Community, Identity, Individuals: Shaping the (Political) Nation in Premodern Europe (400-1800)


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May 3-5, 2023

According to the dominant understanding, the nation is a product of modernity
(the industrial revolution, capitalism, linguistic unification, printing press generalization and
democratization of schooling, etc.). However, nations did not appear ex nihilo in the 18th century. Traditional attempts to explain its emergence do not satisfy, as they focus only on the moment when the nation became the hegemonic mode of political organization during the 19th century. In doing so, they fail to describe the long process that led to this hegemony. This conference will reassess the definition and the genealogy of the nation.

Conference Program


Wednesday May 3, 2023


Welcome speech and introduction

Éloïse Adde


Axis 1: Before or Without the Nation


The Pre-History of the Medieval Nation: from the Imperium Romanum to Regna in Late Antiquity (400-800)

Patrick Geary (IAS, Princeton, US)



From Bulgars to Bulgarians – The Problem of National Identity in the First Bulgarian Realm (681-1018)

Daniel Ziemann (CEU)



A Nationless Space? Autonomies and State Building Processes in the Italian Peninsula

Igor Mineo (University of Palermo, IT)



From Merchant to Soldier: What is in a Nation?

Michael Depreter (University of Oxford, UK)


Axis 2: The Sources of the Nation. Imperial Ideas, Confessions, Regions, Centralities, Peripheries, Interactions.


Medieval Communities on the Border. Catalonia, Silesia, and Transylvania - On the Verge Between Nation and Regional Community.

Przemysław Wiszewski (University of Wroclaw, PL) 



Nation Building, Regional Identity in the Styrian Rhymed Chronicle of Otacher aus der Gaal

Daniel Bagi (ELTE Budapest, HU)


15:15-15:45: “For love of you I have given up my Saxons and all Germans.” Emperors, Rome, and Nation.

Len Scales (University of Durham, UK) 



Natio and confessio in Medieval Rus’:  What was different from medieval Poland and the “Latin” West? 

Mikhail V. Dmitriev


Axis 3: Defining and Delimiting National Communities. Internal and External Forces in Interplay


The Importance of the “Other” – Emerging National Identity in Scandinavia, 1397-1599

Cathleen Sarti (University of Oxford, UK)



The Ruler's Depositions and Political Community in England and Holy Roman Empire, 1298-132

Roman Tymoshevskyi (CEU, Vienna)


Thursday May 4, 2023


Excommunication as a Tool for Shaping a Legal and Religious Community. A Case Study on a Canonical Procedure in Medieval Bohemia

Jakub Razim (Masarik University, Brno, CZ) 



The Burgundian State Formation from Within and from Below. A View from Hainault: Networks, Dynasty, and Nation in the Eyes of the Memorialist Jean de Haynin

Eric Bousmar (Saint-Louis University, BE) 


Axis 4: Images and Symbols of the Nation. Between Self-Perception and (Self)Representation



The Catalan Nation in the Late Middle Ages: Perception and Representation

Flocel Sabate (University of Lleida, ES)



The Construction and Perception of a Legal Landscape in the Late Medieval Low Countries

Mario Damen (University of Amsterdam, NE)



Saint Patron, Peace, and Princely Jurisdiction: The Process of Early Institutionalization of State Power in Central Europe (12th - 13th Centuries)

Marcin R. Pauk (University of Warsaw, PL) 


Axis 5: Narration, Language(s), History, Literature. Nation as a Cultural Project?


Administrating History. "National" History and State Building in Later Medieval France.

Claudia Wittig (Halle, GE)



Natio or lingua? Revisiting a Semantic Couple (1200-1600)

Benoît Grévin (CNRS, FR)



The Dynamics of Literary Beginnings and the Question of National Narrative: the Cases of Czech, Polish and Croatian Literatures

Julia Verkholantsev (University of Pennsylvania, USA)



Analyzing the National Feeling through the Interest in Historical Works. The Spread and Reception of Cosmas' Chronicle till the Beginning of the 13th Century

Arthur Perodeau (EHESS, FR)



Duchesse Joanna (1355-1406) and the Idea of a Brabant's Nation. An Historical Representation or an Historiographical Construction?

Camille Rutsaert (UCL/Saint-Louis University, BE)


Friday May 5, 2023

Axis 6: The “Nation of the Individuals”. Subjectivity, Emotions, Stereotypes, Expectations


The Nation, as a Collection of Individuals

Philippe Urfalino (EHESS, Paris)



The Genesis and Character of the Polish Self-Stereotype as a Determinant of Cultural and National Identity

Andrzej Pleszczyński (Instytut Historii Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, PL)



Writing Law in 13th Century France. Between Social Expectations and Political Communication

Corinne Leveleux (University of Orléans, FR)



A Nation and its Foreigners. Discourses and Possibilities of Political Participation in Hungary (1490-1526)

Julia Burkhardt (LMU, Munich, GE)



Loyalty and Language in Warsaw Trial of 1339

Michał Machalski (CEU, Vienna)



Concluding discussion


With thanks to:


IMAFO (Institut für Mittelalterlich Forschung), The Austrian Academy of Sciences (AU, Andreas Zajic)

FPPCAA (Fondation pour la protection du patrimoine culturel artistique et artisanal), Lausanne (SW)

CRHiDI (Centre de recherche en histoire du droit et des institutions), Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles, Brussels (BE)

CEFRES (Centre français de recherche en sciences sociales), Prague (CZ)