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Resonating networks. Discursive, spatial and personal hubs of research paradigms in Old Norse studies (1650–1950)
Nachhallende Netzwerke. Diskursive, räumliche und personelle Knotenpunkte altnordistischer Forschungsparadigmen (1650–1950)
Project funding period: 1 December 2023 – 30 November 2026
The binational Weave-project (lead agency SNSF, partner agency DFG) “Resonating Networks” (“Nachhallende Netzwerke”), based at the University of Basel and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, aims to examine the origins, discursive constitution, and implications of research paradigms in Old Norse studies. With a methodological foundation in discourse analysis and network-theoretical approaches in the tradition of Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory (ANT), it will address how complex and interrelating networks of people, places, texts (both literary and mainly scholarly), and discourses have created Setzungen in the discipline that resonate profoundly in later generations of scholarship across national and linguistic boundaries and still influence recent research up to the present day. The project will study the establishment of central research paradigms and the cross-discursive relationships between these paradigms in Old Norse studies from the beginning of the discipline’s research history in the mid-17th century to the mid-20th century.
Four PhD theses and one Post Doc project will provide case studies of selected research paradigms, focusing on (P1) the protophilological beginning of textual criticism, (P2) the theorising and nationalistic discursivisation of the concept of myth before, during, and after the Romantic period, (P3) the national appropriation and reinterpretation of Icelandic oral tales in the construction of folktales, (P4) Konrad Maurer’s conceptualisation of the Freistaat, and (P5) Heusler’s notion of Germanic poetry. These five studies will be complemented by the research of the two Principal Investigators, who will analyse the concepts of (P6) authorship and (P7) genre as metaparadigms that resonate in the scholarly discourse of Old Norse studies in both synchronic and diachronic terms.
The project will not only make an important contribution to the history of discourse and networks in the international scientific community of Old Norse and Scandinavian medieval studies from the late premodern period to the mid-20th century. It will also provide insights into the synchronic and diachronic resonance of central research paradigms in the field of Old Norse studies, as well as demonstrate how these paradigms, in the sense of Setzungen, co-determine not only the discourses, but the objects of study themselves.
The project will closely cooperate with the archival institutions in Scandinavia, Germany and Switzerland who hold the estates of the scholars studied in this project. Four external project partners with renowned international expertise in different aspects pertaining to the project accompany the project work as advisors and contribute to the planned project workshops, conferences and publications.
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