Research Platform Early Modern Period

“Figurations of the Nation in in the Early Modern Period” is a research platform at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. This platform is an interdisciplinary association of researchers exploring the processes of nation building, starting with the early stages in the late Middle Ages and ending around the beginning of the 19th century. In contrast to the national and nationalist narratives of the 19th and 20th centuries, premodern nation building is not perceived as a linear, one-dimensional process. Rather, the aim is to take into greater account the plurality of complementary and at times competing affiliations and means of identification, characteristic of this period.

Within individual projects, the elements, structures, and figurations of the nation will be analyzed in their complex interactions between

  • theoretical concepts
  • political practices
  • artistic-cultural (re-)presentations.

Nationalism Studies, which up until now have been primarily influenced by history and sociology, will be critically revised, differentiated and expanded on from a cultural historical perspective, with a new focus on sources and genres, especially literary and translation studies, theology and religion history, as well as musicology and art history.

The underlying assumption is that reflections and notions, which began to emerge in the late Middle Ages, were significantly influenced, if not shaped, by the specific cultural characteristics of religion, literature, and music as well as by objects and performative forms of expression.

A comparative analysis of different European countries and territories as well as non-European powers and regions, such as the Ottoman Empire or the formerly colonized territories, will address these issues.

The development of digital knowledge transfer and collaboration will play a vital role.

The research platform “Figurations of the Nation in in the Early Modern Period” is part of the “Forschungsinitiative des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz” by the Ministry of Science, Professional Development, and Culture Rhineland Palatinate. It has been a high-potential research area of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, since 2019.