Dr. Ian Peter Grohse, Gastwissenschaftler
Forschungsprojekt der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
New to the North:
Discrimination and Inclusion in the Norse World ca. 1400-1500
Incorporating foreign immigrants into existing communities in the Late Middle ages, as today, was a complex issue with major ramifications for the host society. In Norse communities, the introduction of foreign ecclesiasts, civic officials and merchants generally broadened the bases for self- and group-identifications and poised communities for the sustained reception of foreign elements. But the contacts were not without their problems. A number of well-documented cases from the 15th century give account of acute and sometimes violent conflicts between 'locals' and 'foreigners', as well as the development of an outspoken policy of discrimination within certain Norse communities. Scholars have traditionally viewed these conflicts as expressions of a broad nativism and examined to reveal the pre-modern roots of Norwegian nationalism. In doing so, research has largely overlooked the modalities of successful immigration and inclusion. I propose that a different, more systematic approach to discrimination at local communal levels will uncover another dimension of foreign immigration. Examining the premises and processes of exclusion will further our understanding of inclusion by defining its limits. My project examines cases of opposition to foreigners and seeks to show how the causes, mechanisms and outcomes of these conflicts reflected contemporary ideals for interaction and naturalization.