The third international conference of the EXPRO project took place in Prague on 11-12 November 2021 under the title “Conflict after Compromise: Regulating Tensions in Multi-Confessional Societies in the Fifteenth Century”.
During the hybrid event, twelve on-site and three online papers were read by participants from Czech Republic, Lithuania, France, Germany Croatia, Romania, and Switzerland. During the conference, six researchers from the EXPRO project presented their research and delivered a paper.
The conference on “Radical Religious Communities in Premodern Societies”, sponsored by the EXPRO project jointly with the Hussite Museum, was held on 20-22 October 2021 in Tábor. During the hybrid event, twelve on-site and five on-line papers were read by participants from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. While the conference, postponed due to the pandemic, came too late to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the foundation of the radical revolutionary commune in Tábor, the participants were able, along with Tábor municipal authorities, to commemorate the extermination of the most radical Taborite sects in October 1421.
During the International Medieval Congress in Leeds (Climates; 5-9 July 2021, online), the EXPRO team sponsored and organised two panels. These two sessions (Diagnosing Crisis: Perceptions of Decay in Late Medieval Central Europe I-II), organised by CMS, aimed to explore the late medieval impression of crisis. The historiographical debate on the late medieval crisis has not reached a consensus on whether there was an economic and demographic depression in Central Europe around 1400. What, however, has emerged as evident is the general sense of decadence in late medieval society. The papers examined how medieval authors detected the symptoms of crisis, what discourses they used to expose them, and where they located the responsibility for the decline. Were these diagnoses intended to prevent conflict, or did they exacerbate them? These questions gain particular relevance when applied to periods of increased social, political, and religious turbulence, such as the Hussite Revolution and the polemics surrounding Conciliarism and the Papal Schism.
During the fourth biennale of MECERN in Gdansk (“Networks – Cooperation – Rivalry”; 7–9 April 2021, online), the EXPRO team participated with two panels and three individual papers. The two sessions organised by CMS aimed to explore medieval historiographic writing as an instrument of, and reflection on, contemporary conflicts (Dealing with Conflicts in Medieval Historiography I-II).
The first panel dealt with the constructed image of disputes in Central-European chronicles, from 10th century Saxony until 15th century Bohemia. The panel’s central question was to interrogate how conflicts among particular groups (nations or dynasties etc.) were processed on the discursive level. In it, Daniel Ziemann (CEU Budapest/Vienna) focused on the reflection of the conflict with “barbarians” at the eastern border of the German kingdom in the chronicle of Widukind; Arthur Pérodeau (Prague-Paris) focused on the chronicle of Cosmas, which he analysed as a mirror for bishops; Vojtěch Bažant (Prague) analysed the nationalistic features in the chronicle of the so-called Dalimil, which he tried to read outside of its historical context. The second session sponsored by CMS offered two papers on the same theme. Václav Žůrek (Prague) dealt with two chronicles written on the request of Emperor Charles IV and analysed how old conflicts were presented in them. The second speaker, Grischa Vercamer (Chemnitz), focused on how the conflict between Poland and the Teutonic Order was presented in contemporary German chronicles.
The third international conference of the EXPRO projct will be in Prague on 11-12 November 2021 under the title “Conflict after Compromise: Regulating Tensions in Multi-Confessional Societies in the Fifteenth Century”.
While the resolution of conflict in the Middle Ages has been a subject of intensive research over the past few decades, less attention has been devoted to the post bellum situation. Whether the conflict was resolved performatively (through ritual reconciliation, surrender, etc.), or formally via written reconciliation (increasingly the case in the late Middle Ages), we can suppose that the result rarely, if ever, satisfied all of the feuding parties. In conflicts that did not end with total annihilation of one party, the post-war constellation usually demanded some legitimizing explanation for internal as well as external purposes. Some measure of compromise was necessary for societal stability, though the path to this goal was far from self-evident, especially in ideological and religious conflicts.
The conference on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the foundation of Tábor was postponed to 20-22 October 2021. We look forward to welcoming in Tábor eighteen speakers from three continents.
Founded in February 1420, Tábor is just one—albeit in many respects an exceptional—example of a radical religious community. Born from millenarian expectations, Tábor underwent swift development, from a sectarian revolutionary commune to a military-political power within Hussitism and a properly established medieval town. In other cases like Florence, Zürich, Münster, Prague, and many more, religious radicalism settled into the pre-existing social and political structures of municipal communities, while other radical groups pursued a clandestine or secluded existence. This conference will deal with the religiously motivated group formation from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, focusing on movements and ideologies such as (but not limited to) Waldensianism, Wycliffism, Hussitism, spiritual Franciscanism, the radical Reformation, and various other utopic and religiously-inspired visions.
Unfortunately, the MECERN Congress in Gdańsk (April 2020) and the symposium on Radical Religious Communities in Tábor (September 2020) were postponed due to the COVID situation. Our researchers will participate in the postponed events, re-scheduled for the next year.
On December 5, 2019 the whole research team met in Brno at the Faculty of Arts to summarize the first year of work. All three research groups presented the progress in their research. We made a plan for the next year’s congresses.
The team participated in a workshop organized by CEU in Budapest, October 17–19, 2019. Pavel Soukup introduced the project From Performativity to Institutionalization. Vojtěch Bažant, Martin Pjecha and Václav Žůrek also presented their research.
We participated in the annual meeting of the CARMEN network in Prague, September 4–5, 2020. Pavel Soukup and Martin Pjecha introduced the project to the broader community of medievalists. Pavel Soukup also gave the keynote lecture on the subject of The Hussites as a Community in the Late Medieval Church.