Call for Papers: Networks – Cooperation – Rivalry, The Fourth Biennial Conference of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network, University of Gdansk

Networks – Cooperation – Rivalry

The Fourth Biennial Conference of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network

University of Gdansk (Gdańsk, Poland), 22–24 April 2020

Call for Papers

After successful conferences in Budapest (2014), Olomouc (2016) and Zagreb (2018), the Fourth Biennial Conference of MECERN ( will examine the building of networks in Central Europe, as well as between Central Europe and other parts of Europe and the wider world. It will raise the question whether this process was based on cooperation or competition, on solidarity or rivalry, and will trace the short and long-term impacts, and eventual disintegration of these networks. In other words, the conference will explore medieval Central Europe as a conglomerate of structured and interrelated, but often changeable ties. By invoking new paradigms, this approach encourages historians from Central Europe or writing about Central Europe to reject the national perspective and national myths concerning this subject.

We welcome proposals from scholars at all stage of career, researching all aspects of medieval past, from political, social, cultural, economic, ecclesiastical, urban, artistic, material, literary, intellectual and legal history. Having Central Europe as their starting point, papers and session proposals may address the following issues:

– rivalry and competition for power in Central Europe

– building Central European alliances; dynastic connections, including contacts with Western Europe and wider Eurasia

– temporary and permanent agreements or contracts of an economic, social or political nature

– network building between families, kin-groups, social groups, economic organisations; trade contacts

– Church connections and rivalry in Central Europe and beyond

– religious organisations, brotherhoods, networks of monasteries and monks

– medieval schools and universities as places of networking

– the development of the idea of networks in the Middle Ages

– networks of law; legal ties between cities

– inclusion and exclusion: developments outside the network structure

– artistic aspects of networks (the existence of artists’ networks)

– material culture and of objects – what archaeology says about networks

– modern historiography on networks; the concepts of rivalry and cooperation in the Middle Ages

Both individual and panel submissions are encouraged. Papers are twenty minutes long. In addition, the call is open for poster presentations. A poster session will include five-minute presentations from each accepted poster presented.

Deadline for submissions: 15 October 2019 Please submit a 250-word abstract and a one-page CV to

Expected registration fee: 75 EUR PhD students: reduced fee 40 EUR

Accepted participants will be notified by 30 November 2019

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.



Book launch: From Hus to Luther -Visual Culture in the Bohemian Reformation (1380-1620)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm
CEU, Nador u. 9, 1051 Budapest
Monument Building, Gellner Room

Book launch

From Hus to Luther –Visual Culture in the Bohemian Reformation (1380-1620) edited  by Katerina Hornicková and M. Šroněk, presented by Béla Zsolt Szakács

The first study representing a little-known phenomenon in Bohemian cultural and political history – the visual culture that grew up in the environment of the Reformation churches in Bohemia from the Hussites until the defeat of the Estates by the Habsburgs at White Mountain in 1620.

This book portrays a little-known phenomenon in Bohemian cultural and political history – the visual culture that grew up in the environment of Reformation churches in Bohemia from the time of the Hussites until the defeat of the Estates by the Habsburg coalition at White Mountain in 1620. It provides the first comprehensive overview of a forgotten era of artistic production over a period of approximately two hundred years, when most of the population of Bohemia professed non-Catholic faiths.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a unique situation arose in Bohemia, with five main Christian denominations (Utraquists, Lutherans, the Unity of Brethren, Calvinists, and Catholics) gradually coming to function alongside each other, with a number of other religious groups also active. The main churches, which had a fundamental influence on political stability in the state, were the majority Utraquists and the minority Catholics. Yet the essays of this book establish that despite the particularities of the Bohemian situation, the religious trends of Bohemia were an integral part of the process of Reformation across Europe.

Featuring over fifty illustrations including manuscript illumination, panel painting, and architecture, the book also presents the surviving cultural products of the four non-Catholic Christian denominations, ranging from the more moderate to radical Reformation cultures. The book also analyses the attitudes of these denominations to religious representations, and illuminates their uses of visual media in religious and confessional communication. The book thus opens up both the Reformation culture of Bohemia and its artistic heritage to an international audience.

Kateřina Horníčková obtained her PhD at CEU Budapest in 2009. She is  a researcher at the FWF SFB 42 research program, Visions of Community, based in Vienna, and lecturer in art history at the University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice. She has published on late medieval art and the Hussites, medieval treasures and piety, and collaborated in several interdisciplinary projects on medieval, and early modern visual and material culture.

Michal Šroněk obtained his PhD at Masaryk University, Brno. He is a researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences and university professor of art history at the University of South Bohemia. He specialises in Early Modern painting and visual culture. He is the author of several monographs and studies on sixteenth- and seventeeth-century Bohemian art, and on the connections between art and the Reformation.


