PIMo Newsletter June 2023

Fresh off the back of a hugely successful Summer School, Conference and MC Meeting in Rabat, Morocco, the PIMo Core Group would like to share the latest updates about the ongoing work of our Cost Action in its final phase.

In this Newsletter, we are honoured to share a short text dedicated to the late Stefan Donecker, a committeed and enthusiastic member of the PIMo Management Committee from Austria, who sadly passed away on September 1 2022. We also include details of a forthcoming event that will be dedicated to his memory.

PIMo has maintained a rich and varied schedule of activities throughout the first half of 2023, the details of which we are delighted to share with you here.

Even as we approach the end date of our COST Action, we still have a busy schedule of forthcoming events, new publications to promote and a potential follow up project to expand on and further develop the valuable work PIMo has achieved. You can read about all of this below.

We thank you for your continued support and participation,

PIMo Core Group

In Memoriam: Dr Stefan Donecker
A Tribute by Dr Veronika Wieser

Our colleague and friend Stefan Donecker passed away on September 1, 2022 after a long, serious illness, a few weeks before he would have celebrated his 45th birthday.

From 1995 to 2003 Stefan studied history and Scandinavian studies at the Universities of Vienna and Umeå. In 2003 he received his master’s degree with distinction and wrote his thesis on the construction of national identity in Sweden. From 2005, he was a doctoral student at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, where he received his doctorate in 2010 on the topic of early modern hypotheses on the origin of the “un-German” Livonians.

After working in Greifswald and Konstanz, Stefan joined the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2012, initially with his Marie-Curie project “The ‘Germanic Migration of Peoples’ in Early Modern Historical Thought. Origins and Development of a Master Narrative of German Nationalism, 1500 –1830”.

In addition, and thereafter, he was involved in the institute’s large-scale projects, such as Walter Pohl’s ERC project SCIRE from 2015 onwards. In 2018, he started his research project “Ideas of Migration: Migration as an Artefact of Scholarly Thought”, funded by the Innovation Fund of the Austrian Academy, which he was able to complete well in 2021, already marked by the disease.

His areas of research were the intellectual and scholarly history of the early modern period, national and pre-national identity formation, northern and northeastern Europe (Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea region) during the early modern period, and the construction and cultural perception of “northernness”.

The latter has also interested him with regard to supernatural phenomena (witchcraft, werewolves) as well as he has dealt with the representation and fascination of the Middle Ages in modern media (such as medieval ruler genealogy in the series “Game of Thrones”). On all these topics, Stefan has made significant, even trend-setting contributions to the expansion of our knowledge – and has also managed to captivate and entertain his audience.

Stefan was a researcher and historian with heart and soul and at the same time he was a committed and inspiring university lecturer. In addition to his many years of teaching at the University of Vienna (since 2007), the University of Innsbruck and in Germany, he was also active in a number of societies, such as the Austrian-Estonian Society, of which he was secretary.

Apart from his outstanding achievements in science and teaching, Stefan was an enrichment for the Institute for Medieval Research through his friendly and cheerful personality – and far beyond, probably for all those who had the good fortune and privilege to get to know him better.

We have dedicated the recently published volume “Historiography and Identity V: The Emergence of New Peoples and Polities in Europe, 1000-1300”to Stefan.

He contributed an article on “Biblical Motifs and the Shaping of Ethnic Categories in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia” to it.

Veronika Wieser <Veronika.Wieser@oeaw.ac.at>

Upcoming Events

PIMo is delighted to announce the following events taking place this month.

Today, June 9th, the Department of Political Science at Sapienza Università di Roma will host an event entitled: “Forced to Flee: Migrazioni forzate nel Mediterraneo tra storia e rappresentazione.” This event, which builds on PIMo’s central goal of historicising the representation of migration flows from the Early Modern Period to the present day, will be dedicated to the memory of Dr Stefan Donecker. Full details here: https://www.peopleinmotion-costaction.org/test/forced-to-flee-migrazioni-forzate-nel-mediterraneo-tra-storia-e-rappresentazione-sapienza-universita-di-roma-june-9-2023/

Today also sees the hosting of a Working Group 2 Workshop in Florence on the subject of ‘Disconnected Histories’. This event will explore the limits of concepts of connection and the potential for articulating historical narratives around disconnection: https://www.peopleinmotion-costaction.org/test/disconnected-histories-wg2-workshop-university-of-florence-june-9th/

This will be followed by a workshop at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienne on June 15th exploring the incredibly rich theme of ‘Voices in Motion Audio Letters as ‘Sonic Memory Objects’ in Migration Processes’. Full details here: https://www.peopleinmotion-costaction.org/test/voices-in-motion-audio-letters-as-sonic-memory-objects-in-migration-processes-june-15-vienna/ 

Finally, the University of Florence will host a fascinating event on June 22nd entitled ‘‘Dancing for Peace: Vernon Lee’s Ballet of the Nations’. Using the pacifist writer Vernon Lee’s drama The Ballet of the Nations as a point of departure, the event will explore the intersections of migration, conflict, self-representation and cultural modes of resistance. Full details here: https://www.peopleinmotion-costaction.org/test/dancing-for-peace-vernon-lees-ballet-of-the-nations-university-of-florence-june-22-2023/

As ever, the PIMo website will de updated with new events as they come on stream. Please continue to consult the site so you can stay abreast of all our planned activities.

