My main research interest is the long history and theory of ethnicity, nationhood and nationalism. At BRIHC, I will pursue two individual research projects. The first one is focused on the interplay between urban and ethnic identities across Western, Central and Eastern Europe in the central middle ages. Its key goals are a) to question the conceptual divide between ‘the ethnic’ and ‘the civic’; b) to use the complexity and contradictions in medieval categories to criticise the conceptual apparatus and theories we are using today to understand collective identities in the past and in the present; and c) to examine the construction and reproduction of medieval identities in the material reality of urban politics and social organisation.
While this research project is thematically connected to my thesis, my second research project originates in my work on the Jagiellonians project at Oxford. It will be focused on ‘dynasty’ as a concept. Historians take ‘dynasty’ for granted and treat it as an unproblematic term that adequately describes a really existing and allegedly very significant institution of medieval politics. In this project, I intend to overturn this assumption and demonstrate that ‘dynasty’ as a term and as concept is actually a modern invention. ‘Dynasty’ may not tell us much about familial and political aspects of medieval power structures, but it was central to re-thinking political and historical vocabulary and ideology in the early modern and, especially, in the modern periods. At BRIHC, I will start writing a book provisionally titled ‘The Modern Invention of Dynasty’, which will trace the history of ‘dynasty’ as a political and historical concept from the late sixteenth to the twenty first centuries.
In addition to these individual projects, I am working on two collective enterprises: first, a project on the long-term reproduction of ethnicity and nationhood, bringing together scholars of pre-modern and modern collective identities; second, a working group on historical political economy and historical materialism.