6st International workshop - Historiographies of Identity
15.-17.4.2014, CMS, Prague

Historiographies of Identity – Social Functions of Historical Writing from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages VI

Narrating Communities between Latin and Vernaculars: Historiographies in Central and Eastern Central Europe (13th – 16th ct.)

Organisatoren: OVERMODE, VISCOM

The workshop will discuss Central European and Eastern Central European historiographies of the High and Late Middle Ages. It will thus deal with histories written in a time which brought about a profound differentiation of medieval societies in these regions – among others, a differentiation of the nobility, the rise of urban societies, the formation of new social strata and distinct groups (for example universities), and an increasing mobility and permeability of social elites. These and many others changes presented a serious challenge both to individuals and social groups. Consequently, the demand for reassuring identifications grew the more pressing the more social strata achieved their share of economic and political power. Narrative offers of identification produced and reproduced by historiography perhaps did not necessarily grow more complex than in the previous periods, but surely more differentiated – often tailored specifically for distinct social groups, in competition with other groups and their narratives, and often using the language of a particular target group: the vernaculars instead of the universal language of elite education, Latin.

The workshop aims at exploring whether and in which way new social demands and new languages influenced historiographical narratives, their forms and contents, their impact and their reception. It addresses the question which strategies of identification individual works developed to balance many alternative modes of identification. What happened to historiographical narratives dominant in the European Early Middle Ages in times characterized by a substantial increase and diversification of source material and narrative forms and styles? Which narratives were appropriated and adapted in new societal contexts, thus developing into new models for constructions of communities and remaining politically successful? Which of them in turn lost their direct impact and thus became “petrified” elements of specific, e.g. learned, discourses? Which new narratives were developed? What role did historiography have in shaping communication between particular social groups and in the formation of new narrative communities on – and beyond – local and regional levels?

Of an eminent interest is the interplay between the languages – in the area under scrutiny that was, apart from Latin, mainly German and Czech, but also Polish and Hungarian. In this interplay orality and literacy interacted, with mutual effects on each other. Late medieval source material suggests complex relations not only between Latin and vernaculars, but also between oral and written language. Both were used in heterogeneous ways in Latin and in the vernaculars, in learned and popular discourses. Which consequence do these interrelations have for our assessment of how historical actors thought about history, and why and how they made use of writing history to make sense of their worlds and the social relations within it?

The First Decades of Prague University 6.-7.11.2014, Jilská 1, Prague

The First Decades of Prague University

Transforming Intellectual space in 14th c. Central Europe

Sponsored by: OVERMODE (ERC, No. 263672) and Grant Agency of the Charles University in Prague (No. 1124413)

Organised by: Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMAFO ÖAW) and Centre for Medieval Studies of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CMS AV ČR); Jan Odstrčilík (IMAFO ÖAW), Francesca Battista (Charles University in Prague) and Riccardo Burgazzi (Charles University in Prague)

The main research attention about the history of the Prague University was usually given to the disturbing time of the first decades of the 15th century with the pre-national conflicts and rise of the pre-reformation Hussite movement. We would like shift the focus on the first 50 years of the Prague University and answer at least some of these questions: How did establishing the Prague University change the cultural and intellectual space in Central Europe? What were the influences from other, already established universities? How peculiar or common were the works of Prague masters and students? How do the new findings reshape our understanding of the university’s role during the first decades of its existence? These aspect will be covered by six sessions in two days. Please, check the programme and the abstracts.

Programme of the Conference

Extended Programme with abstracts