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Islands in the West (IITW)
Start date: 01 Oct 2014, End date: 30 Sep 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The project ""Islands in the West"" will present the first systematic study of the mythical islands of pre-Christian Europe: in a number of disciplines ranging from Scandinavian Studies to Classics, it has repeatedly been remarked that the mythological islands of Europe show striking similarities which might reflect far-reaching cultural contacts. Such remarks recur with great regularity, also in recent research contributions; this shows the widely interdisciplinary importance of the question. In spite of this, this topic has never been addressed by a dedicated study and the question is still not answered of whether these similarities in the mythical topography of Europe do indeed reflect processes of religious exchange. Nor has any attempt been made to determine what such processes could tell us about their social contexts and their importance in the life of people in early Europe. Recent methodological developments will now for the first time allow to address such questions on the basis of a methodology that is finding increasingly wide acceptance and which will make it possible to provide a methodologically well-founded and theoretically informed answer. The fellow is particularly suitable to tackle this task in the context of the IEF programme, as he has been a key contributor to the methodological developments which now permit to solve the question posed by the ""Islands in the West"". This topic has a particular importance for the ERA, as it addresses a prominent but so far neglected aspect of European cultural and religious history. It is of European-wide scale, reaching from Iceland to the Eastern Mediterranean, and should thus be addressed on a European level. It will have a scholarly impact both through its empirical results and through its methodological innovations. Beyond academia, the impact of its outreach activities will include the amendment of misconceptions about “Germanic” history created by the abuses of the term “Germanic” by NS-propaganda."
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