Justice is an important theme for research in the Humanities, because ensuring that everyone gets what is due to them (the classic definition of the concept) depends on a prior knowledge of entitlement that is culturally and historically constituted. This strand brings together members of MARCUS to investigate a range of research topics across various disciplines. How was justice fought over, articulated and organised in the premodern period? How does this inform how we think about justice today? How could religious definitions of justice be integrated into legal frameworks? How did competing authorities – rulers, family elders, religious institutions – negotiate the dispensation of justice?
Julia Hillner directs an international, collaborative AHRC-funded project on banishment of late antique clerics: ‘The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity’. Banishment was the primary tool of conflict management during a number of religious controversies that shook the early Christian church during the period 300-600. Often this was a compromise solution during competition over justice between ‘secular’ and ‘ecclesiastical’ authorities, but the project also looks at how the penalty responded to issues of social status, honour and penance which underpinned definitions of late Roman justice. Julia also currently works on a monograph about women, criminality and justice in late antiquity which considers the role of gender and patriarchy in the administration of justice in this period.
Alyx Mattison is a PhD student researching the social, legal and funerary treatment of criminals in medieval England, c.850-1150, with particular emphasis on the role of the Norman Conquest on the subject matter. Alyx is also the director of REALMS (Researchers in Early and Late Medieval Studies) which is holding a ‘Murder Mystery’ seminar series in Spring 2016.
Harry Mawdsley is a PhD student on the ‘Migration of Faith’ project, researching the western successor states (5th – 6th centuries). His dissertation compares the legal institution of exile and its role in religious conflict in the post-Roman world.
Moreland is chair of the University’s Castlegate Steering Group, with the brief of overseeing and supporting research in the Castlegate area. This part of Sheffield contains the Old Town Hall, Sheffield’s old court house, and the medieval Castle, best known as Mary Queen of Scots’ ‘prison’, but presumably the town’s seat of justice throughout the Middle Ages. Work will include excavations on site as well as further exploring textual archives.
Steenbrugge’s Vice-Chancellor’s project aims to show, using historical evidence of religious scepticism in the Middle Ages, that doubts and incredulity have left significant traces in medieval English texts, and that to ignore them would be to misconstrue and misunderstand these texts and their society. This study should open up a new avenue of research into well-known medieval texts, transforming not only how we read these texts, but even how we view the Middle Ages. As part of this project, Steenbrugge will explore representations and critiques of God’s justice in medieval English texts. She is organising a conference, Divine (In)Justice in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, at the HRI on 4 November 2016. See our occasional events page for more information.
Charles West is currently working on an AHRC-funded project examining how contested jurisdiction over clerics – especially priests and bishops – served as a means of delineating a ‘secular’ space in the early Middle Ages. The research focuses on moments when particular individuals claimed to be exempt from secular justice because of their personal status. He is also organising a collection of articles looking at questions of religiously-based exemption from state demands, including judicial ones, approached globally between 300 and 1300, from Anglo-Saxon England to Old Khmer Cambodia.
The ‘Justice’ strand within MARCUS collaborates with the Interpersonal Violence Research Group University of Sheffield, an interdisciplinary network connecting researchers in Arts and Humanities, Law, Urban Planning, Medicine and Education working on gender, violence and justice.