by Jeroen De Gussem & Klazina Staat (Ghent University)
RELICS was awarded a royal grant for the establishment of a Scientific Research Unit by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO)! The Scientific Research Unit (SRU), entitled “Literatures without Borders. A Historical-Comparative Study of Premodern Literary Transnationality” will allow RELICS to coordinate international collaboration for a period of 5 years (with possible extensions). The aim of the network is to strengthen the links between 16 research units (Flemish and international) through the funding of workshops (or seminars / webinars), conferences and publications. The research unit RELICS (Researchers of European Literary Identities, Cosmopolitanism and the Schools) will act as its core unit and will be responsible for the overall coordination of the endeavour. Grown out of the literary department at Ghent University, RELICS has in the meantime grown out to be an international, open and multidisciplinary network of scholars who share an interest for the dynamic role of Latin as a cosmopolitan literary and cultural language in Europe.
The focus of the SRU project is on premodern literatures after Antiquity with a transnational character and within the geographical boundaries encompassing North Africa, the Middle East and Europe: Latin, Byzantine Greek, Arabic and Hebrew-Yiddish-Ladino. In addition to the important question of how these four literatures came to be in contact with each other, four key questions were put forward in the project application:
- How do these literatures demonstrate —implicitly or explicitly— their awareness of their transnational function and their supralocal literary culture?
- Which literary-cultural actors were responsible for exercising this influence?
- In what ways is the transnational functioning of the four literatures reflected within and shaped by aesthetic and narrative tendencies?
- Can a conceptual framework be devised that better characterizes, defines, and understands premodern literary transnationalism?
The 16 involved partners are:
- RELICS (Ghent University)
- Institute for the Study of the Transmission of Texts, Ideas and Images in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance-LECTIO (Catholic University Leuven)
- Greek and Cultural Studies (Catholic University Leuven)
- Institute of Jewish Studies (University of Antwerp)
- East-Asian and Arabic Studies (Catholic University Leuven)
- Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings (VUB Brussels)
- Mamluk History and Culture (UGent)
- Centre for Medieval Literature (University of York and University of Southern Denmark)
- Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies (University of Amsterdam)
- Retracing Connections: Byzantine Storyworlds (Uppsala University)
- Islamolatina-La percepcion del Islam en la Europa latina (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
- TransLatin (Huygens Institute ING Amsterdam)
- Jewish Studies in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Open University of Israel)
- Arabic Language Networks from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (Durham University, UK)
- Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (University of Kent)
- Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Neulateinische Studien (Universität Innsbruck)
We are immensely grateful and look forward to the collaboration!