The Third Biennial Conference of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network

Between Three Seas: Borders, Migrations, Connections

The Third Biennial Conference of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb (Croatia), 12–14 April 2018

Organized by

the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

in collaboration with

the Croatian Institute of History


Keynote lectures by

Neven Budak and Paul Knoll

In the summer of 2015 the countries of Central and Southeastern Europe were faced with a massive wave of refugees caused by the collapse of the established political order in the Near East. In the longue durée, this was not a new phenomenon. Throughout the Middle Ages the region of Central Europe, closed off by the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas, was on numerous times exposed to the large-scale movements of people, whether migrations or invasions, while its borders, as well as political and cultural landscapes were constantly shaped and reshaped anew. Yet during this entire period migrations were also taking place on a micro level. As various individuals, objects, and ideas circulated to and fro, political, economic and cultural connections emerged that transcended borders both within and beyond the region. The Third Biennial Conference of MECERN ( will focus on the impact of both mass and individual movements on the region, the permeability of borders, and the manifold connections that reached beyond purely local contexts. In other words, the conference will explore medieval Central Europe in flux. We welcome proposals from scholars researching all aspects of history, from political, social, cultural, economic, ecclesiastical, urban to art, literary, intellectual, and legal history. Both individual and panel submissions are welcomed, with papers expected to be twenty-minutes long. In addition, the call is open for poster presenters, as one poster session will also be organised with five-minute presentations.

Deadline for submissions: 15 September 2017

Please submit a 250-word abstract and one-page CV to

Planned registration fee: EUR 50

All accepted participants will be notified by 15 October 2017


MECERN at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds

MECERN at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK

(July 3-6, 2017)

Report by Nada Zečević


At this year’s International Medieval Congress in Leeds, MECERN presented its activities and network in session 1316 (July 5) entitled The Many Different Others of Medieval Central Europe. Moderated by Prof. Cosmin Popa-Gorjanu of the University 1. December 1918 in Alba Iulia, the session yielded a broad and lively discussion of the aspects and categories of “otherness” seen between the medieval Baltic and Adriatic. Cored in the Kingdoms of Hungary, Poland and Bohemia, medieval Central Europe, with its varying geographic forms, patterns of political organization and socio-economic structures, also reflected wider religious divergences and multiple cultural connections. These left a particular mark in the region’s dynamic exchange with the surrounding areas, some of which were seen even as marginal structures and more distant parts of the continent.

The three papers presented in this session showed several micro-examples of an exchange that contributed to the region’s socio-cultural diversification and implied, each in its own way, various relationships of otherness that connected the center and periphery. The first paper, Latin Christendom’s Others: 13th-Century Papal Legates in Poland, Hungary and England presented by Agata Zielinska, a post-graduate student of the University College in London, showed three examples of how the Papacy treated its “eastern periphery,” namely Poland and Hungary. Comparing these cases to a well-known area such as England, Zielinska showed that the Papacy tailored its missions according to the local needs, still allowing the papal agents to extend the arm of papal authority long into distant areas. The second paper presented by Nada Zečević of MECERN-CEU/Marie S. Curie Actions Research Fellow at Royal Holloway University of London, The Changing Other: Emigre Communities from the Balkan Peninsula in Late Medieval Hungary, pointed out to a variety and changing dynamics of „otherness” observed by the local sources of the time in relation to the first waves of the Balkan migrations from the Ottomans to the Kingdom of Hungary. The third presenter, Wojtek Jezierski of the Goeteborg University, debated upon Feelings in the siege: Fear Trust and Emotional Bonding in the Missionary and Crusader Baltic Realm, 12th and 13th centuries, showing how emotional experiences of the siege and conflict could prompt the feeling of otherness among the Crusaders in the Baltic.


