NWO Internationalisation in the Humanities grant for dr. Maria Boletsi
The project aims to explore the history of the concept “barbarism” in Europe from the 18th century to the present. Responding to the contemporary popularity of the term “barbarism” in political rhetoric and the media, and the lack of reflection on the implications and legitimacy of its use, the project will contribute to a historically grounded understanding of its past and contemporary uses. It will also foreground this concept’s foundational role in modern European history and identity, which has not been adequately acknowledged.
This NWO project sets up a collaboration between Leiden University (Dr. Maria Boletsi), The University of Geneva (Porf. Dr. Markus Winkler), and Bonn University (Prof. Dr. Christian Moser). Besides these partners, the project also engages a large network of researchers from different countries and universities, which will also contribute in different ways. The project is directly related to an overarching research project led by Prof. Markus Winkler (Geneva) and funded by the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation).
Interdisciplinary study of barbarism
Poster of Barbarism Revisited conference (2012)
The collaboration will result in a monograph in English: a comparative, interdisciplinary study of the concept’s modern European history, with emphasis on the role of literature and art in the concept’s shifting functions.
The project will center on crucial turning points in the history of this concept: reversals of the civilized/barbarian opposition, semantic shifts, critiques, positive revaluations, and resignifications of “barbarism.”
“Barbarism” will be explored in
- aesthetic contexts (literature, visual art, film, music),
- scholarly contexts (historiographical, anthropological, and ethnological scholarship from the 18 th to the early 20 th century, and contemporary cultural theory),
- political rhetoric and the media.
The intersections of these fields in various European national and cultural contexts will be explored based on the partners’ specializations.
The collaboration will also lead to a possible follow-up project, which will expand this project with the inclusion of, for example, non-Western perspectives.