Rabat: Summer School, Conference and MC Meeting

PIMo was delighted to host its final Summer School, Annual Conference and MC meeting in at the Netherlands Institute in Morocco (NIMAR) at the end of May. We are very grateful to our hosts at the NIMAR who extended such a warm welcome to us. We are also extremely grateful to Cátia Antunes and Nadia Bouras for all the hard work they put into making these events so successful. Their effort and that of the team they led was clear to see both in the intellectual quality and ethical fibre that ran through the whole week of events.

The Summer School brought together a range of excellent doctoral researchers and early career researchers and linked them both with PIMo trainers and local community groups in Rabat for the co-production of research and the sharing of skills. We were blown away by both the dedication of the participants and the quality of the work they produced. Our gratitude goes to Cátia, Nadia, Marta Bucholc, all the organisers, trainers, partners, and, most especially, to the participants who made this such a special event.

The Summer School was followed by an extremely rich conference on the theme of ‘Crossings’, with papers historicising and problematising migratory patterns in the broad Mediterranean space. The participants of the Summer School were able to showcase their broader research and the excellent projects they co-produced with local activists. It was also fantastic to see speakers from our partners in the Horizon 2020 project ITHACA. Thanks to the commitment of our organisers, the attendees were also able to meet with local activists, including the migrant rights organisation GADAM, to learn about contemporary questions of migration in Morocco.

The week was rounded out with the final MC meeting of the PIMo project on Saturday May 27. We opened with a fascinating lecture from Prof Kenza Oumlil of Al Akhawayn University and the ITHACA project on ‘Media Narratives of Sub-Saharan Women Migrants in Morocco’. This was followed by presentations from each of the Working Group leaders, giving an account of the quantity, quality, and variety of the activities of PIMo over the duration of the project. We also had reports from the Science Communication Officer and the Training Schools Officer on their contribution as well as an engaging reflection from Vice-Chair Katrina O’Loughlin on the cultural, intellectual, and political work realised through PIMo. Our Action Chair Giovanni Tarantino gave a rich and engaging account of the operation of the project in sometimes challenging circumstances, highlighting PIMo’s exceptional productivity and the enduring nature of the bonds of collaboration it has fostered. A clear example of this was provided when Viviana Tagliaferri from the ITHACA project addressed the meeting, exploring potential avenues of cooperation into the future. We rounded out the event with a broad discussions of the lessons we have drawn from PIMo, some of the obstacles we have encountered and the many ways in which we plan to build on the work done in this project into the future. The minutes will shortly be available on the PIMo website.

This was a fitting series of events to begin to round out the final phase of the PIMo project. We are grateful to all participants and especially to those who made it possible.

Other PIMo Updates

Although PIMo is entering its final phase, our work continues apace. We are delighted that the campaign to add the Simón Ruiz Archive to the UNESCO World Memory Register, in which PIMo played an important role, has been successful. You can find out more about the archive here: https://artsandculture.google.com/story/twVxZowbF0ML_A

We are also very excited that a new proposal developed by key members of the PIMo team has been successful in the first stages of the Cost Innovators Grant Scheme process. MED Sound: Negotiating, Performing, Mapping, Sound Memories from the Mediterranean is an exciting proposal that combines digital humanities and sonic cultural praxis to open new means not just of mapping migrant stories but also of empowering migrants to shape their own narratives. We hope this bid, which clearly builds on PIMo’s work, is successful.

PIMo congratulates Stefan Hanss, an active member of our project, both on the publication of his new monograph Narrating the Dragoman’s Self in the Veneto-Ottoman Balkans, c. 1550–1650 and on on the granting of Open Access funding by Knowledge Unlatched to The Habsburg Mediterranean, 1500-1800, a collection he edited with Dorothea McEwan and that was published under the auspices of PIMo.

We would also like to share this free access website, directed by  PIMo member Patrizia Guarnieri of the University of Florence: Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy. This work in progress  tells the life stories – with maps, photos, timelines- of scholars, students, and professionals from all fields who decided to leave and to work and live abroad for “political or racial reasons.”  Not only Italians, they were mostly Jews, but also antifascists. See the open list of about 400 names, at https://intellettualinfuga.com/en/alphabetical_listFor those interested in collaborating, contact patrizia.guarnieri@unifi.it

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the latest contributions to the excellent Visual Reflections series edited by the ever-brilliant Paola von Wyss-Giacosa. These engaging texts represent a vital output of PIMo and are extremely useful as pedagogical tools. You can consult them here: Visual Reflections

We remain, as ever, extremely grateful to all our PIMo members for their engagement and participation in our activities. We still have plenty of exciting events and collaborations planned for the months to come, so please keep an eye on the website and don’t hesitate to get in touch,

The PIMo Core Group