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Back to 2014_05_23_ICS_Los grupos interdisciplinares se están convirtiendo en la gran tendencia en investigación

"Interdisciplinary groups are becoming the big trend at research"

David Gary Shaw, professor of medieval history at Wesleyan University, gave a seminar of project 'Religion and Civil Society' of the ICS.

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David Gary Shaw, professor of medieval history at Wesleyan University. PHOTO: Carlota Cortés
23/05/14 16:29 Carlota Cortés

"Disciplines such as physics, engineering, mathematics or medicine have contributed very interesting discoveries that help society to progress. However, today we find interdisciplinary research groups becoming the big trend. The Humanities are also participating in these scientific debates". So said David Gary Shaw, a professor of medieval history at Wesleyan University (USA), on the framework of a seminar that he gave at the project 'Religion and Civil Society' of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), under the degree scroll 'The Public Way and the Common Good. Religion and Travel in Medieval England'.

In his discussion paper he focused on the relationship between religion and the development of the network of land communications in the 7th and 8th centuries in England. "When the first laws and customs about roads appeared, the king was the ultimate protector of safety on them, but the Church also played an important role. Monasteries and convents provided shelter and food for travelers," he said.

Different laws and customs in different periods

According to Professor Shaw, the Church had a lot to do with boosting overland communications infrastructure, in part due to penitential indulgences. "Pilgrims and churchmen traveled unarmed. That's why the Church was involved early on for their protection," he said.

David Gary Shaw stated that he focuses his research on medieval history because he has always been interested in how within the same cultural continuity such as Europe there are radically different laws and customs. As a curiosity, he gave the following example, which differs greatly from today's reality: "In the 7th century there was an Anglo-Saxon law whereby if someone left the main road and went into the woods without a horn, the people of the village could kill her".