Prof. Dr. Diana Mishkova (Sofia): Byzantium against Byzantium: Narratives of Empire in the Historiographies of Southeastern Europe


Di. 16.05.2023 | 18:00 Uhr

Wir laden herzlich zum öffentlichen Vortrag ins DHI Warschau ein. Referieren wird Prof. Dr. Diana Mishkova vom Center for Advanced Studies in Sofia.

Interest in Byzantium and its legacy in Southeastern Europe occurred simultaneously and was closely linked with the interest in the medieval precursors of the Balkan nation-states – an interest itself bolstered by the projects of national awakening and modern state-building. Since the medieval history of the Balkan societies and states was largely shaped in and by their relations with Byzantium, the question about the empire’s role and impact became, and remained, a central theme in their national-historical narratives and identity politics. A powerful historical player and a living tradition, Byzantium came to be implicated heavily in issues like ethnogenesis and collective identity, historical ‘rights’, national patrimony,culture and ‘mentality’. As such, it was exposed to political and ideological deployment. My paper – which is essentially an excerpt of a book that came out in December 2022, titled ‘Rival Byzantiums: Empire and Identity in Southeastern Europe’ – should be seen as a snapshot of the politics of Byzantine studies, of the images, perceptions and understandings this field has been cultivating, and a critical interrogation of ‘Byzantium’ as a historiographical construct with considerable ideological potential in shaping national history and national identity.

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