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CLAMS Summer Workshop 2024 – Consent in Global Late Antiquity and Medieval Ages

Strand Campus, London


This workshop will investigate the influence that the sacred and the secular had on the production of consent, questioning how individuals across the cultural spheres of the global late antique and medieval periods responded to the introduction of new cultural and religious definitions of consent. Within this focus, the intersection of the sacred and the secular offers a fascinating lens through which to explore the idea of consent within the dynamic religious and political worlds of these periods.

Examining the nuanced landscape of sexual consent and body perceptions within the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions reveals a complex interplay of ecclesiastical and secular factions, as seen, for example, in the contrasting venerations of the Virgin Mary and the fecund Fatima, Prophet Muhammad’s daughter. Delving into politics of power uncovers a multitude of exchange relations associated with different levels of inflicted harm, as can be seen in the legends of ascetics, hermits, and martyrs, while oscillating between worldly law and Godly command.

This workshop seeks to understand the diverse definitions of consent that emerged from the cross-section of the sacred and secular spheres, and the impact that these definitions had on individuals and other communities.


The workshop will close with a keynote lecture by Charlie Samuelson (University of Colorado-Boulder) on 'Consent in the Old French Tristan Material: Thomas of Britain's (In-)Sensitivity to Female Sexual Trauma'. Charlie is author of Courtly and Queer: Deconstruction, Desire and Medieval French Literature (Ohio, 2022).

If you wish to attend the keynote only and not the full workshop, please sign up to the separate registration here.


The full programme will be announced shortly.

Speakers will explore the workshop theme through a variety of disciplinary approaches (literary studies, history, archaeology, theology, etc), with focuses spanning from the fourth century until the late fifteenth century in many geographic settings.

Paper presentations will be 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.

To attend

There is no attendance fee, but seats are limited.

Tea, coffee, and lunch provided. Drinks reception to follow.

If you are external to King's, please speak to the front desk at the Strand Campus reception and they will give you a day pass. (Please note: The organisers will send a list of external attendees to security 5 days before the event. If you sign up to the event after 15 June, we may not have time to let security know. In this case, we will arrange for one of the organisers to meet you at reception and sign you in.)

Further details

This workshop is supported by the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at King’s College London, as well as the project ‘Sacred Secular: Religion and Secularity in French and German Literature of the 12th Century’, funded by the Thyssen Foundation.

For more information and questions, please contact the organisers: George Oliver and Janine Schmitz.

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