This workshop aims at bringing together scholars from different parts of Europe with an interest in questions related to geographical mobility in the Middle Ages and/or the early modern period. Traditional views on peasantries notwithstanding, geographical mobility has been a fundamental feature of European village life for many centuries. Numerous empirical studies have confirmed this. But what does it tell us about medieval and early modern Europe, and peasant societies, beyond the simple fact that people occasionally moved, then as they do today? What does it mean?
The workshop wants to raise new questions and open up new perspectives on historical Europe by putting geographical mobility among peasants on the center stage. To what extent, and in what ways, does the ubiquitous presence of geographical mobility change our perceptions of peasant societies in the past? What does it say about, for example, varying conditions of serfdom and differences in land tenure, markets for labor and land, economic stratification and social mobility, the abandonment of old settlements and the establishment of new, or the character of local communities and cultural attitudes?