Data konferencji: 26-28 listopada 2020
Uneven regional development in the Middle Ages: “younger Europe”in transcontinentaland intercontinental networks
The conference organized by the German Historical Institute Warsaw in cooperation with the Centre for Medieval Studies, Prague
Prague, November 26-28, 2020
Uneven development is most commonly defined in terms of thegap between highly developed, industrialized countries and agrarian countrieswhose economies are dominated by primary sector activities.Historians have been pointing out for years that the inequalitiesprevailing in the world arise from structural conditions thatare resistant to change and thereforedevelop very slowly (F. Braudel).Thus, inequalitiesare not only the consequencesof the Industrial Revolution;they certainly also existed inpre-modern societies.But how do inequalities arise and in which areas do they express themselves? Are they the result of thenon-simultaneity of development indifferent regions, which is partly due to geographical conditions (“disadvantaged places”) and thus a constant inpre-industrial societies? Or are they created through interactions and confrontations with more economically and technologically advanced structures? If the latter is true, theninequalities are caused by external factors.The starting point of the conference is the recognition that “younger Europe”,which J. Kłoczowski essentially equateswithEast Central Europe, although the Balkans, KievianRus,and Scandinaviacould be considered a part of itin some centuries, has been included in continental and intercontinental interaction networkssince the Early Middle Ages.In the ninth and tenth centuries, the economies of north-western Eurasia were alreadyremarkably entangled. For example, between about 900 and 950, silver mines in Uzbekistan were runningat full speed to serve markets that ranged from the Urals in the eastto the Celtic lands on the Atlanticcoastin the west,and from the Crimea in the south to central Swedenin the north. But such interactions did not just involve the exchange ofprecious metals and goods, whichstimulated commercial cycles. Foreign trade (along with tributes and booty) formed the fiscal and economic basis of the ruleof nascent early medieval dynasties. In parallel, the elites of the emerging states converted to Christianity,to both the Latin and Orthodox rites. From the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, a profound transformation of society and culture took place, resulting in the increasing emergence of cities with borough rights, the resettlement of the countrysidewith free peasants, the construction of castles, the expansionof written communication,and the founding of monasteries and universities. These phenomena spread from west toeast. In the late fourteenthcenturyand throughout thefifteenth century, Ottoman campaigns led to the conquest of large parts of the Balkans, which initiated theperipheralization of this region. Thistransformationraises the questionofto what extent,and in what regional terms,networks and interactions deepened or –on the contrary –levelled outexisting social and economic differences in development. Papers that focus onthefollowing topicsand explore them in comparative perspective are encouraged:
-Trade and goods production
-Monetization and commercialization
-Cities and borough rights
-The status of peasants and rural commoners
-The foundation of universities and monasteries
-Imaginationsof unevenness and the simultaneity of the non-simultaneous.
Conference languages are German and English.