Call for Session at the 72nd Annual International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians
Medieval buildings and spaces were not always used for a single purpose; very often they were used for multiple activities or by diverse stakeholders. Sometimes this sharing of space was successful and mutually beneficial. Alternatively, the use of a space in multiple ways or by different groups could be frustrating at best and deeply antagonistic at worst. This panel is dedicated to these mixed-use spaces, from the smallest vernacular dwellings to the largest castles and cathedrals.
The benefits and challenges of sharing space were perhaps most acute in smaller structures, such as parish churches or minor monasteries. For example, a monastic church might accommodate local laity if a convenient parish church was not available. Such sharing allowed lay and monastic worshipers to pool architectural and clerical resources in an economical fashion. Monumental buildings and complexes could also be called upon to serve the needs of the larger community, even as they maintained a daily routine for their primary constituents. For example, a castle precinct could serve both a residential population and members of the public—with clearly enforced rules of access. Shared space raises questions of power, privilege, diplomacy, and financial responsibility.
This session invites proposals which analyze the multiple uses of religious, civic, and/or private structures and spaces throughout medieval Europe. Particular consideration will be given to presentations which address the participation of non-elites in otherwise elite spaces; clues to their presence may be discovered in the textual record, landscape, or the building fabric itself. In acknowledging the participation of multiple communities within specific structures, we invite presenters to complicate accepted interpretations of the medieval built environment.
Session Co-Chairs: Meg Bernstein, University of California, Los Angeles, and Catherine E. Hundley, Independent Scholar