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Global Middle Ages Lecture Series 1: Roundtable discussion: What is Global History and Is it Applicable for the Middle Ages? (part of the ‘Current Approaches to Global History’ Budapest Lecture Series)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Roundtable "What is Global History and Is it Applicable for the Middle Ages?" (with Georgina White, Nada Zecevic, Gunhan Borekci, moderated by Balázs Nagy and Katalin Szende)

This roundtable discussion is part of the ‘Current Approaches to Global History’ Budapest Lecture Series.

The roundtable on 18 January will serve a double purpose: it will provide an introduction to the Faculty Research seminar series on “Global Middle Ages” that will run between January and March 2017 at the Department of Medieval Studies of CEU; and call the attention to the ENIUGH panel entitled “Imperial Languages: language as a tool of governance in the Middle Ages in a comparative perspective” sponsored by MECERN (Medieval Central Europe Research Network). Participants will therefore include two lecturers of the seminar series and the two conveners and one of the speakers of the panel.

Many historians connect global history to the modern process of globalization, i.e. a “new level of international flows and connections among economies and polities” (M. Berg); at the same time, it has to be acknowledged that such flows and connections existed already before the industrial period. The question of how much the examination of earlier forms of interlinking cultures, societies and economies contributes to our understanding of recent developments can be raised parallel to how much the study of the Middle Ages benefits from “going global”? Can one speak at all of a “global Middle Ages”, and does the term “Middle Ages” make sense in the light of a non-Eurocentric view of human history?

Global approaches go beyond old paradigms of national and area histories, but at the same time they also challenge the traditional way of writing imperial histories, the histories of par excellence transnational polities. Empires are a focal point in both the seminar and the panel, and therefore will be addressed in the introductory panel as well. Two of the speakers are experts of empires at both ends of the traditional chronological framework of the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire (White) and the Ottoman Empire (Börekçi); the third contributor (Zečević) focuses on an area, the Balkans, which was a region “between empires”, bound to engage in networking between various polities, religions and cultures. The moderators, experts on economic and urban history, will prompt the speakers to consider different forms and levels of connectedness over time, and to present the main actors: merchants, migrants, soldiers, missionaries or bureaucrats, and many more, who stood behind them. By comparing these forms and actors we hope to raise new questions that will be discussed further during the lecture series and the panel.

About the participants

Nada Zečević received her PhD at the Medieval Studies Department at CEU in 2004, with a focus on the Italian Tocco family in Latin Greece. She worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Priština, and research fellow at the Institute of Byzantine Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Since 2011, she has been teaching medieval history and Latin language at the University of East Sarajevo. She is the managing editor of the Research Companion to Medieval Central Europe, within the framework of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network project at CEU.

Georgina White is the current CEMS Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Fellow in Classical Studies at CEU, with a focus on ancient political thought. She holds a PhD from Princeton University (2015). With a background in classical literature and history, she is interested in how Greek philosophy enters the Roman world, and the philosophical and political implications of translating Greek thought into the Latin language.

Günhan Börekçi  received his PhD degree in history from the Ohio State University (2010). His thesis discussed the courts of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603-17) and his immediate predecessors. His main fields of interest are early modern Ottoman political, military and social history, and comparative seventeenth-century crises. He has been working as associate professor at Istanbul Şehir University - College Of Humanities And Social Sciences - History from 2010, and currently teaches at CEU as a visiting professor.

Katalin Szende earned her PhD degree (2000) in History/Medieval Studies at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. She has been associate professor at the Department of Medieval Studies at CEU, acting as Head of Department between 2010 and 2013 and from 2016. She held the Bolyai János Research Fellowship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2008-2011, and in 2014 she was faculty fellow at the CEU Institute for Advanced Study. She has published extensively on medieval urban history, literature and material culture.

Balázs Nagy defended his PhD in 1995 at Eötvös Loránd University, with a focus on wine trade and wine consumption in the medieval West. He has taught as associate professor at the Department of Medieval and Early Modern European History at ELTE, and has acted as a tutor, visiting lecturer, library curator, and associate professor at the Department of Medieval Studies at CEU. His research interest covers medieval economic and social history, medieval urbanisation, commercial history of Central Europe and Hungary in the later Middle Ages.