CfP: Identities, Categories of Identification, and Identifications between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic (Ljubljana, April 20 and 21, 2017)

Department of History, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts

Institute of Contemporary History

National Museum of Contemporary History

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Historical Social Science, University of Vienna


Identities, categories of identification, and identifications between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic

Ljubljana, April 20 and 21, 2017


In recent years, the notion of contingency and situational nature of group identities has been gaining wider recognition among historians. Additionally, social anthropology has introduced the notion that historical identities should be understood from a “perspective of natives” and contemporary categories of identification should not be imposed on the past. Therefore, in recent decades, we have seen a revision of the interpretations that saw modern nations as a necessary result of history. These days, many historians see group identities as a result of non-determinate processes which always had alternatives. The current state of affairs, then, is not a historical imperative, but rather, the result of coincidences, twists and turns, failures … Research has also shown that, even after the rise of nationalisms, nation-ness most definitely was not (and is not) relevant for the entirety of the populace and has not been relevant in all situations.


The aim of the conference is to answer these challenges with historical case studies. We’ll be taking a look at how the inhabitants of the region between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic identified, and how they reacted to the introduction of new categories of identification – such as, for example, nations – and the relationships between various categories of identification; how they appeared, disappeared, and transformed. We’ll also be interested in the factors, which influenced these changes.


However, we are not interested in ethnic or national categories of identification only, but also professional, social, religious, gendered, and other categories which served as the basis for the formation of groups and proved to be relevant in particular situations and under particular circumstances. We will endeavour to interpret historical sources through the perspective of »multiple identities«, which more accurately represents an individual’s identity choices and strategies, all so readily available, particularly in our modern societies.


We are interested in examples from Central and South East Europe – from the region between the Danube, the Alps, and the Adriatic – from all periods of history. A particular emphasis will be placed on case studies, although we’re also open to new theorising and comparative studies. Most importantly, though, we are interested in new, fresh approaches, rather than replications of old, surpassed models.


Keynote speakers will be Stefan Donecker (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Medieval Research) and Pieter M. Judson (European University Institute).


The conference language is English.

Abstracts no longer than 300 words together with a short CV should be sent to: Well-founded panel proposals will also be considered. The deadline for proposals is January 31, 2017.

Meals during the conference will be provided. Travel costs and accommodation will not be covered.