Mittwoch, 30. Oktober 2019, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Geschichte am Mittwoch

Emma Hagström Molin (Uppsala): The Provenance of History. Sources and Origin(s) in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Hörsaal 30 (HS) im Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien


Moderation: Patrick Fiska mit zusätzlichem Kommentar von Sebastian Felten


My paper sets out to discuss the emergence and meanings of provenance research through one case; the collecting of sources made by Moravian historian and Benedictine priest Beda Dudík in Stockholm and Rome during the early 1850s. Through two journeys, Dudík researched material that had been abducted from Bohemia and Moravia by Swedish field marshals during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). At first glance, provenance research seems to have emerged due to the rise of archives and national history in post-Napoleonic Europe. Dudík, however, representing a Habsburg region with a strong Catholic identity that relied on sources abroad, allows me to unravel the local qualities and transnational dependencies in provenance, as well as its religious connotations. Following recent theorizations made by art historians, I understand provenance as a process where origin is determined through practices of identification, and as such, is sensitive to epistemic, spatial, and temporal changes. The looted manuscripts that Dudík worked with were in fact interpreted as Austrian, Czech, Bohemian, Swedish, Moravian, as well as being of royal, or Benedictine, origin, depending on who classified them, when, and where this was done. My concluding remark will therefore stress that while provenance gave identity and value to sources, and thus enabled certain historical claims, its instability could simultaneously undermine the same. This force, then, is essential to historiography and its theory.


Zur Vortragenden:

Emma Hagström Molin earned her PhD in history of ideas, for a study of seventeenth-century spoils of war in Swedish collections. Her postdoc-project deals with the emergence of provenance research in nineteenth-century Europe; mainly through the work of Moravian historian Beda Dudík. She is currently a postdoc at the department for the history of science and ideas at Uppsala University in Sweden.


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Institut für Geschichte


Martina Fuchs
Institut für Geschichte