Archaeologia Maris Baltici et Septentrionalis

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Winter school ‘Hanseatic History as Regional History’

Winterschule

On 20.-25. February 2012 a Winter School on “Hanseatic History as Regional History” was hosted by the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald. Historians dedicated to Hanseatic history and a number of archaeologists flocked together to this event, which started with a series of conventional lectures by the most distinctive scholars in this field and followed by more informal sessions of student exchange. Even more so than archaeologists, historians are fixated on the exact and holistic definition of terms and methodological approaches, so – to untrained ears – the generically sounding “regional history” encompassed in fact quite an oppositional approach to other histories and was – not surprisingly – also intertwined with the topical issues of today, like the current political landscape of the European Union of regions rather than nation states. Although I tend to be suspicious whenever politics (and selective funding) tend to influence the narrative, in the case of the Hanseatic League this approach is absolutely justified. Also in archaeological terms, it was deemed difficult to associate material culture explicitly to a  ”Hanseatic identity”. The general tone of the debate suggested that it was by no means a homogeneous identity at all, but largely bound to regional traditions, naturally often stemming from the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, but not exclusively so. For a more detailed report on the papers, please visit this website.

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