Marginalisation and the Law

Partners and collaborators

White Rose University Consortium: University of Sheffield, University of York


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.

Through a series of workshops and lectures in Leeds, Sheffield, and York, these scholars aim to explore the vocabulary of marginalisation in the medieval and modern worlds; identify forms of continuity and change in the way that groups have been marginalised; and consider the limits and powers of different types of law to create marginal groups. Dr Maroula Perisanidi is the Lead Academic for the project, and Dr Melanie Brunner is also associated with this project. 

Project website