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Response to Review of Making Early Medieval Societies: Conflict and Belonging in the Latin West, 300-1200

We are delighted by the generous review of Making Early Medieval Societies, and have only a word of clarification to add on the making of the volume. This is not a collection of conference proceedings: only one paper, that of Stephen D. White, was originally delivered at the interdisciplinary conference held at Manchester, ‘The Peace in the Feud: History and Anthropology, 1955–2005’. After the conference, colleagues in anthropology and in African history were involved in an initial discussion about future plans, but it quickly became clear that for understandable reasons the anthropologists and modernists – who were working in a variety of areas – found it harder to commit to a sustained collaboration than did the late Romanists and early medieval historians. Still, we saw an opportunity to feed the insights of the conference into a wider study of social cohesion in the western half of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. We did not imagine that the months following the volume’s appearance would give rise to turmoil over political participation and social cohesion in the English-speaking world; at the time of writing it remains unclear whether the conflict in question will be harnessed to constructive purpose, or who – if anyone – will benefit.