Collective Identities and Ethnogenesis

This workshop wants to examine the links between the two notions of identity and ethnogenesis, the formation of distinct ethnic groups. It will search for the strategies behind the shaping of collective identities, such as narratives of common heritage, (pseudo-) religious constructions of communities, and many others that were or are used at the base and core of processes of ethnogenesis.

In Europe, the classic period of ethnogenesis lies in late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, a time in which the foundations were made for many medieval kingdoms and the modern states that would develop out of them. In the course of history, ethnogeneseis, to use the plural, can be found in various contexts throughout the centuries: beginning with the integration of new regions (e.g. Hungary, Scandinavia, the Crusader states) into the European culture area in medieval times, and ending with the formation of states in the 20th century (Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, GDR).

Especially in the latter cases, one could also ask why identity formation and ethnogenesis did not or did only partlysucceed. To avoid a Eurocentric perspective, other examples from all regions and times might be used as well (in Antiquity: India, Egypt, China and others; in modern times: USA, Australia, the states of postcolonial Africa, etc.)

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