Monday, 17 September 2012

Networks and Neighbours

An international collaboration of scholars dedicated to the poetics of life in early medieval worlds

15 September 2013
The journal website - - is now back up and fully operational.  Sorry for any inconvenience caused as we were switching over to a permanent publishing platform.  

Networks and Neighbours: IMC 2014

Call for Panels at the 2014 International Medieval Congress at Leeds

Dear friends and colleagues,

Networks and Neighbours is pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring and organizing several panels at the Leeds 2014 International Medieval Congress.   

There is no particular sub-theme for the papers or panels except that they should consider the general aims of Networks and Neighbours and keep in mind the theme of the 2014 IMC: Empire. 

For those of you that do not know us, we are an international and cross-disciplinary project dedicated to broadly innovative research in Early Medieval History.   We are constituted by an exceptional collection of junior and senior scholars from a wide array of academic, intellectual, cultural and linguistic backgrounds from around the globe and across fields of enquiry.  We hope by this method to be able to eliminate, or at least minimize, the barriers that prevent co-operation and in so doing develop a worldwide community of scholars readily familiar and in dialogue with current research and scholars in Early Medieval History.

Whether you are submitting a single paper or assembled panel all proposals must be accompanied by 250-500-word abstracts all of works involved.  Panel submissions should additionally include a 500-word explanation about the panel and how the papers complement one another and, if appropriate, the research of the moderator. 

All proposals should be submitted to us at by the 27th of August 2013.   We will make our decisions closely after the deadline in consideration of the IMC’s internal deadlines.  If your paper and/or panel are selected please keep in mind that some moderators may want your full papers submitted to them in advance of the IMC.

Finally, it should be noted that it is our intention to publish an edited volume based on the papers and other work developed in our IMC 2014 panels, as well as our 2013 & 2014 annual Symposia and other significant events run and sponsored by Networks and Neighbours over the course of two years.  Furthermore, we welcome extended panel papers as peer-reviewed submissions to our no-fees open-access and print journal at


First Annual Symposium: Early Medieval Correlations

This two-day symposium will take place 27-28 June 2013 at the University of Leeds and will be concerned with varying types of inter-connectivity in the Early Middle Ages.  The aim is to promote not only the study of how people and communities interacted within and without their own world and localities in the Early Middle Ages, but also to promote the study of Early Medieval Networks by an international, multi-lingual collaboration of scholars.

This symposium will be the first major event of a new international project titled ‘Networks and Neighbours’, which also will publish an associated journal to begin in June 2013.  Initially by a collection of scholars in the U.K., Brazil and Israel, N&N seeks to build upon the excellent work and successes of series such as the ‘Transformation of the Roman World’, HERA ‘Cultural Memory and the Resources of the Past’ and ‘Texts and Identities’, we hope to forge novel methodologies and critically informed histories of Early Medieval Europe.  As part of this, we set out with the view that if texts present directed meaning because they are sets of signifiers and our minds are developed so as to expect, anticipate and subsequently comprehend complex information through sets, or networks, of ideas, then we can argue that it is the respective, local topology of a past situation, or rather of its functional and malleable discourses, that can provide the modern ‘reader’, or historian, with the framework through which s/he can write a story of the past.

Networks and Neighbours is at its inceptive moment looking forward to developing histories, arguments and modes of thinking that are built from the shared intellectual and research energy of the group as it emerges.  However, to begin the conversation let us clarify our initial position and pose some opening questions.  We maintain that identity and meaning were not determined by fixed sets and integers, but by a complex network of interrelated signs. In practice, this suggests that a single person within their personal world could have travelled within various worlds and realities, identifying with various neighbours at even single overlapping points of identity; one did not encounter another as a fixed category, either of ‘self’ or ‘other’.  Thus, by ‘network’ we do not mean a fixed identifier, a singularizing category, but refer to the complex ways that individuals, groups, institutions etc. constructed self-considered, coherent and singular existences from the multiplicity of mental activity, perceptions, ideas, and the varying confrontation with images, physical and non-human being, languages, sounds, senses, ‘discourses’ and all else that was life in the period.  This, then, is how we would like to make sense of the concepts of ‘continuity’ and ‘change’, particularly as they happened ‘on the ground’

Some questions to consider are: where, how and under what conditions did networks meet and communicate?  Where and what were the spaces that defined the uniqueness of such connections and how did such negated contours mediate identity, knowledge, awareness and related concepts?  Are we approaching a materialist universalism for the early Middle Ages, a way of understanding former existences informed by the constant dialectics between epistemological finitude and infinity, that is, the moments of tangible, neighbourly interaction made sensible against perceived networks?

With that all in mind, the Symposium will consist of five sessions over the two days.  Papers of no more than 3,000 words will be submitted one month in advance and circulated to all participants. This system of early submission will, we hope, encourage a more in-depth and meaningful discussion on the day. Moreover, the format of the symposium will promote the sharing of scholarship within the network of selected scholars. Each individual session will have either an established academic or an early career scholar provide a 10-15 minute response to the three papers, including a brief summary and critical analysis of all three papers, always bearing in the mind the general topic of the session. After the response the floor will be opened up to general questions concerning either the overall theme of the event, or the session of which it is part.

We would warmly like to thank our sponsors HERA: Humanities in the European Research Area and the Royal Historical Society (UK).