Francesco Panarelli, Kristjan Toomaspoeg, Georg Vogeler, Kordula Wolf
Von Aachen bis Akkon. Grenzüberschreitungen im Mittelalter – Einleitung
Abstract Considering current discussions on border studies and drawing on Houbert Houben’s interest in mobility, religious minorities, intercultural contacts and questions of medieval tolerance, this introductory chapter explains the structure and content focus of the volume. Since border crossings are inconceivable without borders and represent a key mechanism of bordering, the concept of border is also explored. According to the approach adopted here, borders are social constructs and representations, linked to processes of demarcation, decisions as to belonging and nonbelonging, distinctions between inside and outside, open and closed. They can be material and immaterial, spatial, cultural, ethnic, social, legal, linguistic or symbolic. This introduction explains how the topics and case studies examined by the authors relate to this broad understanding of the term and how, in this sense, they underscore the complex relationships between different societies and at various societal levels during the Middle Ages.