About the project

Imagined Communities: Constructing Collective Identities in Medieval Europe – a project funded by the National Science Centre of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland, No. 2012/07/B/HS3/00912.

The purpose of this project is to examine various kinds of narratives (recorded in writing and painting) which shaped the collective identities in medieval Europe. However, the question of reality and historical truth depicted in the analysed sources is not regarded as the main concern of our research. The structures of interest in this work belong mostly to the phenomenon of the so-called “Imagined reality”. We are mainly interested in the way the sources were constructed regarding literary and social roles of the whole narration and its individual parts as well. There are relatively many examples for our analysis, so the selection focuses only on certain areas and specific narratives. The selection is based upon several presuppositions: the main point is that narratives should be socially representative and expressive. Another important criterion is the ability and area of expertise of those working on the project. We would like to consider diverse subjects – so besides an analysis of ethnic consciousness we are also concerned with dynastic and state identity. However, we do not exclude the matter of awareness of monastic, local, and professional communities. The scope of this research should also cover the issues of perception of non-biological tasks and roles of gender.

The project lasts three years (06.2013-06.2016) and consists of two parts.

The first stage includes creating analytical works, collecting research material from a broader range of scholars and discussions held during the conference in Lublin (16-18.10.2014). We do not impose on participants of this part of the project any strict discipline or methodological rigour. Publication of articles from the conference is planned for mid-2015.

Work on the project during its last two years requires close coordination of activities and regular contact between involved scholars. It will be carried out by the Main Contractors, indicated in the grant agreement. The final result of this collaboration will be a monograph. Its aim is to propose a general model, which in our opinion – that is a test hypothesis – controlled the shaping of narratives important for forming an order and team spirit in social bodies, and which explained the reasons for their existence, functions and defined their distinguishing features. We assume that from among the examined narratives, that have, of course, different forms and narrative structures, it is possible to find some common features stemming from their functional identity, in other words resulting from their similar role for the communities that authored them.