Historical revisionsim – Uses of medieval history in Eastern and Central Europe

Nowadays, exploration historical revisionism is vital because many political regimes and ultraconservative movements in the region seek their inspiration from the Middle Ages. The narratives about this historical period are used for constructing modern national identities and inventing pseudohistorical instruments which aim to underpin and justify political decisions.

The general aims of the project include collecting textual and visual materials which provide instances of revisionism in history, its practices, strategies and purposes. At this stage, the project is predominantly concerned with the Hungarian and the Russian cases. Furthermore, the members of the project will also organize an exhibition in the Blinken OPen SOciety Archives during the autumn of 2024. There, the selected plots of uses of the past will be observed and analysed within their political, cultural and intellectual contexts.

Firstly, a broad variety of materials (visual, textual sources; historiography) is collected in an attempt to create a general database that will give a more or less sufficient overview of the field. 

Secondly, a selection from this broader collection of materials is prepared for the above mentioned exhibition on medievalism and historical revisionism.

The project is led by DI research affiliate and CEU professor Gábor Klaniczay who cooperates among others with Ferenc Kanyó junior research fellow whose research focuses on (mis/ab)uses of the medieval past in Hungarian media and popular science.

Gabor Klaniczay is University Professor at the Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Private University. He is also titulary professor at the Department of Medieval History of the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest. He is corresponding fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Paris. He also served as Rector of Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study, between 1997 and 2002. In 1989 he founded the review Budapesti Konyvszemle – BUKSZ, where he still serves on the editorial board; this review also had an Englis version Budapest Review of Books  between 1990 and 2003. His principal field as a historian is the historical anthropology of medieval Christianity (sainthood, miracle beliefs, stigmata, visions, healing, magic, witchcraft). He also deals with the modern uses and abuses of the Middle Ages, with phenomena of medievalism and politically biased memory politics. 

Ferenc Kanyó is a research fellow of the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church. He is a support teacher of a special collage for talented student called Károli Interdisciplinary Academy. He studied history archaeology at Eötvös Lóránd University. He is editor-in-chief of the Napi Történelmi Forrás (Daily Historical Resource). His main research interest is in medieval history of Budapest (special Óbuda) and pseudohistory of Hungarian prehistory, and medieval era of Hungary.