MECERN at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo (Michigan): report

MECERN and its members at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo (Michigan), May 11th-14th 2017

Report by Suzana Miljan, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

At the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo (MI), that brought together more than 3000 medievalists from all over the world, MECERN participated with a session on Central European Medieval Networks. The first paper in this session, presented by Christian Raffensperger of the Wittenberg University (Springfield, Ohio), dealt with “Comparative Political Development in the Arc of Medieval Europe.” The second presenter, Katalin Szende of Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), focused on “Urban Networks in Medieval East Central Europe,” giving an analysis of diversified networking processes and complex structures of networks created through urban colonization between the Baltic and the Adriatic (including legal systems, connections between political elites, intellectual and cultural relations, ecclesiastical structures and business and trade networking). The third paper by Damir Karbić and Suzana Miljan of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Zagreb, Croatia) entitled “Complex networks of legal traditions and social structures. A case of Croatia-Dalmatia and Slavonia-Hungary” reflected upon the parallel existence of two contrasted legal cultures: the one, predominantly based on the written pragmatic legal literacy and the tradition of the academic Roman law of Croatia’s southern parts, and the other, that largely grafted upon oral legal traditions of northern Croatia. Apart from lively scholarly debate and exchange, the panel, presided by Prof. Gerhard Jaritz of the Central European University’s Medieval Studies Department, was also an opportunity to alert the US and international collegium about the recent acts of oppression of the Hungarian government towards the Central European University and it values that promote freedom of academic work and open society.

Apart from the MECERN session, the network’s members took part in several other sessions and Congress activities. Prof. Gerhard Jaritz organized a panel sponsored by CEU’s Department of Medieval Studies on “Creating and Transforming the Image of Saints,” in which one of the Department’s doctoral students, Stephen Pow, presented an innovative view on the connection between cults of saints and chivalry literature, while Prof. Gabor Klaniczay spoke about the stigmata of Blessed Helen of Hungary.

A particular interest of the MECERN scholars was expressed in a number of panels on “Archeology of Medieval Europe,” organized by Prof. Florin Curta of the University of Florida. There, one of the speakers was Mario Novak of the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb (Croatia), whose presentation dealt with health, diet and lifestyles of early medieval populations in the East Adriatic area. In the panel on “Rulership in Medieval Central Europe (Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland): Ideal and practice,” Prof. Paul Knoll of the University of Southern California reflected upon various aspects of rulership by comparing three individual cases of Louis the Great of Hungary, Casimir the Great of Poland, and Charles IV of Bohemia. The great interest of MECERN members was also seen in the panel “Beguines and the Transformations of Urban Piety on the Eastern Periphery of Late Medieval Christendom” organized by Michael Van Dusen of the McGill University, where new questions were put to examine the inquisitorial procedures against heretics in Poland and Bohemia by the papers of Tomasz Gałuszka and Pavel Kras.The call for papers for the 53

The call for papers for the 53rd Congress open until June, yet the interested candidates can apply with individual papers until the coming Fall by writing directly to panel organizers. More on the procedures of the application can be seen here.


MECERN Memeber appointed the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions’ Research Fellow at the Royal Holloway University of London

Starting from July 1, Nada Zecevic, the MECERN’s Research Companion to Medieval Central Europe Managing Editor and Associate Professor in Medieval History at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of East Sarajevo, has been appointed the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions’ Research Fellow at the History Department of the Royal Holloway University of London. There, she will conduct her research on A Comparative Diachronic Analysis of Post-Byzantine Networks in the Early-modern Europe (15th-18th c.) (MSCA IF-EF-ST no. 747857, acronym MIGWEB), in collaboration with Prof. Jonathan Harris.

The project focuses on the emigration from the Balkans and Greece to western Europe since the fall of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1453 to the mid-eighteenth century, when the Balkan region was dominated by the Ottoman Empire. It will examine how the émigrés connected with each other to build efficient networks that kept and protected their interests, but also how various émigré groups interacted with their host societies amidst changing historical conditions. In order to discern some common „patterns” of exchange and interaction that channeled the émigrés’ integration into the wider context of the early-modern Europe, the project will use an interdisciplinary approach that integrates historical, anthropological and demographic analysis, thus also reflecting upon the wider significance which the movement of people from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine East had in building the common European heritage.