Conference: Medievalism, Public History, and Academia: the Re-creation of Early Medieval Europe, c. 400-1000


Medievalism, Public History, and Academia: the Re-creation of Early Medieval Europe, c. 400-1000

An International Conference at Malmö University
In Cooperation with Uppåkra Archaeology Centre
September 26-28, 2018

For many, history can be described as a living thing: current events are said to “make history”; new discoveries of documents or artefacts are said to re-write history, while many people are engaged in re-creating and reconstructing events and objects from the past. In all of these activities, the occasional tensions between the different actors often reflect the ambivalence of authenticity and authority within a grand historical narrative. Issues of who is in control of determining historical authenticity have long been debated. In the interpretation of historical processes, events, and individuals, the development of the academic right of expertise has long been seen as central.

However, recent efforts in the interpretation and re-creation of history have proven that this view is too narrow. For the general public, even the ownership of certain memories or being admitted to communities of remembrance is tangled up in the authority of history and a sense of belonging. Recently, these issues have begun to be addressed in critical heritage studies, medievalism, and experience history.

This conference aims to bring together those scholars and reenactors who engage or wish to engage with the juxtaposition of academic history, public history, and re-enacted or reconstructed history. The overarching thematic focus of this conference will engage with the question of historical authenticity and authority using a critical heritage approach. Papers should focus on thematic topics related to one or more of the following: re-creating history, imagining the past, interpretation, ambivalence of authenticity, authority of History, remembrance and memory, medievalism, and/or public history.

In conjunction with this conference, Uppåkra Archaeology Centre organized an event, Vendel Days in Uppåkra, 29-30 September 2018.

The following papers were presented at the Medievalism, Public History, and Academia conference. The content of many of these presentations will be made available via blog-posts on this portal.

Wednesday, September 26
Public History, Guiding, and Interpreting the Past

Opening remarks
Sara Ellis Nilsson, Stefan Nyzell, Thomas Småberg

Keynote: Paul Sturtevant, The Public Medievalist & the Smithsonian Institution
Making Medieval History Powerful and Meaningful without Losing your Soul (or Mind) in the Chaotic Contemporary Public Square

Keynote: Jane Malcolm-Davies, University of Copenhagen
Character or caricature? Evidence for the educational impact of costumed interpretation at heritage sites

Laura Fitzachary, Museum Educator & Guide, Dublin Castle, Ireland
Reimagining Medieval Dublin and the role of the Guide in Public History

Sara Ellis Nilsson, Malmö University
Communicating the past through craftsmanship and art: the case of the Viking ship

Thomas Småberg, Malmö University
The Long Viking Age: Perceptions of Time in Viking Age Exhibitions

Simon Trafford, University of London, UK
Hyper-masculinity vs Viking warrior women: pop culture Vikings and gender

Martin Lund, Malmö University
Mapping the Old Norse World in the Comics Imaginary

Thursday, September 27
Re-creating, constructing, and imagining the medieval

Irene Barbina, Associazione La Fara
Textile Reconstruction: a methodological approach

Paul Mortimer, Wulfheodenas
What colour a god’s eyes? An exploration of eye imagery on weapons, armour and ornaments mainly from 6th and 7th centuries in Northern Europe

Carolina Ask, In situ 3D
Public archaeology and 3D technology – examples and experiences

Peter Johnsson, Swordsmith 
Reflections of the sword

Hannes Napierala and Tillmann Marstaller in absentia. Campus Galli 
Constructing a reconstruction – planning and building a plausible ancestry of medieval buildings in Southern Germany

Andrea Freund, University of the Highlands & the Islands Orkney
Reclaiming the runes: challenges for 21st century runologists

Stefan Nyzell, Malmö University
Medievalist temporalities

Friday, September 28
Public archaeology, interpretations, and re-creations

Mari Wickerts, Gothenburg City Museum
Recreating Viking burials from Skändla – For Whom and Why? Presenting field-archaeology and local history while in search of a Viking Age farmstead

Gabriele Zorzi, Associazione La Fara
Lombards, latecomers of the Migration Period. A glimpse into archeological data and a risky trend