Rethinking Reform 900-1150

Conceptualising Change in Medieval Religious Institutions

Project structure

Hosted by the School of History, University of Leeds, this three-year project establishes a collaborative research partnership between seven universities across Northern Europe. Led by Principal Investigator Professor Julia Barrow, the project is structured around four interlinked workshops:

University of York (UK) – January 2017

KU Leuven (Belgium) – September 2017

University of Leeds (UK) – April 2018

JGU Mainz (Germany) – September 2018

A conference at Ghent University (Belgium) will bring the participatory element of the project to a close in Spring 2019.


Core aims

Central to the project is the question: How should we conceptualise the programme of institutional changes that swept the Western church 900-1150?

The now-universal label ‘reform’ is a modern creation dating back to c.1800, and one that conceals more than it reveals. Making use of dialogue across historical periods and new methodologies, this project investigates both how changes were conceptualised by contemporaries and why the concept of reform emerged as the main interpretative tool in the modern historiography of the Middle Ages.

The Rethinking Reform 900-1150 project is funded by a Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant.