Confessiones et Nationes.
Confessional and Ethnic Traditions
in Shaping Cultural Identities in Europe:
from Medieval Discourses to Contemporary effects
The aim of this research program is threefold:
(1) to analyze comparatively the links between confessional peculiarities of Europe's religious traditions and crucial aspects of cultural/ethnic/national identities in those regions of Europe, where Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism were dominating in Middle Ages and in the Early Modern Period;
(2) to analyze basic patterns of accommodating cultural and religious differences and contradictions in Orthodox and western Christian societies of Europe in the Early Modern Period;
(3) to find ways to uncover and to study the longue durée discursive structures of some present day cultural phenomena, which have been shaped (among other factors) by religious traditions.
Obviously an acute question underlies the whole project: how should the historical patterns of accommodating cultural, religious, and ethnic differences in the East and in the West of Europe be studied and conceptualized in order to provide more adequate understanding of past and today's ethnic, religious and cultural tensions among European peoples?
The program focuses on Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus'), East-Central Europe (Poland and Hungary), South-Eastern Europe (Romania, Moldavia) and France. This choice enables researchers to study different types of interaction between confessional and cultural structures as well as different types of cultural tensions in the contact zone between the Orthodox and the Latin worlds.
Particular objectives of this program are:
- to explore some new research problems regarding the impact of confessional traditions (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish) on cultural identities in Eastern, Central, South-Eastern and Western Europe in the XVIth XVIIIth centuries;
- to make a balance of the accumulated research experience: to demonstrate what has been achieved by historians in studying the interaction religion and culture in Europe through centuries; to show what remains unclear, controversial and disputable;
- to show how the importance of the results of scholarly analysis of relationships between cultures and religions in the past for the present cultural and political situation in Europe;
- to share the results of the research with large reading audience, students, and mass media.
It should be underlined that the program is specific in four following respects:
(1) It aims to conduct a consistently comparative analysis of religious and cultural identities of societies in the East and in the West of Europe;
(2) A special emphasis has been put on interdisciplinarity, since the project aims to combine methods of historical, religious, social and anthropological studies;
(3) At the center of comparison has been placed the experience of the two major confessional and cultural areas, Byzantine Orthodox and Latin Christianity, in shaping cultural identities and accommodating cultural and religious differences;
(4) It aims to approach phenomena under investigation from the longue durée perspective.
Main sponsoring institutions: Central European University, Budapest (History Department, Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies, CRC program); Center for Ukrainian and Belorussian Studies, Faculty of History, Moscow Lomonossov State University; Maison des sciences de l'homme (Paris), Institute for Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; University Paris-I Sorbonne-Panthéon.
Activities in 2003-2005:
- September December 2003 colloquium and series of seminars in Moscow on "Confessions and Cultural Identities in the East and in the West of Europe (Russia, Poland, Ukraine, France), XVth through XVIIth century" with the papers by A.Cabantous, University Paris-I, B.Roussel (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris), A.Zakrewski (Warsaw University), W.Krigseisen (Polish Academy of Sciences), V.Kovalev, O.Nemenskij, A.Shpirt, B.Serov, G.Melnikov, M.Dmitriev, S.Lukashova (Moscow State University and Russian Academy of Sciences) et alii.
- January-March 2004 research seminar at the Central European University (Budapest) "Confessional Traditions in Shaping Cultural Identities in Europe".
- M.Dmitriev, Moscow State University / CEU: «"Holy Russia", "Russians as New Israel", "Russia as Palestine", "Moscow as the III Rome": puzzles of proto-national discourses in Muscovite Russia»
- Ya.Hrytsak, L'viv State University / CEU: «The World the Peasants Made: Identities of Galician Ruthenian / Ukrainian peasants, 1830-1930s»
- B.Trencsényi, CEU: «Comparing Discourses of "Elect Nation" and "Holy Land" in British, Hungarian, Russian, and Ruthenian contexts, XVIth XVIIth centuries»
- March 27, 2004 workshop and Curriculum Resource Center session were organized at the Central European University (Budapest) "Confessions, Cultural Identities and Proto-national Discourses in Medieval and Early Modern Europe".
Round-table discussion: What is ethnicity and national identity? How they are related to religious/confessional traditions?
