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International conference - Myths in south-eastern European textbooks

Call for Papers

Conference venue: Tirana, Albania
Period: October 22-24, 2014
Deadline for submitting abstracts: March 30, 2014


This conference is organised by the Georg Eckert Institute in cooperation with the department of history at the faculty of history and philology of University of Tirana, aims to highlight myths and their potential for creating conflict and to provide a forum for discussions regarding their role in history teaching.

Heroes and myths have fascinated humanity since antiquity and they shape our view of history. They can function as screens onto which territorial and national demands are projected. Myths can be created from both characters and events from history that are deemed memorable by a society. The prevailing narrative of the hero or the myth generally bears little relation to the person as they existed or the event as it actually occurred.
South-eastern European historical sciences are frequently moulded by national constructs of myths and heroes, which, in turn, have an effect on the narratives in history textbooks. This allows the legitimisation of a nationalistic world view and can be a catalyst for conflict within “multi-ethnic” societies and even between the individual states of a region.

Eligible topics

The conference will feature three panels in which the following aspects of the topic can be addressed in more detail

I. Historic figures become mythical heroes

  • What relationship exists between the real, historical figure and the portrait of the hero?
  • What role does the construction of national heroes fulfil?
  • What conflicts can be caused by the nationalisation of historic figures?
  • How are heroes generally presented?
  • How can historical figures become common south-eastern European heroes? In what ways can they conquer boundaries and offer trans-national (not only trans-state) reference points?

II. Historical events as a foundation for myths

  • How are historical events explained and transfigured at a national level?
  • What function does the mythicisation of these events serve?
  • What can be learned about a society from its myths?
  • How are historical events presented and rendered?

III. Myths and heroes in south-eastern European history textbooks

  • Which heroes are addressed in history textbooks?
  • What purpose do the mythological tales serve?
  • What contribution can textbooks and school lessons make to demythologising history?

The conference language will be English and the presentations will last 15-20 minutes. Speakers travelling from outside Tirana may apply for a subsidy to cover travel and accommodation expenses.

Guidelines for submission

The application for the conference should include: Presentation title and abstract (approx. 500 words), short curriculum vitae, affiliation and contact information. Please submit your application in English (in word or rtf format) to Claudia Lichnofsky by 30.03.2014


Information & contacts

Claudia Lichnofsky
Georg Eckert Institute


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