Becoming postmedieval: The stakes of the global middle ages

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The concept of the ‘medieval’ emerged as a node of colonialist ideology that placed Africa, Asia, and the Americas into a backward and uncivilized – premodern – time. Even as it demarcates Western Europe as its purview, the ‘Middle Ages’ has also implicated the rest of the world as an invisible ‘other.’ This article argues that as Medieval Studies develops a ‘Global Middle Ages,’ it must necessarily account for this racial colonial project. Drawing from Sara Ahmed’s theories of institutional diversity work, my analysis contextualizes the global turn as a public relations campaign that repairs and protects the field’s reputation after white supremacists displayed their love for the Middle Ages in Charlottesville in 2017. I caution against a ‘Global Middle Ages’ that makes a platform of diversity its focal point, and I call for a coupling of the ‘global’ and the ‘medieval’ that confronts the field’s deeply entrenched Eurocentrism and breaks the ‘Middle Ages’ apart from within.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalPostmedieval
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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