IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1022: The Reproduction of Medieval Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationhood, I

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Birmingham Research Institute for History & Cultures (BRIHC), University of Birmingham / The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford
Organiser:Ilya Afanasyev, Birmingham Research Institute for History & Cultures, University of Birmingham / The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, University of Oxford
Moderator/Chair:Ilya Afanasyev, Birmingham Research Institute for History & Cultures, University of Birmingham / The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, University of Oxford
Paper 1022-aThe Relationship of Ethnicity, Nations, and States in the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Susan Reynolds, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Index terms: Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Political Thought
Paper 1022-bArmenians in East Roman Cappadocia, c. 900-1071: Settlement, the State Apparatus, and the Material Reproduction of Ethnicity
(Language: English)
Nicholas Matheou, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Social History
Paper 1022-c'National' Past and 'National' Continuity in the Establishment of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, 1180s-1230s
(Language: English)
Francesco Dall'Aglio, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici, Napoli
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Historiography - Medieval
Abstract

In this series of sessions organised by ‘The long history of identity, ethnicity, and nationhood’ research network, sponsored by Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC) and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), we will focus on the reproduction of collective identities in the Middle Ages. While a generic constructivist approach is widely shared in research on pre-modern identities, it often remains uncritical. On the one hand, it sometimes conceals latent essentialism (best represented by the formula ‘identities are constructed, but having been constructed become real’), and, on the other hand, restricts our capacity to arrive at a systemic understanding of how exactly collective identities are asserted and reproduced over long periods of time. Hence, our main goal is to tackle the difficult question of long-term reproduction of the same projected identities, often alongside broadly similar constructs, without resorting to essentialist or objectifying explanations. In the first session, Susan Reynolds will revisit a debate on the key concepts involved in understanding past identities, while two other papers will theorise the reproduction of two identifications (Armenian and Bulgarian) in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and Caucasus.