IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 511: Space, Music, Text, and Praxis: Popular Belief and the Long Middle Ages in the North, 15th-17th Centuries, I

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Research Project 'Oral and Literary Culture in Medieval & Early Modern Baltic Sea Region: Cultural Transfer, Linguistic Registers & Communicative Networks'
Organiser:Tuomas M. S. Lehtonen, Finnish Literature Society / Nordic Centre for Medieval Studies (NCMS), Helsinki
Moderator/Chair:Anu Mänd, Institute of History, University of Tallinn
Paper 511-aChanges in Church Interiors and Cult from 1400 to 1600
(Language: English)
Markus Hiekkanen, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture & Art Studies, University of Helsinki
Index terms: Art History - General, Religious Life
Paper 511-bSaints and Mythic Spaces
(Language: English)
Irma-Riitta Irene Järvinen, Finnish Literature Society / Nordic Centre for Medieval Studies (NCMS), Helsinki
Index terms: Folk Studies, Hagiography, Lay Piety

In the protestant North, the great narrative of the Reformation has preferred to emphasize change rather than continuity. This goes back to the Reformation and Enlightenment critique of medieval Catholicism, as well as to the later nationalist politics of history that lauds the Reformation as a central step in the restoration of the local languages and cultures. During the past decades, yet, these views have been seriously challenged from many perspectives, all of which point to the vivid traffic and exchange between the pre- and post-Reformation cultural practices. The analysis of this cultural transfer between the medieval and early modern period, however, seems to promise still further, unexplored perspectives.

The present session series, therefore, aims at bringing together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds and exploring the transmission and transformation of medieval legacies in different cultural media: space, music, text, and praxis. The first session focuses on the post-Reformation sacred spaces and places, which are one of the most studied topics in this field and also one of the best examples of the durability of the Middle Ages. The changes in the clerical space are also most closely linked to the changes in religious performances. This is the key topic of the second session, which brings into focus the changes and continuities in musical and performative media, as reflected in liturgical texts and practices. In the third session, we would like to address the transfer of medieval themes and motifs into the Protestant representations of popular culture and unorthodoxy/paganism, as well as into the earliest recordings of folklore.

While tracing the continuities between the medieval and the early modern period, however, it is important to stress that the post-Reformation appropriation of medieval legacies meant not only re-use, copying and reproduction, but also the transformation of the already existing cultural forms. Our another point of interest lies in the interaction of various cultural media, as well as in the relationship between the elite and popular traditions and registers in this adaptation process – including the relations of the written and the oral traditions. This topic also is inherent in the media and genres mentioned above, as most of them stood at the nexus of elite and popular culture.

The three above mentioned sessions focusing on the case studies, the fourth one aims at a theoretical slant, asking how can we conceptualize these forms of change and continuity theoretically? One significant net of issues concerns the theorisation of transmission and transformation, as well as their agencies. Another major set of questions touches upon the hierarchies and interaction between the popular and the elite culture, as well as the role of popular culture in shaping the political cultures and identities, social relations and discourses.