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At the German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ, and The Warburg Institute.

role of the visual in constructing social and political power in the Middle Ages has enjoyed much scholarly attention in recent times, and interest in the subject shows no sign of waning. Much less consideration has been given to the responses that visual representations of power elicited from those who encountered them. Given that visual images and performances often aggressively served to stake controversial and, for some, threatening claims, there can be no doubt that such responses were often hostile. But how visual constructions of power were contested, and what visual strategies were open to their opponents – such as defacement, obliteration, or the creation of counter-images or performances – has been remarkably little studied outside the religious sphere. Yet if we think we should take seriously the power of images in politics and society, then the means available to medieval people to oppose and challenge that power is clearly an important subject. To study this volatile aspect of medieval society is important not least because current discourses make use of the past to oppose as well as promote the defacement, destruction, or removal of statues, for example.

The subject is manifestly a large one. Locations for iconoclastic acts and behaviours might include the court, towns and cities, or the battlefield, and events and moments where power-displays were concentrated, such as coronations, royal and princely entries, tournaments, councils, and parliaments. 

PROGRAMME AND INFORMATION

To register for the conference please email Kim König (k.koenig@ghil.ac.uk).

To register for the keynote lecture by Leslie Brubaker at the Warburg Institute (1 September) CLICK HERE.