Marginalisation and the Law: Medieval and Modern

Just like in the modern world, medieval societies contained subordinate groups and individuals who were repeatedly relegated to the margins. While many of these groups have been the subject of extensive discussion, historians have paid far less attention to the methods by which marginal identities were created, identified, expressed, or rewritten over time. One of the most important of these methods is the operation of laws. This project brings together four historians with expertise on medieval law and two scholars of contemporary socio-legal theory in order to examine the key elements that have underpinned the processes of marginalisation in the medieval and modern periods. The expertise of the medievalists ranges broadly, from AD 600-1500 and over Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic world. The law scholars specialise in the relationship of the law to gender, sexuality, mental health, and criminal offending from the Victorian period to the present day.

For more information please visit the projects website which can be found here 

Law and Religious Minorities

February 15th, Sheffield (5:00 p.m.)

Ricardo Rabinovich-Berkman, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Title: Reflections on the construction of prejudicial archetypes and their relation to Law

University of Sheffield, Bartolome House, Room EG03

February 16th, Sheffield (11 a.m.)

Christian Sahner, University of Oxford

Title: Islamic Law and the Marginalisation of Zoroastrians in Medieval Iran

University of Sheffield, Jessop West, Room G.03

Law and Gender Expression

March 9th, York

10.30am – 12.30pm

Peter Dunne, University of Bristol

Title: Trans Identities and Intersex Variance: A (Satisfactory?) Modern Legal Framework

University of York, Law and Management Building, East Campus, LMB/030/031

2pm – 4pm

Christof Rolker, Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg

Title: Gender studies in the Middle Ages: Theology, Medicine and Law

University of York, Ron Cooke Hub, East Campus, RCH/037

Monsters and the Challenge of Law

April 26th , Sheffield (5:00 p.m.)  * please note date changed 

Alex Sharpe, University of Keele

Title: Scary Monsters: the hopeful undecidability of David Bowie

University of Sheffield, Bartolome House, Moot Court

Securing the Social Order

April 19th, York (6:00 p.m.)

Lindsay Farmer, University of Glasgow

Title: Criminalisation, Civil Order and Exclusion

University of York, Ron Cooke Hub, East Campus, RCH/037

April 20th, York (10.30 a.m.)

Lucy Sackville, University of York

Title: The Business of Faith: Inquisition and Crime in the Middle Ages

University of York, Berrick Saul Treehouse (West Campus)

Law and Marginalised Professions

May 17th, Leeds (5:00 p.m.)

Peter Sarris, University of Cambridge

Title: Merchants and Bankers in Byzantium

May 18th, Leeds (11:00 a.m.)

Jack Lennon, University of Leicester

Title: Denigration and the Law in Ancient Rome


Women and the Law

June 13th Leeds

10.30am – 12.30pm
Cordelia Beattie, University of Edinburgh
Title: Under the Rod: The Legal Position of Married Women in Medieval England

2pm – 4pm
Arezou Azad, University of Birmingham
Title: The verve of clever women: Female hadith scholars in pre-modern times


Lead Academic
Maroula Perisanidi – University of Leeds

Lead Academics at other two Universities
Danica Summerlin – University of Sheffield
Harry Munt – University of York

Other staff associated with this project
Melanie Brunner – University of Leeds
Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg – University of Sheffield
Ailbhe O’Loughlin – University of York