1 December 2017 – 30 November 2018
Bio: Oana Maria Cojocaru holds a MA degree in South-Eastern European History from the University of Bucharest and a PhD degree in Intellectual History and Byzantine Studies from the University of Oslo. She is currently preparing a monograph based on her doctoral dissertation, which deals with ideas and attitudes to childhood and everyday life experiences of children in Medieval Byzantium (9th to 11th centuries). Her PhD thesis was part of the larger project “Tiny Voices of the Past: New Perspectives on Childhood in Early Europe”, financed by the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Oslo (2013-2016). Oana has published a number of articles related to children and childhood and is co-editor (with Reidar Aasgaard and Cornelia Horn) of the volume Childhood in History: Perceptions of Children in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. She has also presented at various conferences in Germany, Norway and UK on topics concerning children’s disability, methodological approaches in childhood studies and children’s peer culture, and taught a course on Children and Childhood in History from Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages.
Project title: Becoming adult: the ambiguity of adolescence and youth in Byzantium (eighth to twelfth centuries)
Project description: The research project addresses the topic of adolescence and youth in medieval Byzantine society and the way in which authors of different social and cultural background conceived and articulated their ideas and perceptions regarding teenagers, boys and girls of different social background. Although the vocabulary used by the Byzantines in defining the period between childhood and adulthood is rather vague, without a clear distinction between adolescents and young adults, it is nevertheless clear that many medieval authors recognized this transition from one stage of life to another as a period of great importance in the life of individuals who undergo significant changes, not only from a biological point of view, but maybe more important from a social viewpoint.
The general aims of the project are: 1) to inquire into and discuss the medieval concepts of adolescence and youth from biological, legal and moral perspectives; 2) to uncover the most central aspects of youth in Byzantium and the social and cultural practices associated with this phase of life; 3) to trace differences and similarities in the literary representations of teenagers, depending on gender, age, and social status; and 4) to shed light on the diversity of experiences of life of the young Byzantines.