Endemic social practices and autochthonous medieval texts

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Lancaster Literacy Research Centre are delighted to welcome Hervin Fernandez Aceves to discuss 'De-embedding social practices from texts'

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This Lancaster Literacy Research Centre event will be a talk from Hervin Fernandez Aceves, titled 'Endemic social practices and autochthonous medieval texts: the charters and condaghes of Sardinia’ .


For centuries Sardinia was nominally part of the Byzantine empire, but it became ever more isolated from the regions around it. By the late 1000s, its four independent ‘kingdoms’ – giudicati – developed as unique polities in the western medieval Mediterranean. Still little is known of the island’s socio-political dynamics during this period of apparent autonomy, except that they were unusual and precocious. It is noteworthy, despite the uncertainty, that Sardinia’s rulers developed their own local expression of social control: the production of the earliest vernacular diplomatic documents in Europe. The Sardinian charters that have survived both in external archives across the Mediterranean and in the dioceses of Cagliari, together with their own native version of a cartulary – the condaghes –, provide a fascinating insight into the Sardinian textual practices up to the twelfth century. Due to the lack of alternative local textual sources, including chronicles or any other kind of autochthonous narrative account, the actual extent of the cultural peculiarity and social implications of Sardinia’s autonomy in this period can only begin to be understood through the description and analysis of these legal and transactional documents – including their accompanying paratextual elements, such as seals and marginalia.

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17:00pm - Welcomes & introductions (please enter the meeting with your 'real' name as your display name, and your camera switched on, to allow us to all put faces to each others' names)

17:05 - Presentation from Speaker Name(s) (please turn your camera off and mute your microphone during the presentation)

17:40 - Discussion (please use the raise hand feature on Teams to indicate you would like to have a turn speaking and once asked to speak by an event facilitator, please un-mute your microphone and turn your camera on)

Presenter bio:

Hervin Fernández-Aceves is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Lancaster. He was educated at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), at the Central European University and at the University of Leeds. He has been an Overseas Fellow of the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) and a Rome Awardee at the British School at Rome. His research interests lie in the intersection of relational sociology, Mediterranean history and medieval studies. His first monograph was published last year, drawing on his doctoral research on the nobility of the Norman kingdom of Sicily. He is currently carrying out research on medieval Sardinia's society and its autochthonous textual practices, as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Power, society, and (dis)connectivity in medieval Sardinia'.

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