2017/2018

The Nordic 'Civil Wars' in the High Middle Ages in a Comparative Perspective

Humanities

Principal investigators

Hans Jacob Orning

Professor
University of Oslo (UiO)
Year at CAS

Jón Viðar Sigurðsson

Professor
University of Oslo (UiO)
Year at CAS

Abstract

In this project, international scholars from humanistic disciplines and social sciences will study the Nordic "civil wars" in the period c. 1130-1260 in a comparative perspective. The project is guided by the following hypotheses:

- The Nordic "civil wars" were less chaotic than has been asserted when labelling them "civil war", "anarchy", or "breakdown of order".
- These conflicts should be studied as regional conflicts, not as national ones.

In order to investigate these theories, we will adopt a cross-disciplinary and comparative perspective:

- By including medieval scholars working on English, French and German medieval history, we will gain a deeper understanding of how the Nordic "civil wars" can be situated in a broader contemporary European context, something which is almost completely lacking in medieval scholarship.
- Our aim in involving political scientists and anthropologists working on civil wars in a more contemporary setting is to obtain insight into new approaches and theoretical perspectives on civil wars, and to utilise these perspectives on medieval civil wars. This arises from the idea that modern and medieval civil wars share many characteristics, and that by bringing specialists dealing with these separate fields together it will give new insight.

During Fall 2017, a group of social scientists and medieval historians will discuss and develop a theoretical framework applicable for studying civil wars in the Middle Ages. In Spring 2018, medieval historians working with Nordic as well as Continental Europe will work together on the issues of comparing civil wars in different places in Europe, and tracing patterns of interaction between these various areas, taking care to analyse the conflicts at both local, regional, national and supranational levels.

The main goal of the project is to write two books on Nordic civil wars in a European context incorporating a cross-disciplinary approach.

Fellows

Ebrahim Afsah

Associate Professor
University of Copenhagen
Year at CAS

Gerd Althoff

Professor Em.
University of Münster
Year at CAS

Jenny Benham

Lecturer
Cardiff University
Year at CAS

John Comaroff

Professor
Harvard University
Year at CAS

Kim Esmark

Associate Professor
University of Roskilde
Year at CAS

Lars Hermanson

Professor
University of Gothenburg
Year at CAS

Bjørn Poulsen

Professor
Aarhus University
Year at CAS

Frederik Rosén

Senior Researcher
University of Copenhagen
Year at CAS

Henrik Erdman Vigh

Professor
University of Copenhagen
Year at CAS

Helle Vogt

Professor
University of Copenhagen

Stephen D. White

Professor Em.
Emory University
Year at CAS

Øyvind Østerud

Professor
University of Oslo (UiO)
Year at CAS

News

‘It is very rare to have the opportunity to concentrate so much on one project with a group of people as what CAS allows. For us, I think it would be safe to say that the fruits of CAS are materialising along two lines – the books we produced there, and the spinoffs that only now are starting to pop up.’ Hans Jakob Orning, professor of history at UiO and a former CAS project leader, said when thinking back at his year at the centre.

Did you know that there were many common traits between Norwegian and Polish societies during the High Middle Ages and how they developed? Former CAS project leader Hans Jacob Orning and his colleagues have received a €1.4 million grant to find out more.

Events

2017

16

March
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P.A. Munchs hus, Niels Henrik Abels vei 36: seminar room 11
2017

20

April
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P.A. Munchs hus, Niels Henrik Abels vei 36: seminar room 11
2017

18

May
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P.A. Munchs hus, Niels Henrik Abels vei 36: seminar room 11