Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Schmidt (Fribourg): What is a Nation? Debates at the Councils of the Fifteenth Century


Mo. 25.09.2023 | 17:00 Uhr
Dr. Dovilė Bataitytė

To this day, attempts to define nation on the basis of objective, universally valid characteristics have failed. The reference to common origins is a mere fiction. Nation, however, is not objectively given, but a mental construct and thus closely linked to national consciousness. But the answer to the question, what a nation is, doesn’t depend only on the self-consciousness of the inhabitants, elites and institutions of a respective nation, but also on those outside the own nation. Since different and antagonistic interpretations and conceptions underlie the term nation, it is necessary to ascertain the ways in which the respective contemporaries themselves envisaged and proposed their argumentation. This will be done by discussing one example – the one of the ecumenical councils of the 15th century.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Schmidt studied History, French Language Literature and Pedagogy at the Universities of Trier, Nantes and Santander from 1974 to 1981. He received his doctorate from the University of Trier in 1985. From 1984 to 1989, he worked as an assistant professor at the Free University of Berlin, before he became an assistant and associate professor at the University of Giessen. In the early 1990s, he was a visiting scholar at the German Historical Institute in Rome and at the Berkeley Law School of the State University of California. Between 1998 and 2022, he worked as a full professor at the University of Fribourg, where he was head of the department of history in 2002–2003 and 2014–2018. Since 2022, he is professor emeritus.

September 25th, 2023 | 5 p.m.
University of Vilnius, Faculty of History, Room 211
Moderation: Dr. Darius Baronas

The lecture will be held in English language without translation into Lithuanian.

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