Medieval Heresy and Dissent Research Network
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Historical studies in medieval Christendom

This new research network, based in the Department of History and the Institute for Medieval Research, is concerned with the historical study of a range of forms of heresy and religious dissent in medieval Christendom.

The network is an institutional focus for heresy studies, providing a forum for staff and students researching this area at the University of Nottingham. We also aim to draw in external scholars working in this field in the UK and beyond, and actively engage the public in events and discussion about religious dissent.

Recent Events

Heresy at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 6 July 2017

At the 2017 International Medieval Congress (IMC) the Medieval Heresy and Dissent Research Network co-sponsored, with the Doat Project, University of York, a strand of sessions on the theme of ‘The Production of Heretical Knowledge’. The three sessions focused on ‘Reaction and Procedure’, ‘Identity and Memory’, and ‘Heresy and Inquisition through the ages’. Four PhD students from Nottingham and two from York gave papers, alongside established scholars from both institutions.  

Please go to ‘The Production of Heretical Knowledge’ for further details.

Heretical Self-Defence Conference, Nottingham, 11-12 April 2018

At the University of Nottingham, this international conference on ‘Heretical Self Defence’ asked how, and how well, did heretics and people rightly or wrongly associated with heresy, defend themselves from persecution? What determined this in the case of different movements? How did this change across our period? The conference highlighted the following categories of resistance in particular: Text, Law, Subterfuge, Flight and Arms.


Key aims and expertise

Academic and public interest in medieval heresy has never been higher. There is a huge gulf, however, between ‘public’ and ‘academic’ interest.

This is always a challenge to medievalists, so we aim also to open up scholarly debate to a wider community.

We want to make a sustainable and gradual, but solid and timely contribution to the scholarship. This contribution will grow out of the contacts and informal networks we already have whilst adding something structurally to them, for example by intervening at key points to initiate symposia to help focus and drive the scholarship. At the heart of the network will be semi-regular events so that ideas and perspectives can develop organically, through frequent discussions.

As well as providing a platform for scholars to present their own specialised research via our events, and organising and linking up with joint events, we will also suggest areas which might provide novel forms of thematic collaboration. These could include events exploring and questioning the divide between ‘elite’ and ‘popular’ heresy, or work to throw a spotlight on the anti-heresy activity at the Fourth Lateran Council, which had its 800th anniversary in 2015.


Videos: Why study medieval heresy and dissent

Claire Taylor: ‘Why study the impact of heresy’
Claire Taylor: ‘Why study the Fourth Council of the Lateran’
Rob Lutton: ‘Why study Lollardy’
Mary Cunningham: ‘Why study Arius of Alexandria’


Medieval Heresy and Dissent Research Network

The University of Nottingham
University Park Campus
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 8093