Past and Future Medieval Studies Today

6th European Congress of Medieval Studies

Past and Future Medieval Studies Today 6.e Congrès Européen d’Études Médiévales

02-05.09.2018 Basel (Switzerland), Department of Arts, Media and Philosophy of the University of Basel

FIDEM Congress 2018

The 6th European Congress of Medieval Studies of the Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales (FIDEM) will be organized by the Department of Arts, Media, and Philosophy of the University of Basel, Switzerland.


There was a time, not so long ago, when Medieval Studies constituted a major pillar for the understanding of the history of human civilization. The Middle Ages bridge the gap between ancient culture and Modernity; it is the period during which the Greek and Roman heritage was transformed into European and Christian values and found expression in new and different ways in music, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, and theology – fields, which testify to the cultural evolution of humanity. For this reason, Medieval Studies had a strong and uncontested position in the curricula of many institutions of higher education, especially in the Western world.

Today, things are different. While the medieval contribution to the project of humanity remains beyond doubt, the challenges facing those interested in history have definitively changed. In a globalizing world, the emergence of the universities, gothic architecture, polyphony, and urban culture, can no longer be studied in isolation. Their significance must be assessed against the background of developments elsewhere in the world, for instance, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Today, what does the medieval past mean for a global and culturally diverse future?

Medieval Studies have always excelled by their vigorous scholarly methods and their inventiveness: it is within this realm that new methods of critical text editing were developed and became the standard across all the humanities; medievalists were among the first to seize the opportunities and chances offered by the digitization of texts; interdisciplinary research is the rule rather than the exception. With these features, Medieval Studies are well equipped to develop convincing answers  to the challenges of the future in front of them. Distinguished by a vast regional diversity as well as global interaction and exchange, the Middle Ages both question and inspire our contemporary understanding as citizens of a globalizing world, a promising challenge calling for new ideas and
powerful institutions suited to put the ‘European’ Middle Ages into relation with human achievements elsewhere on the globe.

Currently, different replies to these new challenges are under discussion, each with its own potentials and risks: global medievalism, digital humanities, comparative history, rethinking the cultural narrative. To present and debate these approaches and to exchange views about successful perspectives of Medieval Studies, the Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Etudes Médiévales (FIDEM) devotes its 6th European Congress of Medieval Studies to the topic of “Past and Future: Medieval Studies Today”.

By way of plenary talks and discussion sessions, specialist from the fields of Arts, History, Philosophy, and Literature will share with the audience their views about the possible future of Medieval Studies.

Call for Papers

There is a number of slots for papers (20 minutes) and special sessions (90 minutes). Proposals should be submitted to Prof. Maarten J.F.M. Hoenen at by 30 April, 2018.


To facilitate attendance at the Congress, FIDEM stipends (500 €) are available for researchers under the age of 35, who will present a paper.
Applications (including a letter of application, a CV and a letter of recommendation) should be submitted to Dr. Marta Pavón Ramírez, FIDEM Secretary General, at 
 by 30 April, 2018.

General Assembly

On Tuesday, 4 September, the General Assembly of the FIDEM will take place in the Kollegienhaus of the University of Basel. At the General Assembly, the new board of the FIDEM will be elected. Further items of the agenda will be announced in advance.

Registration and Information

Registration is free. To register, please send an email to  by July 15, 2018.
In the next circular details on stipends, hotel accommodation and travel information will be provided.
For further information, please contact Prof. Maarten J.F.M. Hoenen at