Call for papers: The management of natural resources in the medieval Iberian Peninsula

20/1/15 .-

Call for papers: The management of natural resources in the medieval Iberian Peninsula. Common institutions?

Panel 38 in the Conference "Rural History 2015" (Girona, 7-10 September, 2015)

Organizers: Baydal, Vicent (1); Esquilache, Ferran (2)
Affiliation: 1: University of Oxford, United Kingdom; 2: University of Valencia, Spain

Deadline for paper submission is 31 January 2015

One of the particularities of the feudal society in the Iberian Peninsula in comparison with the rest of Europe is that most of its territories were the result of the process of expansion developed between the 11th and 14th centuries against Al-Andalus. Therefore the Christian rural communities were created then, so that they did not evolve from the high middle ages. The conquerors built a new agrarian landscape in accordance with the socioeconomic system prevailing in Western Europe. However, they also inherited a large quantity of farming areas, which they reused and adapted to their own needs, from the Muslim society. Thus, the legislation that let manage those areas was the result of the combination of feudal and Muslim practices.
On another note, the Mediterranean climate is another of the features that differentiate most of the Iberian Peninsula to Atlantic Europe. The shortage of pastures implied regional and social struggles, which were not always dealt by communal institutions. Furthermore, the aridity of the Iberian lands demanded the use of water for irrigation and its scarcity originated conflicts amongst those who had right to use it as a common property. In this connection, irrigation communities of Valencia have been one of the examples used by Elionor Ostrom to establish the basic points of a stable management. Said that, new researches have proved that the control of the water was not always in the hands of irrigators.
Hence, in this session, we seek if there was a true communal management of grazing lands and water sources in the medieval rural communities of the Iberian Peninsula. And if that, how landlords, urban oligarchies and rural elites acted to control them, despite peasantry

Deadline for paper submission is 31 January 2015

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