Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Past and Present in the Middle Ages CFP

Past and Present in the Middle Ages
A Post-graduate course – Call for Papers
Bergen, August 2010
One of the most persistent links between past and present is the way
in which every age invents histories to suit conceptions of itself. As
Brian Stock influentially observed: "the Renaissance invented the
Middle Ages in order to define itself; the Enlightenment perpetuated
them in order to admire itself; and the Romantics revived them in
order to escape from themselves. In their widest ramifications 'the
Middle Ages' thus constitute one of the most prevalent cultural myths
of the modern world." Yet, much as we perpetuate myths of the Middle
Ages, medieval societies constructed conceptions of themselves in
relation to their pasts. As Jürgen Habermas notes, people "considered
themselves as 'modern' in the age of Charlemagne, in the twelfth
century, and in the Enlightenment – in short whenever the
consciousness of a new era developed in Europe through a renewed
relationship to classical antiquity."
In light of these observations, the Nordic Centre for Medieval Studies
(NCMS) invites doctoral students from all fields related to medieval
studies to participate in an interdisciplinary summer school course in
Bergen (9-13 August 2010). The course will give participating students
the opportunity to present their on-going research to an audience of
peers and established scholars. Confirmed speakers, who will also
serve as instructors, include Professor Patrick J. Geary (UCLA),
Professor Emeritus John Gillingham (London School of Economics),
Professor Marianne Kalinke (U of Illinois-Urbana Champagne), Professor
Emeritus Lars Lönnroth (Göteborg Universitet) and Professor Lars Boje
Mortensen (Syddansk Universitet). In addition, Professor Sverre Bagge
and Professor Else Mundal (both UiB) will participate in the majority
of the sessions.
Broadly speaking, the theme explores the following questions. To what
extent are the Middle Ages a myth of modernity used to distinguish the
present from an anterior past? How do
regional differences throughout the period disrupt or support our
understanding of the medieval world as a discrete historical and
cultural system? If viewed as a historical system, are the
institutional frameworks and constraints of the Middle Ages limited to
Europe, 500-1500, or does this system find parallels in other periods
and geographies? How did the medieval world define its present
circumstances, distinguish itself from the past and/ or incorporate
the past into contemporary self-definitions? We also welcome
submissions from other areas of inquiry as part of our effort to bring
together doctoral students from different fields and perspectives.
To apply, please send a one-page abstract no later than 1 April 2010
to the course co-ordinator, Sigbjørn Sønnesyn
( Successful applicants will be notified
by the end of April 2010. For further details, please see below

Further details:
Participants, the number of which will be limited, will receive a
bursary covering the course fee, accommodation and activities. In
addition, a limited number of travel bursaries will be
made available upon application. Interested applicants should contact
Sigbjørn Sønnesyn ( Accepted participants
will present their research (approximately 15 pages) and will receive
comments from instructors and peers during the course of the
programme. Participants will also be expected to engage and comment on
the work of their peers.
Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be awarded
5 ECTS points. This course is hosted by CMS, Bergen and organized
within the Nordic Centre for Medieval Studies comprising medievalists
from the Universities of Gothenberg, Helsinki, Southern Denmark and
the Finnish Literature Society.
More information can be found at and or by contacting Sigbjørn Sønnesyn
( phone +4755583045)

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