University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Slavonic Studies > Friends, Enemies, Kin: Constructing Kinship Webs and Situational Kinship Networks in Medieval Eastern Europe

Friends, Enemies, Kin: Constructing Kinship Webs and Situational Kinship Networks in Medieval Eastern Europe

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Problematizing the idea of the nation-state read back into the past, modern ideas of ethnicity, and even the common methods of utilizing terminology for medieval clans and families, leaves a discursive lacuna. What is left are largely individuals, set loosely into a family structure; but a new kind of structure in which individual identities and families are tracked bilaterally and all of the various parameters of influence and history are considered. This talk will place those individuals into a further interpretive framework, utilizing two new categories of discourse: the kinship web and situational kinship networks. These concepts create a structure for individual behavior and action that can be used for the analysis of events in medieval eastern Europe in particular, but throughout the medieval world as well.

Bio: Christian Raffensperger is an Associate Professor of History at Wittenberg University. The broad aim of his work is the integration of medieval eastern Europe into the larger medieval European world. His first two books (Reimagining Europe: Kievan Rus’ in the Medieval World (2012) and Ties of Kinship: Genealogy and Dynastic Marriage in Kyivan Rus’ (2016)) have focused specifically on the kingdom of Rus’, and its place in Europe. While forthcoming works look more broadly at rulership, titulature, and governance in medieval Europe, and medieval eastern Europe specifically.

This talk is part of the Slavonic Studies series.

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