by emailing or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



Crossing Borders, Contesting Boundaries II


To apply to give a 15- to 20-minute paper, please send a proposal of circa 250 words and a brief biographical statement to

Borders and boundaries divided the medieval and early modern world, both its physical space and its more intangible social hierarchies and networks. They helped construct and reinforce identities, creating a sense of belonging and security; but they also partitioned, segregated, and excluded. Thus, once set, borders and boundaries invited debate, defence, and defiance.

MEMSA's 15th annual postgraduate conference will be running as a digital event, with papers presented as pre-recorded videos.

We welcome abstract submissions from postgraduate students and early career academics addressing the theme 'Crossing Borders, Contesting Boundaries' in its broadest possible sense.

Potential presentation themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Travel, trade, and pilgrimage
  • Cartography and exploration
  • Rivalry, conflict, and diplomacy
  • Gender norms and expectations
  • Frontier zones and border regions
  • Belonging and exclusion
  • Religious schism and reform
  • Legal jurisdiction and transgression

By applying you are agreeing to allow the MEMSA committee to contact you regarding the conference. Your personal data is collected in accordance with Durham University's privacy notices. For more information, please see

Past Conferences

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Friday 12 July 2019

Thursday 11 July 2019

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Tuesday 12 May 2015