Public Lecture at CEU: A Sinner in the City: the Later Medieval Cult of Mary Magdalene in Central Europe

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – 5:30pm to 7:00pm
CEU, Nador u. 9, Budapest 1051
Monument Building, Gellner Room

Public lecture

A Sinner in the City: the Later Medieval Cult of Mary Magdalene in Central Europe, by Zoë Opačić

The cult of Mary Magdalene has enjoyed a steadily growing popularity in late-medieval Central Europe as in its western and southern regions. Churches dedicated to the saint occupied strategic locations in Buda, Krakow and Vienna and were often linked with important urban rituals and prestigious confraternities. This multi-layered ‘urban’ quality of the Magdalene’s cult is investigated through a close-up analysis of a mysterious 15th-century relief, originally a tympanum, which shows the saint as the witness to the Resurrection of Christ. Research has shown that the tympanum (now in the Wien Museum) once formed a part of an ambitious Gothic facade of the Mary Magdalene chapel in the cathedral square.  The rebuilding of the chapel as the seat of the powerful Notaries guild and of the Corpus Christi confraternity was one of several civic initiatives in and around Vienna, which involved the cathedral lodge. It will be argued that the intriguing Magdalene relief cannot be explained by conventional iconographic tools alone. Its meaning can only be extrapolated by focusing on its location and the role of the Stephansplatz as a site of communal rituals of salvation in the form of relic displays, Passion plays and Corpus Christ processions, set amidst one of Vienna’s largest and oldest cemeteries. By drawing comparisons across the region, this lecture will demonstrate the development of a sophisticated insight into Mary Magdalene’s dual role as an equal member of the Apostolic elite and also as a reformed sinner and as role model of the life (and death) transforming belief through sight.

Zoë Opačić specialises in the medieval art, architecture and urbanism in Central Europe. She is a senior lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Editor of the Journal of the British Archaeological Association. She is a long-standing collaborator of the CEU (as well as its staunch supporter), and is currently its visiting lecturer.




25(-26) September 2017, Prague


An International Workshop proposed by the Center for Ibero-American Studies (SIAS FF UK), the French Institute for Research in Social Sciences (CEFRES) and the Institute of Art History of Czech Academy of Sciencies (ÚDU AV ČR)


Deadline for proposals (250 words): 26 June 2017

Notification due: 31 July 2017

Scientific organizers: Monika Brenišínová (SIAS FF UK) and Katalin Pataki (CEU/CEFRES)


The aim of the workshop is to set into focus the monastic space as a multifaceted research theme from a global and interdisciplinary perspective. We invite papers that address the questions how monastic institutions contributed to the flow and exchanges of cultural practices and how their role as cultural mediators shaped their material culture and spatial politics. The scope of the workshop has no timely, geographical or confessional limitations as it intends to generate dialogue between researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds.


For centuries, monasteries served as centers of education and culture. Literary works, sermons, translations and artefacts were created among their walls that never served merely as an impenetrable isolation from the outer world, but rather represented a conscious politics of structuring both the physical and the mental space. They kept contact not only with their closer environment, but also formed part of greater intellectual, spiritual and economic networks and interacted with different stakeholders of worldly power. They could serve as strongholds of cultural and religious missions that penetrated into new territories, triggered intercultural and interconfessional interactions and facilitated knowledge transfers, while their long-lasting presence in a territory could also ensure continuity and enables the investigation of long durée changes, reforms and renewals. Their evolvements and transformations unavoidably shaped both their inner spaces (including material culture and architecture), and the landscape around them and thus, they also contributed to the formation of such notions as identity, borders and migration.


Against this background, we invite papers on the following thematic fields:

religious orders as stakeholders of social disciplining; confessionalization; colonization; cultural, religious and political missions; ecclesiastical and social reforms; etc.

monasteries as mediators in the flow of ideas; material goods (artefacts, relics, precious materials, medicinal drugs, etc.); devotional, educational, healing practices

spatial agenda of monastic institutions that shapes its closer environment materially (e.g. agricultural practices, setting up of parishes, chapels, shrines, etc.) and the perception the landscape in which they operate.

The workshop is designed primarily for young researchers— especially Ph.D. and postdoctoral students—aiming to explore the future perspectives of the aforementioned themes in an innovative way and to lay down the foundations of further cooperation beyond disciplinary and national boundaries. Simultaneously, it also aims to create a forum that features well-known scholars among its speakers and disseminates information about ongoing research projects, academic working groups and relevant publications. The Journal Ibero-Americana Pragensia also offers the opportunity to publish the presented papers. The language of the workshop is English, but abstracts submitted in other languages (German, Spanish, French) can be also accepted.


If you are interested in participating, please send your name, academic affiliation and an abstract of 250 words by 26 June to the following email address: Applicants will be informed about the selection of their papers by 31 July.


Conference on The Ottoman Conquest and Knowledge: A Transcultural History

Medieval Studies at Cambridge

The aim of this conference is to further our understanding of the ways in which knowledge was transformed, exchanged, diversified, expanded, and suppressed during the period beginning with the Ottoman
conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean. The broad (transcultural) scope of this conference is represented by scholars from diverse fields who have been brought together to discuss the far-reaching
and varied impact of the Ottoman conquest.

The conference will take place at Newnham College, Cambridge, July 6-7, 2017.

For further information about the conference and attendance, please contact the conference organiser, Dr Alexandra Vukovich, at


Summer School for junior scholars interested in the history of the Balkans

The Summer School “History Takes Place – Dynamics of Urban Change” will bring together from 4 to 15 September 2017 international young researchers – historians, art historians, archaeologists, cultural and social scientists, city planners and architects. This year’s programme is focused on the complex and multi-layered history of Belgrade and Sarajevo. The ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius and the Gerda Henkel Foundation invite the participants to study the connections between historical events and spatial development.
Since 2003 we have invited up to twenty young historians and social scientists (usually postgraduate students) annually to take part in studies programmes in various locations. The aim is to find the traces of history in the topography, architecture and monuments of the place. The city itself is ‘read’ as a historical source – ‘History Takes Place’.
Please find here the link to the call for applications:
Further information can be found under
The deadline for applications is 29 May 2017.
For further questions please contact:
Dr. Anna Hofmann
Program Director Research and Scholarship
ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius
Feldbrunnenstrasse 56

20148 Hamburg


Tel.: 0049 40 41336785

Fax: 0049 40 41336740

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