28 September 2023

End Date

29 September 2023

9:30am - 5pm

The University of Sydney and Online

AEMA logoIn the largely rural and agrarian landscape of the medieval world, fauna and flora were highly regarded, as is evidenced by the importance of agriculture, the popularity of bestiaries, and the legacy of the elder Pliny's Naturalis historia. The dynamics of the natural environment and social life has become an increasingly important topic in scholarship in recent years as we grapple with the impact of climate change.

For most people in the early Middle Ages, a supernatural world existed alongside the natural one and interacted with it. Indeed, the presence of the unnatural, whether in terms of bizarre creatures or disease and other environmental disasters, was taken as proof of the impact of the supernatural on the natural world and fed into philosophical and religious discourse.

Was nature cruel and heartless? Was it a manifestation of the divine? Was it there to be harnessed and exploited or was it wild and uncontrollable?

Potential themes include:

  • Cosmology and astrology
  • Climate and natural disasters
  • Disease and medicines
  • Technologies and superstitions
  • Paganism and Christianity
  • Biological cycles and human culture
  • The natural and the supernatural
  • Wilderness and domestication
  • Life and the afterlife
  • Daylight and darkness
  • Monsters and totems
  • Art and the imagination

Papers that focus on the dimensions of any or all of these worlds and their interplay in the early medieval period (c. 400 - 1100 CE), which either confirm or challenge this notion are invited to be presented at our annual conference to be held in September 2023 in hybrid mode.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs