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ACTiME-Approaching Cultural Trauma in Medieval Europe


ACTiME investigates collective memory and cultural trauma in late medieval European literature. For my stay in Aarhus I will focus on two Scandinavian case studies, each representing different eras and sources. The first case study focuses on the 13th century inner-Icelandic conflict termed the Sturlungaöld (Age of the Sturlungs), which saw unprecedented battles and casualties and contributed to Iceland’s subjugation by the Norwegian crown in 1262/4. This unrest will be viewed through Sturla Þórðarson’s Íslendinga saga, a prose text written in the vernacular at the late 13th century and chronicling the century’s struggle between warring Icelandic factions. Sturla Þórðarson’s text will be read as a manifestation of autobiographical memory, since he himself plays a key role in the saga. The second case study investigates the trauma caused by the 1402-1404 plague epidemic in Iceland; while Iceland evaded the mid-14th century pandemic that plagued Europe and other parts of Asia and Africa, a major outbreak of the plague occurred in the early 15th century. Since there is very little prose evidence for this era in Icelandic history, it allows for an exciting challenge; approaching the trauma of the epidemic through the diplomatic material, which chronicles the period in a manner more concise than the sagas about the 13th century. ACTiME applies observations from collective memory and cultural trauma, two fields of study that often intersect. Disability studies’ perspective on the body and health will be applied in these studies, examining how the mental and physical injuries sustained in these turbulent times were represented. Written in the periphery of continental Europe, Old Norse texts reflect a vernacular tradition that is at once singular, while exhibiting clear influences from other genres of literature. They make for a case study that allows for detailed localized research that in turn sheds light on broader intellectual and cultural impulses within Europe

Funding Scheme



Net EU contribution
€ 230 774,40
Nordre Ringgade 1
8000 Aarhus C

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Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
No data