The origins of the Centre
An interdisciplinary approach
The Nordic and Old English studies at the University of Silesia can already boast their own history. Since its onset, our research has been carried out in cooperation with international scholars and it has been interdisciplinary in its character. The members of the Centre have worked on a range of topics that are relevant to multifaceted perspectives on Nordic and Old English history, and also on other more general issues, such as the evolution of the ideology of royal power, the status of poets and their poetry, the role and status of women in medieval societies, medieval social standards, the history of emotions, the cultural importance and the symbolism of the discourse of the body in history.
The above issues have featured as the focal points of numerous international conferences organised by the CBNS staff at the University of Silesia as well as of the conferences organized in cooperation with our partners (including the Andrzej Kaube Regional Museum in Wolin, Poland). Our conferences, attended by specialist researchers from Poland and abroad, include:
- Kryptohistorie / Cryptohistories, Sosnowiec, October 2013;
- HistoRisus: Laughter in/of History, Sosnowiec, October 2014;
- Aspects of Royal Power in the Medieval North, Katowice, February 2016;
- The 1st Jómsborg Conference. Defining and Applying Social Norms in Medieval Scandinavia, Wolin, April 2017;
- Corpus HistoricUS: The Body in/of History, Sosnowiec, June/July 2017;
- Viking Women Seminar, Katowice, March 2018;
- Emotions: The Engines of History, Sosnowiec, November 2018;
- Gendering Viking Age Rulership, Katowice, March 2019;
Publications and guest lectures
The research conducted at the Centre and the proceedings of the conferences we have organised have been published in several scholarly publications authored and edited by the CBNS staff. Our publications include:
- Borysławski, R., The Old English Riddles and the Riddlic Elements of Old English Poetry, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004
- Borysławski, J. Jajszczok, J. Wolff, A. Bemben (ed.), HistoRisus. Historie śmiechu / śmiech [w] historii, Katowice, 2016
- Borysławski, J. Jajszczok, J. Wolff, A. Bemben (eds.), Histories of Laughter and Laughter in History. HistoRisus, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2016
- Morawiec J., Między poezją i polityką. Rozgrywki polityczne w Skandynawii xi wieku w świetle poezji ówczesnych skaldów [Between poetry and politics. Political games in the 11th century Scandinavia in light of the contemporary skalds’ poetry], Katowice 2016
- Morawiec, R. Borysławski (eds.), Aspects of Royal Power in Medieval North, Katowice, February 2018;
- Morawiec, A. Jochymek, G. Bartusik (eds.), Social Norms in Medieval Scandinavia, Leeds-Amsterdam 2019
Since 2015, on the initiative of the CBNS staff and within the framework of the Old Norse Forum of the University of Silesia, we have organised a series of guest lectures, with invited scholars from leading research centres as well as early career researchers from Europe and beyond. So far, over 20 guest lectures and workshops presented by speakers from countries such as Iceland, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Finland, the USA, and Argentina have been organised.
International exchange programmes
Between 2014 and 2017, the University of Silesia, in cooperation with the universities in Iceland and Norway, participated in the Higher Education Student and Staff Mobility programme which was funded by the so-called Norway Grants (the EEA grants). Under the auspices of the programme, undergraduate students, PhD students, and academic staff were able to complete a semester of studies or take part in research placements in Iceland and Norway. The programme also allowed us to organise extracurricular university courses (lectures and classes), seminars, and workshops taught by specialists from our partner universities.
Science communication and academic outreach
Since 2014, the Centre has closely cooperated with the Slavs and Vikings’ Centre in Wolin, Poland (Centrum Słowian i Wikingów Wolin-Jomsborg-Vineta). Our cooperation has included the organisation of lectures, workshops, and book promotions as part of the “Reading Zone” at the annual Festival of Slavs and Vikings in Wolin. Moreover, for many years, the staff of the CBNS have been invited as guest lecturers and speakers to secondary schools in our region and to the University of the Third Age in Zabrze.