Call for Papers, IMC 2020, Leeds: ‘Observants on the borders. Religious and Political challenges in Central and Eastern Europe in the Quattrocento’

The aim of these sessions is to promote the dialogue within Medieval Studies on the fifteenth century involving a focus on the Observant movements in Central and Eastern Europe in the fifteenth century. This area of research has been largely neglected by Anglophone scholarship in the past and we believe that the study of religious orders can foster the integration of different historiographical traditions. We would like to gather researchers interested on this area and welcome papers that discuss and highlight the contribution of religious orders on politics, culture, and society.

In the landscape of the consolidation of the papacy after the end of the Great Schism, Central and Eastern Europe represented a stage of intense diplomatic and missionary activity supported by the Roman Church to gain authority and control over the Christendom. The Observant movements, mostly the Franciscan one, but not only, played and essential role in strengthen relations between local powers and laypeople, Church and monarchs. Observants formed a forefront against the dissidence of heretics, Jews, and schismatics. As papal agents, Observants were also responsible to organize a unitary Anti-Ottoman front. The most emblematic example is the mission of the Observant friar John of Capistrano between 1451 and 1456 culminating in the battle of Belgrade.

Proposals may include but are certainly not limited to the following topics:

  • Hussite heresy controversy
  • Sermons, preaching, and social issues
  • Tensions, reforms and divisions within religious orders
  • Anti-Ottoman front
  • Observants and the Central and Eastern European dynasties
  • Missions, conversions, settlements, and the challenges of local contexts.
  • Adaptation and implementation of Observant ideas on the frontiers of Latin Christendom
  • Conflict/agreement with priests and bishops

Abstracts of approximatively 200 words should be sent to Andrea Mancini (, or Pawel Cholewicki ( Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds, by 27 September 2019. For further information about the Leeds International Medieval Congress 2020, please visit this website: