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International Conference on Migration and Persistence

Jul 25, 2017

Prof. Nikolas Jaspert and Prof. Bernd Schneidmüller organized the conference “Migration and Persistence – Medieval Discourses”. It will take place from July 27-29 at the Universitätsbibliothek of Heidelberg University and the Karl Jaspers Center for Transcultural Studies.

The conference will bring together international scholars from the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Israel, Austria, Estonia and the United States. It aims at discussing the discourses resulting from processes of migration during the mediaeval millennium. An important trait of such debates in the past and present is the tendency to portray one’s own lifeworld as endangered by mixing different origins. Notions of purity and pollution thus play a role for discourses of migration and require careful analysis. They are only one variant of resistance to alleged or factual mixing and form part of the wider field of persistence to foreign influences. It was significant both, for those migrating and for the societies they encountered. The relation between these two groups became particularly dramatic in cases of military expansion and conquest. How did the subjects consider the new lords, how did they depict and narrate foreign rule, under which conditions could “they” become “we”, in which circumstances was alterity constructed, upheld or reinforced?

The interconnections between migration, mobility, mingling and persistence shall be analyzed both on a theoretical scale and with reference to concrete spaces and times. The conference is, therefore, organized in four major sessions comprising fifteen talks by international historians. The first session will be dedicated to discussing more general and theoretical notions of movement and mixing in the Middle Ages. Sections two to four will then consist of case studies from a broad range of different periods and areas. The talks are grouped chronologically and thematically. These case studies, too, won’t focus too much on the actual processes of migration, but rather on the reactions to it.

The conference will start on Thursday, July 27 at 2:45 pm at Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg in the Handschriftenlesesaal with a welcome speech by Nikolas Jaspert. The final discussion by Bernd Schneidmüller will conclude the conference on Saturday 29 at 11:45 am at the Karl Jaspers Center.

Prof. Nikolas Jaspert is professor for Mediaeval History at Heidelberg University with a focus on Mediterranean history and the crusades. He is also designated director of the Cluster "Asia and Europe".

Prof. Bernd Schneidmüller is also professor for Mediaeval History and principal investigator at the Cluster “Asia and Europe”, where he coordinated the projects A27 "World Orders" and A5 "Nationising the Dynasty".

For more information on the conference and the detailed program, please visit the homepage of Zentrum für Europäische Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften.

Guests are welcome to join the conference and participants may register via mail to:


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  • Picture: Eneas flieht aus Troja, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 403, Bl. 004r, Eneas, Heinrich von Veldeke,