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researchgroup for
Late Medieval
Economic History


For a decade, the Research Group for Late Medieval Economic History has been meeting once a year. On an international level, researchers and interested parties exchange views on questions of economic history, contexts and phenomena concerning the Late Middle Ages. Below, you will find short and informative reports and the programmes of our recent and past conferences.

2023 – Religion and Economy in the Middle Ages

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, 4. – 6. May 2023

The 10th conference of the working group on late medieval economic history intends to discuss the relationship between religion and economy in a global perspective.

Please send an abstract (approximately 300 words) and a short CV to Colin Arnaud ( and Christian Scholl ( by December 15th.

The conference intends to discuss the relationship between religion and economy in a global perspective. Apart from papers on the Christian Middle Ages, papers from Islamic or Jewish contexts are welcome, just as comparative studies or case studies on economic contacts between members with different religious backgrounds. Papers should cover the period approximately from the 11th to the 16th centuries. Papers can, but do not have to, deal with the following three aspects:

1. The role of religious norms: To what extent did religious norms determine activities in trade, artisanry, traffic, taxation etc.? Was there a gap between theory and practice and, if there was, which economic reasons were responsible for this gap? Did religious norms stimulate specific markets, e.g. in pilgrimage?

2. The interdependence between religious discourse and economic activities: How did religious discourses react to new economic practices and methods? Is it possible to interpret a change in a religious discourse on economy as a sign for changes in economic practices that occurred before?

3. The role of the economy in interreligious contacts: Which influence did religion exert on economic exchange processes in a multi-religious context, e.g. between Christians and Muslims or Jews? Were there multi-religious workshops, i.e. did it occur that economic goods were produced by members of different religious, e.g. Jews and Christians? If so, why did such workshops exist and how was the working process organised? Were there common markets for members of different religions or did each religious community have its own market? etc.

The conference will take place at Münster University. Conference languages are German and English. Speakers get a stipend to cover travel and accommodation costs. Papers from researchers of all career stages are welcome.

List of all contributors
Colin ArnaudMünster
Christian SchollMünster
Tommaso VidalParma
Farming Religion: Praxis and Ideology of Late-Medieval Assistance
Ana Cláudia SilveiraLisbon
he Franciscan Presence in a Medieval Port Town: Setúbal in the 15th and 16th Centuries
James DavisBelfast
A Pulpit in the Marketplace? The Influence of the Church on Medieval Retail Trade
Tim WeitzelRegensburg
Gebet als Kapital
Thomas FrankPavia
The Economy of the Miracle (Christian Middle Ages)
Dieter FriedrichsDuisburg-Essen
Ecclesia und Encomienda. Wirtschaftliche Ausbeutung unter religiöser Legitimation in der Conquista von Mexico-Tenochtitlan
Francesco GusellaMünster
The “Spices and Christians” Dilemma: Economistic and Messianic Views on Indo- Portuguese Art (1890s-1990s)
Jasid Abdul KaderVienna
Beispiele islamischer Normen in Bezug auf wirtschaftliche Handlungen
Danny GrabeJena
What about the Cheese? Jewish-Christian Cooperation in Agriculture and Crafts in the 11th Century
Christoph CluseTrier
Excommunication for Debt in the Middle Ages – Traces from the Dioceses of the Empire
Laura RighiBologna
Administering Usury: Credit and Interest Rates between Canon Law and Civic Legislation
Norbert OberauerMünster
The Islamic Prohibition of Interest and its “Circumvention”: On the History of a Legal Stratagem
Tanja SkambraksMannheim
The Relationship between Economic Ethics, Law and Practice with a Focus on Late Medieval Microcredit

2022 – Labour in Premodern Europe

Prague, 19 – 21 Mai, 2023

9th international conference of the Research Group on Late Medieval Economic History

The topic of “labour” has recently been rediscovered by premodern economic history. A wide variety of forms came into view, for instance how labour relations could be shaped, how employer and employee could be matched and how labour could be remunerated. The 9th annual conference of the working group on late medieval economic history (Arbeitskreis für spätmittelalterliche Wirtschaftsgeschichte) will discuss different aspect of premodern labour in Europe from c. 1200 to c. 1700. The conference will take place from May 19 to 21 2022 at the Charles University of Prague and will be co-organised by Tomas Klír und Martin Musílek.

We would like to tackle the topic from various angles and with different methods: for instance, on a discourse level we are interested in the changing perception of the complex relationship between labour and poverty and between work and begging in the Later Middle Ages. further topics will be multiple employments, employment-induced mobility and labor migration as well as temporal or structural unemployment and the influence of the human body and lifecycle, gender and social background on the ways and opportunities of people trying to make a living.

The materiality of labour in the Middle Ages (working tools, workshop structures, raw materials, etc.) can be traced in archeological findings as well as in depictions in various works of art and enhances our understanding of the means of production and places of work as well as the practices of work. Thus, we also invite papers on this aspect by art historians and archeologists.