Workshop 1: Religion, ethnicity, cultural identities, proto-nationalisms and nationalisms in Byzantium, Rus' and Russia XVth XIXth centuries
Workshop 2: Religion, ethnicity, cultural identities, proto-nationalisms in East-Cental and Central Europe, XVth XVIIth centuries
- R. Shukurov (Moscow University), "Confession and Ethnicity in Byzantine Culture"
- K. Erusalimskiy (Moscow), "Muscovite Historical, Confessional and Ethnic Identities in Mirror of the XVIth Century Diplomatic Practices"
- E. Sashalmi (Pecs Uniwersity), "Muscovite Orthodoxy and the Religious Image of the Enemy: Poles and Lithuanians in Russian Literary and Chancery Sources of the Late 16th and Early 17th Centuries"
- M. Dmitriev (MSU / CEU), "Orthodoxy and ethnicity in the "proto-national" discourses of Muscovite Russia"
- G. Rokina (Yoshkar-Ola), "Ethnicity and Confession in Volga Region, XVIth XIXth centuries: some observations"
- V. Kovalev (Moscow), "Political and Confessional Elements in the Polish opinions of «Moscow» Russians in the «Time of Troubles»".
- S. Salei (Grogna), "'Ruthenian' identity as reflected in Lithuanian-Muscovian diplomatic correspondence of the 16th century"
- O. Nemensky (Moscow), "Ethnicity in the Orthodox and Uniate Writings in the early 17th-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth"
- March 24, 2004 round table discussion at the CEU History Department: "National discourses from the longue durée perspective: medieval or modern roots of nationalisms?" Speaker: M.Dmitriev, Moscow State University / CEU; comments: A.Miller (Russian Academy of Sciences/CEU; M.Janowski, Polish Academy of Sciences/ CEU; Ya.Hrytsak, L'viv State University / CEU)
- May 28, 2004 journée d'études was held in Paris (University Paris-I Sorbonne-Panthéon) "Identités et ethnicité à l'Ouest et à l'Est de l'Europe à l'époque moderne". Papers by G.Salineiro, D.Tollet, M.Dmitriev, C.Michaud.
- September 10-11, 2004 international colloquium was arranged in Moscow "National and Confessional in Cultural Identities: Russia and France, XVIth XVIIIth centuries". Papers by: M.Venard, University Paris-X, N.Lemaitre, Univesity Paris-I, J.-L.Lemaitre, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, C.Michaud, University Paris-I, I.Vedjushkina, R.Shukurov, K.Erusalimski, V.Kovalev, V.Kalugin, M.Dmitriev, P.Uvarov, L.Pimenova, O.Nemenskij (Moscow State University and Russian Academy of Sciences).
- September-October 2004 seminar series on "Chistianity and Proto-National Discourses in Medieval Rus', Poland and France" was given by M.Dmitriev at the Moscow Lomonossov State University.
- February 24, 2005 research workshop at the CEU "Strategies of Ethnic Distinction in Medieval Cultures: «Barbarian Kingdoms», Byzantine Empire, Kievan Rus'". Key speakers: A.Schwarcz (Vienna University); M.Dmitriev (MSU/CEU).
- March 22, 2005 research workshop at the CEU "Christianity in Shaping Proto-National Discourses in Eastern Europe, XVIth XVIIIth centuries". Key speakers: M.Niendorf (Erfurt University); M.Dmitriev (MSU/CEU).
- April 8, 2005 journée d'études at the University of Montpellier "Discours identitaires proto-nationaux à l'Est et à l'Ouest de l'Europe, Moyen Âge XVIIème siècle".
Plans for 2005-2008:
- September December 2005 research seminar in Moscow (planned).
- October 2005 workshop in Moscow (planned).
- March 2006 workshop in Budapest (planned).
- In course of 2006 series of seminars and workshops on "Religious traditions, cultural identities and "national" conflicts in Early Modern Europe: comparative and longue durée prospective".
- January-March 2006 continuation of research seminar "Confessional Traditions in Shaping Cultural Identities in Europe" at the Central European University (Budapest).
- 2007 international conference "Confessional, national and political traditions in the genesis of national discourses in Europe".
- The book to be published in 2007-2008: "Confessiones et Nationes. Religious Traditions in Shaping National Discourses in Europe".