[H-verkko] CFP: Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

agricola at utu.fi agricola at utu.fi
To Elo 23 11:22:01 EEST 2012

Agricolan Artikkelipyyntötietokantaan
( http://agricola.utu.fi/nyt/pyynnot/ )
on tullut seuraava ilmoitus:

Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Call for Papers

Conference 'Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Modern Europe',
Helsinki, 14-15 March 2013

In medieval and early modern Europe society, the Grim Reaper, death,
was a recurrent guest. Leaving emotional aspects aside, the
omnipresence of death required people to prepare for the possibility
of dying. The religious worldview revolved around thought of salvation
based on
individual merit - sins and good deeds. Souls were destined either to
heaven or hell, depending on how the individual had behaved during

When a person feared that death was close, he or she turned his
thoughts to arranging his soul for afterlife. Confession of one's
sins, contrition and making amends were part of the penitential
process. In addition to the confession of sins, praying for the dying
and extreme unction belonged to the religious deathbed rituals in
medieval and early modern Europe. Sudden death was perceived as a
threat because the soul could not be prepared for afterlife. Priests
had their own handbooks advising them how to approach a person on his
sickbed and how to console him and his family. In the Middle Ages,
there developed a whole genre of literature, the ars moriendi,
instructing people about the proper way of dying.

Apart from the soul, property issues were also a major concern for the
dying. How were the wealth and family resources to be distributed
death? Was something to be invested in good deeds: donations ad pios
usus, alms, masses, etc.? Law and custom provided a plethora of ways
for transferring property to the surviving relatives and the next
generation (e.g., statutory inheritance, wills and testaments,
marriage contracts, primogeniture, entails and fideicommissa). The
strategies of heirship varied in time and place. Preparing for death
could also mean worrying about the memory and postmortem reputation of
the dying. This could be done for example by preparing or
commissioning works of art, effigies, memorials or literary works.

The conference 'Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Modern
Europe' will investigate and explore the various ways and strategies
medieval and early modern people used in attempting to prepare
themselves and others - body, soul, property and memory - for the
inevitable and omnipresent death. Although the timeframe is historical
in order to achieve certain consistency, the conference aims at
interdisciplinarity. Papers dealing with religious, legal, visual,
cultural, political, and philosophical perspectives on preparing for
death are welcome.

Those interested in giving a twenty-minute presentation at the
conference are requested to submit a paper proposal (about 200 words)
by 30 October 2012 to Mia Korpiola mia.korpiola[at]helsinki.fi),
Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki.

Keynote Speakers
Professor Richard H. Helmholz (Chicago Law School) gives a plenary
'Property Postmortem: Legal Instruments and Inheritance Strategies in
Medieval and Early Modern Europe' (preliminary title). 
Docent Otfried Czaika (Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm) gives a
plenary lecture: 'Dying Unprepared: Sudden Death in Early Modern
Swedish Funeral Sermons.'

Ilmoituksen lähetti: Anu Lahtinen <anulah at utu.fi>
Ilmoitus vanhentuu: 31.10.2012
Lisätietoja WWW-osoitteesta: http://