From a more economic point of view, we are interested in links between workforce and markets, dealing with the question of productivity and value creation as well as with wages and prices. Furthermore, we invite papers regarding professionalization and specialization processes as well as the institutionalization and regulation of labour. Last but not least, we want to look at the working people themselves for instance slaves, the working poor, and workers in proto-industrial sectors like the putting-out-system.

The conference report has since been published by H-Soz-Kult.

List of contributors
Martin MusílekPrague
An Exhausted Society? Changes in the Spatial and Professional Organization of Prague in the Middle Ages
Marie JäckerKiel
The Workforce of Exeter Cathedral in the Late Middle Ages – A Socioeconomic Approach
Colin Arnaud Münster
Employment Relations in the Textile Guilds of Toulouse in the 13th Century
Sheilagh OgilvieOxford
Freedom and Coercion in Pre-Modern Work
Alex Spike GibbsMannheim
Wages in Late Medieval England
Jordan ClaridgeLondon
Wages in Late Medieval England
Florian ProbstMünster
Institutions of Rural Labour Markets in Pre-Modern Germany
Roman ZaoralPrague
Real wages of Labourers and Craftsmen in Late Medieval Moravia: The Case of Znojmo and Brno in 1409–1540
Rolf Strøm-Olsen Madrid
Approaching the Agency Cost Problem in Pre-Modernity: Labour Contracting at the 15th-century Burgundian Court
Eva-Maria CersovskyKöln
Working Couples, Health Care and Poor Relief in Later Medieval Strasbourg
Lena LiznierskiMannheim
How socially responsibly were the charitable institutions of the early modern period as employers?
Matthias Wesseling Aachen
Between Labour and Begging: Associations of Marginalized Social Groups in Late Medieval Germany
Bianca FrohneKiel
Putting “Work” into Disability History: A Few Suggestions
Piotr GuzowskiBialystok
Corvée – Source of Work or Source of Money in the Manorial System in Poland in the 15–17th Centuries
Monika Kozłowska-SzycBialystok
Efficiency of the Serfdom System
Jacqueline TurekAachen
Gender, Mobility, and Work: Male and Female Servants in Late Medieval Southern German Cities
Tomáš KlírPrague
Martin MusílekPrague

2020/21 – Methods in Premodern Economic History

Online, 6. & 7, Mai 2021

The 8th conference of the Research Group on Late Medieval Economic History (Arbeitskreis für spätmittelalterliche Wirtschaftsgeschichte) aims at presenting and discussing the methodological diversity of pre-modern economic history, guided by the considerations of our DFG network (2015-2018), which have been gathered in a newly published handbook on premodern economic history.

The Mannheim conference combines these results and reflections and takes up the topic and purposes of the founding conference of the Group 2013 in Frankfurt on methods in economic history. By looking back at the beginnings, we once more want to identify open questions and present results of our collective work of the past six years at the same time. In doing so, we will also celebrate the publication of our handbook “Methods in Premodern Economic History. Case studies from the Holy Roman Empire, c.1300-c.1600”.

At the same time, the conference provides an occasion for opening up new topics and innovative research approaches. Therefore, we invite interested researchers from all career-stages to present their current work on pre-modern economic history.

We are focusing on the time between c. 1300 and c. 1600, a time in which important transformations happened. We invite speakers to present their case studies with a distinctive focus on the method(s) applied. Thus, the thematic field is broadly stretched, tackling the major topics of ‘production’, ‘market’ and ‘money and credit’. Asking for papers concerning questions on methodical approaches, between cultural and economic history, the main issue of our conference will be “How to do research into pre-modern economic history”?

Tanja SkambraksMannheim
Colin ArnaudMünster
Städtische Wirtschaftstopographie – methodische Ansätze und Perspektiven
Christian JaserKlagenfurt
Benjamin HitzBasel
Von der Kartei zur “Häuserwirtschaft“? Das Historische Grundbuch Basel als Findmittel – Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Digitalisierung
Julian HelmchenBerlin
Stephan Nicolussi-KöhlerMannheim
Matthias Berlandi Mainz
Problems of Land Assessment in Late Medieval Scotland
Julia ExarchosAachen
Thomas Klir Prag
The Cheb peasantry in the late middle ages: social mobility and migration
Kathrin PindlRegensburg
Philipp Robinson RössnerManchester
Julia BruchHamburg
Maria WeberMünchen
Gott waiß, wann ich wiederum zu meinem Geld kumb: Erforschung einer spätmittelalterlich-frühneuzeitlichen Schuldenpraxis: Spagat zwischen Sprachlichkeit, Praxis und Diskurs
Stephan Nicolussi-KöhlerMannheim
Stephan LehmLeipzig
Resilienzstrategien der Augsburger Paumgartner im langen 16. Jh.
Eva BruggerZürich
Sabine von HeusingerKöln
So many names – prosopography as method
Thomas ErtlBerlin
Ulf-Christian EwertMünster
Agentenbasierte Modellierung in der Mediävistik, oder: Wie ist der Netzwerkhandel der mittelalterlichen Hansekaufleute entstanden?
Esther SahleMünster