Do, 24.03.2022 – 26.03.2022

Golden Years for the Dark Ages

International Symposion in Honour of Walter Pohl

The Transformation of early Medieval Studies
since ca 1980



The event takes place exclusively in presence.
In order to participate, please register here:



In the 1990s, an international and interdisciplinary network emerged, uniting scholars whose individual and collective contributions have shaped and transformed the study of early medieval history in Europe and North America. The last decades were a highly creative period in the study of the transformation of the Roman World and of Early Medieval Europe. The Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, founded in 1998, under the directorship of Walter Pohl became an important hub in this international network. 

Walter Pohl’s recent retirement, therefore, presents a suitable opportunity to look back and reflect on this exciting research experience, and to discuss how to preserve this momentum after most members of what has been called a ‘golden generation’ in early medieval studies have retired. We are holding a conference in Walter Pohl's honour, bringing together scholars of this generation with scholars of a younger generation. Our goal is to reflect on the directions that have been established over the last decades, as well as on perspectives for future research on Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. What has been accomplished? What has been overlooked, underemphasized, or omitted? Which approaches have proved useful and which less so?  Have there been roads not taken or ones not sufficiently travelled and explored? What new challenges, chances and opportunities are there for the study of the period in the 21st century? And what role can the Institute for Medieval Research play in this field?

The conference will be held in a slightly unorthodox format. We will have six sections (with two sessions each) on the three days, each dedicated to a specific theme. The six working groups have prepared ‘their’ respective sections as a team over the last few months. Each working group will present the results of its discussions on problems, open questions, opportunities and future perspectives in short statements of about ten minutes each, leaving us ample time for further discussion.


Programme    |    PDF


THURSDAY, 24 March, Theatersaal


Empires in transition: The Transformation of the Roman World


Kate Cooper | Royal Holloway University of London
Ian N. Wood | University of Leeds


Stefano Gasparri | Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Uta Heil | Universität Wien
Salvatore Liccardo | Universität Wien
Danuta Shanzer | Universität Wien
Paolo Tedesco | Universität Tübingen
Roland Steinacher | Universität Innsbruck
Veronika Wieser | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften


 Imperial particularities: the Carolingian empire and its alternatives


Leslie Brubaker | University of Birmingham
Mayke de Jong | Universiteit Utrecht


Stuart Airlie | University of Glasgow
Shane Bobrycki | Universität Wien
Maximilian Diesenberger | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Clemens Gantner | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Régine Le Jan | Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Rutger Kramer | Radboud Universiteit
Steffen Patzold | Universität Tübingen
Karl Ubl | Universität Köln    

friDAY, 25 March, Theatersaal


Back to the future. New (?) directions in text and manuscript studies


Rosamond McKitterick | University of Cambridge
Irene van Renswoude | Universiteit van Amsterdam


Richard Corradini | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Peter Erhart | Stiftsarchiv Sankt Gallen
Cinzia Grifoni | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Yitzhak Hen | Israel Institute for Advanced Study
Rob Meens | Universiteit Utrecht
Jan Odstrčilík/Leon Pürstinger | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Matthias M. Tischler | Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Carine van Rhijn | Universiteit Utrecht


 New bricolages: the transition of disciplinary boundaries


Falko Daim | Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz und Universität Wien
John Haldon | Princeton University


Csanád Bálint | Ungarische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Irene Barbiera | Università di Padova
Wendy E. Davies | University College London
Bonnie Effros | The University of British Columbia
Patrick J. Geary | Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Matthias Hardt | GWZO Leipzig
Bendeguz Tobias | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Przemysław Urbańczyk | Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw

 saturDAY, 26 March, Seminar Room


Why (not) identity: historicizing structures of identification


Stefan Esders | Freie Universität Berlin
Gerda Heydemann | Freie Universität Berlin


Francesco Borri | Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Ann Christys | University of Leeds
Albrecht Diem | Syracuse University
Wolfgang Haubrichs | Universität des Saarlandes
Helmut Reimitz | Princeton University
Maria Cristina La Rocca | Università di Padova
Pavlína Rychterová | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Bernd Schneidmüller | Universität Heidelberg und Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften


Changing scales: approaches to local and global histories across Eurasia


Claudia Rapp | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Universität Wien
Conrad Leyser | University of Oxford


Hugh N. Kennedy | School of Oriental and African Studies in London
Bernhard Palme | Universität Wien
Johannes Preiser-Kapeller | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Philipp von Rummel | Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
Sandra Wabnitz | Universität Wien
Chris Wickham | University of Oxford
Bernhard Zeller | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften


Concluding Remarks

Walter Pohl | Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Universität Wien




24-26 March 2022
Start: 9:00 a.m. CET

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Sonnenfelsgasse 19,
1010 Vienna

Seminar Room
Hollandstraße 11-13, 1st floor,
1020 Vienna

Opening of the Symposion
on 23 March 2022

⇒ Programme & Registration Opening

subject to change