International Medieval Congress (IMC) 2020

This year's annual International Medieval Congress (IMC) will be held from 6-9 July 2020, with the Special Thematic Strand of 'Borders'.

The International Medieval Congress (IMC) provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Papers and session proposals on any topic related to the Middle Ages are welcome, and each year the IMC also chooses a special thematic focus. In 2020 this is 'Borders'

Drawing medievalists from over 60 countries, with more than 2,000 individual papers as well as public concerts, performances, excursions, book fairs, and more, the IMC is Europe's largest forum for sharing ideas in medieval studies. 

Paper and session proposal submissions are currently open - see 'Proposal Deadlines' for more details. 

Special Thematic Strand: 'Borders'

Medieval borders have preoccupied scholars for several decades in various guises.

The term 'border' designates a wide variety of phenomena: physical geographical limits, that can be signalled by border markers or natural features, points where toll has to be paid, political boundaries, that vary from points in space to linear and fortified military fronts, ways of controlling space, frontier zones, borderlands, porous zones of encounters and contact, ways of limiting community and identity, ideological and metaphorical delimitation including discourse and representation, bordering practices, the process of creating and performing borders, and borderscapes to capture fluidity and change over time. 

This strand seeks to bring together medievalists of all fields interested in both the theory and practice of borders in all their variety, from physical boundaries and material borders to dynamic social and spatial relationships. 

Borders can be linked to power and the formation of states, to definitions of self and other, to violence and military engagement, to belonging and becoming, to material and symbolic construction, to relational and perspectival production of space, to mapping and discourse, to experience and theory, to negotiation and performance. Borders can also be found in frescoes, textiles, clothing, ceramics or coins, with practical, symbolic or aesthetic functions. Borders are also subject to evolution and significant change over time not just between the medieval and modern, but within the medieval period. 

Themes to be addressed may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Political and military borders
  • Living in border zones
  • Medieval and Modern perceptions, descriptions, and conceptualizations of borders
  • Delimiting borders, border markers
  • Border maintenance
  • Encountering and experiencing borders
  • Bordering practices
  • Borderscapes in the longue durée
  • Symbolic borders
  • Belonging and exclusion

The full list of themes and complete CFP can be accessed here. 

This strand will be coordinated by Nora Berend (Faculty of History/St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge). 

Proposal Deadlines

Individual paper proposals can be submitted online from 31 May - 31 August 2019; session proposals can be submitted online from 31 May - 30 September 2019

Before submitting, read the Proposal Guidelines

The IMC welcomes session and paper proposals submitted in all major European languages. 

Further Information

For further queries, see the IMC 2020 website, or contact IMC staff: 

  • Telephone: +44 (0) 113 343 3614
  • Email:
  • Address: International Medieval Congress, Institute for Medieval Studies, Parkinson Building 1.03, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK