IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 509: Visions of Community, I: The Historiography of Identity

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Sonderforschungsbereich 'Visions of Community', Österreichischer Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung / Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Organiser:Rutger Kramer, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Moderator/Chair:Stuart Airlie, School of Humanities (History), University of Glasgow
Paper 509-a'Barbarian Histories' as Scripts for Identity
(Language: English)
Walter Pohl, Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Universität Wien
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Mentalities, Political Thought
Paper 509-bHistory as Kultur: Some Preliminary Thoughts on the Social Function of History from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Helmut Reimitz, Department of History, Princeton University
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Philosophy, Social History
Paper 509-cRomans Growing Beards: Identity Theft in 7th-Century Italy
(Language: English)
Francesco Borri, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Political Thought
Abstract

When probing into both the cognitive and narrative matrix of constructions of political identity, and into the political impact of religiously-sanctioned and ethnically-defined networks of power, historiographical narratives provide us with as powerful a ‘vision of community’ as could be wished for. From this basic assumption, this session will gauge the impact of such sources as scripts for identities and reflections on social change in the early medieval period. First, Walter Pohl will look for the strategies of identification employed in texts ranging from Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica to the Anonymous Gesta Hungarorum. Long regarded as strictly ‘national histories’, these texts remain powerful tools for the study of the development of the ethnic and political landscape of medieval Europe. Helmut Reimitz will then take over and present his thoughts on the social function of historiographical narratives not only as media to negotiate social identities, but also as a tool to reflect, process and promote social change in the quickly and constantly changing Roman and post-Roman world. Finally, Francesco Borri will look at the context of one of the clearest statements of barbarian self-representation, the 7th-century Origo Gentis Lamgobardorum, focussing on its relation to the preceding, more classically oriented historiographical traditions in the Lombard kingdoms, and its role in (re)constructing the roots of a ‘barbarian’ Lombard identity.