MECERN at IMC 2016 in Leeds: report

This year’s International Medieval Congress in Leeds took place July 4-7. Its main theme, ‘Food, Feast & Famine’ was chosen for the crucial importance of these phenomena in social and intellectual discourse, both medieval and modern, as well as their impact on many aspects of the human experience.

 Areas of discussion included:

  • Agricultural systems
  • Almsgiving – food as charity
  • Changing tastes
  • Cookbooks and cooking practice
  • Dearth and famine
  • Drink – wine, ale, and water
  • Environmental contexts
  • Feasting
  • Food and social class
  • Food in monastic and other religious communities
  • Food production
  • Food supply and population
  • Food supply and transport
  • Fresh and saltwater fish
  • Hunting
  • Medical ideas of food, digestion, and humoral pathology
  • Medieval haute cuisine
  • Religious and spiritual feasting and fasting
  • Spices and other edible luxury trade items
  • Standards of living
  • Symbolic/Figurative food
  • Trading food

A round table discussion Migration, Borders, and Refugees in Medieval Central Europe: A Round Table Discussion was organized by MECERN on July 5. Participants included Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität Hagen), Emilia Jamroziak (Technische Universität Dresden / University of Leeds), Dorottya Uhrin (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest), Balazs Nagy (Central European University, Budapest) Emir Filipović (University of Sarajevo), and Nada Zečević (University of Eastern Sarajevo/Central European University, Budapest)

Among the important issues brought up during the discussion, the highlights were on the borders of our modern uses and interpretations of the medieval migrations, various perceptions of migratory movements and socio-cultural phenomena they entailed in medieval Central Europe, and the need to compare our knowledge of the migrations recorded in medieval Central Europe to the similar movements recorded in other parts of Europe.

More on this year’s IMC program and activities around the central theme can be found at

For the media coverage, see here.


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