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Seminarer 2007

Medieval Images of the Other in Scandinavia, Western Europe and Byzantium

Blev afholdt i april 2007.


Stereotypes of sameness or multiple enemy images?

Images of the other were in the middle ages created - as they are today - both through literatur, propaganda, and mutual contacts. Crusades, political conflicts, and plain warfare led to stereotyped enemy images in the West of Muslims, Jews, and Greeks - images that were to have great impact in the Middle Ages and beyond. But other channels of contact existed than those between the major powers involved, and the Scandinavian connection with e.g. the Byzantine Empire may have contributed with alternative images, questioning the stereotypes and repetitive sameness of the enemy images. This seminar will address the issue of multiple enemy images from various perspectives, but special attention will  be given to the Nordic contribution to a general Western European outlook. Did Scandinavian - and English - contacts with the Byzantine Empire result in differentiating the general negative view of Byzantium, as it is often claimed by modern historians in Western Europe, and what did these contacts in turn mean for the images af the Muslims as for instance communicated in official crusade ideology? Did the varios images come into conflict, or wouls they be applied only according to circumstances? Or the other way round: Did contacts with the North have an impact on how the Greeks viewed "Franks"? Did they differentiate, and could several images exist simultaneously? Furthermore, could the same model of simultaneous presence of conflicting views be applied to western views of the Jews, living rejected - and yet to some degree accepted - within western societies? In the seminar, these questions will be raised and followed up till the Late Middle Ages, pointing out the important implications that these questions have for the present debate about the role of Islam within the Western democratic societies. And in these debates, it is not uncommon to encounter arguments that have not changed substantially for more than a thousand years.





Introduction; dr. Christian Høgel & dr. Janus Møller Jensen, University of Southern Denmark.

10.00-12.00: Session 1

Scandinavian images of Byzantium in the early Middle Ages; dr. fil. John Lind, University of Southern Denmark.

The Byzantine Conception of the Latin barbarian; ph.d. candidate Jason T. Roche, University of St. Andrews.

Images of Muslims in medieval Iceland - the evidence of the sagas; dr. Bjørn Bandlien, University Library in Oslo.

Enemy gods and godless enemies - saracens in the crusade propaganda of Jaques de Vitry and Eudes de Châteauroux; ph.d. candidate Miikka Tamminen, University of Tampere

12.00-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.30: Session 2

Of sameness with difference - stereotypes of Muslims in the Christian Middle Ages; dr. Thomas Hoffmann, Carsten Niebuhr Institute.

This abominable heresy - the Latin Christian discovery of the Talmud and of the Quran in the mid 12th century; prof. Kurt Villads Jensen, University of Southern Denmark.

14.30-15.00: Coffee

15.00-16.00: Session 3

A deterioration and not made for man - Byzantine views of Islam in the Age of Humanism; dr. Christian Høgel, University of Southern Denamrk.

The Empire of Evil - the Turks in the Scandinavian imagination in the 16th century; dr. Janus Møller Jensen, University of Southern Denmark.

16.00-17.00: General discussion.