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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 103: Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Northeastern Europe in the Late Medieval Period

Monday 3 July 2023, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Solveig Marie Wang, Centre for Scandinavian Studies University of Aberdeen
Moderator/Chair:Solveig Marie Wang, Centre for Scandinavian Studies University of Aberdeen
Paper 103-aEthnicity as a Social Concept?: Non-Germans in Medieval Livonia between Rich Research Tradition and New Approaches
(Language: English)
Gustavs Strenga, School of Humanities, Tallinn University
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Historiography - Modern Scholarship
Paper 103-bNeglected Entanglements: A Reassessment of the Saami-Norse Dichotomy in Medieval Fennoscandia
(Language: English)
Erik Wolf, Historisches Institut, Universit├Ąt Greifswald
Index terms: Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Language and Literature - Scandinavian

Although questions of ethnicity and ethnic relations have been crucial aspects of research into the late medieval period, there continues to be general lacunae within research concerning these questions in a north-eastern European context. Insight into the consolidation of social identities and groups, crusades, conversion and Christianisation across eastern Fennoscandia and in the Baltic Sea Region regarding the ethnic groups on the borderlands of these regions are abundant in the material sources, and yet, questions of ethnicity and the definitions of ethnicity in these areas can still benefit from more critical approaches. Theoretical frameworks such as postcolonial theory enable researchers to entangle the intricacies of the concept of ethnicity and identity consolidation in the medieval period and to further elaborate and emphasise the ambiguity apparent in the source material connected to these questions. By incorporating lesser discussed groups and regions, we aim to broaden our understanding of these multifaceted medieval socio-cultural and geopolitical networks and how conceptualisations of ethnicity are entangled in both historical and contemporary processes. Furthermore, we aim to investigate the consequences of colonisation and crusading enterprises had on group identities in a north-eastern European context. Lastly, we are interested in the critical examination of previous research on late medieval ethnicities within these regions and the potential contemporary biases of historiography related to the conceptualisation of ethnicity.