IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 216: Terminological Tensions: Reconsidering Key Categories of Late Antique and Early Medieval Research, II - Disciplined Bodies

Monday 6 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Department of History, Syracuse University, New York / Medieval Studies Program, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia
Organiser:Eric M. Ramírez-Weaver, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia
Moderator/Chair:Albrecht Diem, Department of History, Syracuse University, New York
Paper 216-aInhabitants, Citizens, Peoples: Defining Urban Group Identities, c. 800-1050
(Language: English)
Jelle Wassenaar, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Social History
Paper 216-bChronicle of a Misfortune Retold: On the Problematic Nature of 'Slave Trade' as a Category of Historical Research
(Language: English)
Shachar Orlinski, Department of General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 216-cThe Dangers of Purity
(Language: English)
Albrecht Diem, Department of History, Syracuse University, New York
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Monasticism
Abstract

The interdisciplinary nature of medieval studies has opened novel avenues for inquiry and complicated traditional narratives, as scholars find themselves encountering and pressuring key terms across disciplinary divides. Many of them have no direct relation to the language of our sources. As placeholders with complex histories themselves they offer useful generalizations and abstractions, but carry the danger of obfuscating diversity or nuance, transporting ideology, directing questions toward hackneyed answers, and inadvertently privileging certain research traditions over others. The papers shed light on the genesis and history several key categories of research, reflect on their hermeneutic power and experiment with alternatives.