Klaus Oschema How Does Medieval Historians' Use of the Notion of 'Europe' Compare to Its Use in the Middle Ages?

Klaus Oschema was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg. Between 2009 and 2014, he was a member of the Young Academy Berlin-Brandenburg. Currently, Oschema is on research leave at the Princeton ‘Institute of Advanced Studies’ (USA). Oschema has published and taught extensively on matters of medieval society, particularly on the social structures of the aristocracy and imaginations of ‘Europe’. In his latest monograph, Oschema takes a critical stance on the historical analysis of the concept of ‘Europe’, arguing that the discursive use of ‘Europe’ by medieval societies needs to be reexamined.

Area of Research

Cultural and Intellectual History of the High and Late Middle Ages, Courts and Nobility, Idea of Europe in the Middle Ages and in Medieval Studies, Meta-Concepts Of World-Order in the Middle Ages, Concepts and Forms of Social and Political Organization in the Middle Ages, Astrologers as Experts in the Middle Ages

Klaus Oschema. Freundschaft und Nähe im spätmittelalterlichen Burgund. Studien zum Spannungsfeld von Emotion und Institution. Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2006.  
Klaus Oschema, Christina Andenna, Gert Melville and Jörg Peltzer (Eds.). Die Performanz der Mächtigen. Rangordnung und Idoneität in höfischen Gesellschaften des späten Mittelalters. Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 2015.  
Klaus Oschema. "Ein Karl für alle Fälle – Historiographische Verortungen Karls des Großen zwischen Nation, Europa und der Welt." In Europäische Erinnerung als verflochtene Erinnerung. Vielstimmige und vielschichtige Vergangenheitsdeutungen jenseits der Nation, edited by Gregor Feindt, Félix Krawatzek, Daniela Mehler, Friedemann Pestel and Rieke Trimçev. Göttingen: V& R unipress, 2014: 39-62.  
Klaus Oschema. "Blood-Brothers: A Ritual of Friendship and the Construction of the Imagined Barbarian in the Middle Ages." Journal of Medieval History 32 (2006): 275-301.  

since 2015

Adjunct Professor of Medieval History

Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)


Associate Professor of Medieval History

Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)


Acting Professor of Medieval History

Goethe University of Frankfurt (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)


Head of Research Project “Images of Europe in the Middle Ages”

University of Bern (Universität Bern)


Lecturer in Medieval History

Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)


Lecturer in Medieval History

University of Bern (Universität Bern)



Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University



Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

Thesis "Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter"


PhD in Medieval History

École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris and Technical University of Dresden, Germany

Thesis "Freundschaft und Nähe im spätmittelalterlichen Burgund. Studien zum Spannungsfeld von Emotion und Institution"


Magister Artium in Medieval History, Philosophy and English

University of Bamberg (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg)

- Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO, Paris)

- The Medieval History Journal

- Viator

- Centre Européen d’Études Bourguignonnes

- German Association of Historians (“Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands”)

- German Association of Medievalists (“Mediävistenverband”)

- Swiss Historical Society (“Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Geschichte”)


- Member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University

- Election as member of the German Young Academy (“Die Junge Akademie”) (Berlin) for a five- year term (2009)


- Award of the Berne Centre of Medieval Studies for Young Medievalists

The research presented in this video shows the need to reflect precisely the analytical notions and frameworks used when looking at medieval societies, and the limitations of reference to history when tackling contemporary questions. Some of the main findings of the comparative analysis of modern and medieval concepts of Europe conducted by KLAUS OSCHEMA are that ‘Europe’ and ‘Christianity’ were not used synonymously in the medieval ages and that modern historical research on Europe is often inspired by contemporary needs and influences.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10069

Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter

  • Klaus Oschema
  • Mittelalter-Forschungen
  • Published in 2013
Klaus Oschema. Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter. Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 2013.

Medieval Europe – Object and Ideology

  • Oschema, Klaus; Pinheiro, Teresa; Cieszynska, Beata; Franco, José Eduardo
  • Ideas of / for Europe. An Interdisciplinary Approach to European Identity
  • Published in 2012


Klaus Oschema. "Medieval Europe – Object and Ideology." In Ideas of / for Europe. An Interdisciplinary Approach to European Identity, edited by Teresa Pinheiro, Beata Cieszynska and José Eduardo Franco. Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang, 2012: 59-72.