IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 927: Memories of Nation, Medieval and Modern, V: A Round Table Discussion

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 19.00-20.00

Sponsor:Richard Bland College of William & Mary, Virginia
Organiser:Daniel Franke, Department of History, Richard Bland College of William & Mary, Virginia
Moderator/Chair:Daniel Franke, Department of History, Richard Bland College of William & Mary, Virginia

How people collectively remember their past creates or reshapes the political realities of the present, and nowhere perhaps is this better displayed than in the contentious question of ‘the nation’ and its origins. On the one hand, as Michelle Warren has written, countries have not hesitated to invoke the medieval European past as the ‘cradle’ of the 19th-century states forged through violence, colonialism, and the demarcation of bodies as included or excluded from their communities. On the other hand, only more recently has work by Susan Reynolds, Caspar Hirschi, and others argued effectively that ‘nationalism’ as such did indeed exist in the European Middle Ages, though not perhaps as templates of 19th-century nationalism, nor in ways that correspond to most modern theories of nationalism.

Meanwhile, whether in the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, white nationalist terror attacks in 2011 and 2017, the Islamic State’s terror attacks, the European debates over immigration and refugees after 2012, or even the re-emergence of the central European ‘Visegrad Conference’, the appropriation of the (global) Middle Ages in current nationalistic discourse continues unabated. Indeed, with the ever-growing invocation of the medieval past as a warrant for white nationalist fantasies of nation, and the resurgence of the struggle between nationalism and globalism in Europe, America, and elsewhere in the world, the issue of national medievalisms and medieval nationalisms needs discussion more than ever.

The final event on this thread is a round table, in which the participants are asked to draw together the threads of what has been discussed in the sessions, and to reflect broadly on modern uses of the premodern past and what this means for academics in their research, in the classroom, and in public outreach.

Participants include Barbora Davídková (Independent Scholar, Correvon), Suleiman A. Mourad (Smith College, Massachusetts), Craig M. Nakashian (Texas A&M University, Texarkana), Andrea Ruddick (University of Oxford), and Daniel Wollenberg (University of Tampa, Florida).