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.