Call for Papers: Kalamazoo 2018


This is a call for papers for a session at the IMC Kalamazoo 2018 on:

Generalship: in the field and from the armchair

Although warfare plays a central role in human societies, study of the organisation of war and command structures of armies is often overlooked in favour of the more colourful details of individual battles and individual acts of heroism. Scholarship has considered individual military leaders such as Belisarius, Richard the Lionheart of England and John the Fearless of Burgundy, and how their military leadership was manifested to make them “generals” rather than simply leaders or commanders, but there has been only limited consideration of generalship as a broader construct during the middle ages.

This session will bring together scholars working in this area to examine various aspects of “generalship” in the medieval field. What were the functions of a general on the battlefield? Should generals be involved in the physical conflict of battle, or should they remain outside the battle so as to have an overview of events? Was the primary function of a general decision-making or leading the first charge on the battlefield? To what extent was “generalship” a function of a ruler’s duties? Was the general’s role inextricably linked to masculinity, or might a eunuch or a woman act as general – or was this possible only in certain circumstances (and, if so, what were those circumstances)? Did the role of a general change over the medieval period?

How did a general learn his or her military skills? – were generals born, or were they made? Did generals study military treatises or the operations of other generals?

And what of those who advised the general, perhaps from the safe distance or their cloister or study, making military plans which they urged on commanders in the field? Were their plans practical? Did the “armchair general” contribute anything constructive to the development of the science of war in the middle ages?

This session will consider these and other questions related to medieval generalship.

The session will be sponsored by the Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion, which includes faculty and graduate students with particular research expertise in the study of warfare, and by De Re Militari, the Society for the Study of Medieval Warfare.

Please send proposals for papers to: Professor Helen J. Nicholson
School of History, Archaeology and Religion
Cardiff University

And in the attached document (above) you will also find a call from De re militari for papers on:

  • -War and Chivalry;
  • -Medieval Military History;
  • -Medieval Military Technology

Please send proposals for papers to: Valerie Eads
School of Visual Arts
Dept. of Humanities and Sciences

Proposals by early September, please!


About gawainsmum

I'm an academic researching on the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller, the crusades, religion and the role of women in warfare and in religious life in medieval Europe. This blog will feature developments in my research as it progresses.
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