This project examines, from perspectives of rhetoric and the history of ideas, the construction of collective identities in the Swedish Baltic Empire during early-modern times. With theories and methods from the fields of rhetorical-linguistic and contextual identity-studies the two researchers shall analyze a common corpus of around 25 Latin orations from the area. The orations can be classified as belonging to the sub-genre laus urbium, i.e. a genre within the genus demonstrativum, with a history going back to the beginnings of rhetoric. Consequently, the genre has been theoretically treated through history in handbooks of rhetoric, but its practice has rarely been studied. The project proceeds from the hypothesis that rhetoric had a crucial role in the formation and expressions of identities during the period. Earlier research on identities in the region and period has generally been conducted on texts written in Swedish. This project will study texts of a common European genre, the praise of cities, written in the lingua franca of the time; these texts will therefore shed light on ideas and practices used in identity-formation even outside the region. The constructions of identities today in the Baltic Sea Region go back to times before Russian dominance, and utilizes conceptions of a community around the Baltic, ideas that in some respects echoes early-modern notions of identity. The research-project can consequently even illuminate identity-constructions of today.
|Final report - Annika Ström - Terra, patria, urbs. the construction of collective identities in the Swedish Baltic Empire during early-modern times|