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.

 

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