top of page

Medievalism in the Age of COVID-19: A Collegial Plenitude

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Medievalism in the Age of COVID-19: A Collegial Plenitude

Compiled and edited by Richard Utz

First published as: “Medievalism in the Age of COVID-19: A Collegial Plenitude,” comp. & ed. Richard Utz, Medievally Speaking, May 4, 2020:


About four decades ago, when Leslie J. Workman organized the first sessions on the subject of Medievalism at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, few people listened. As a paradigm, Medievalism Studies questioned the prevalent scholarly notion of an unbridgeable chasm between ourselves and the medieval artifacts and subjects we study. Only a scientific and distanced approach to this almost incomprehensibly different era, so scholars of Medieval Studies professed, would yield reliable results. Medievalism was branded as something amateurs, dilettantes, and enthusiasts do.

As I am writing the intro to this collection of news, reflections, reports, shout outs, and vignettes, it is as clear as is the summer sun that the paradigm of Medievalism has helped transform the way we study and engage with the medieval past. By focusing on the humanity of medieval people and their emotions and motivations, and by understanding and embracing our own (sublimated) desire for a deep engagement with the medieval past, we have enriched and humanized our own present as well as the past we investigate, re-present, and reenact. Journals, book series, essay collections, blogs, radio programs, videos, podcasts, and annual conferences attest to an almost omnipresent multimodal rendezvous with the past that investigates and acknowledges the multiple mirrors through time that influence our contemporary scholarly and creative reinventions of the Middle Ages.  

Another essential insight medievalism studies has revealed is how scholars, artists, practitioners, and fans all collaborate, albeit often in their own groups and in diverse ways, at increasing what we know about the Middle Ages and its continuities in the present. Appropriately, then, the authors of the short pieces assembled below include not only those who work at (or alongside) educational and research institutions: graduate students, retired faculty, full-time tenure track faculty, contingent faculty, independent scholars, software developer, administrators; but also those in non-academic or academy-adjacent professions: publishers, writers, a medieval coach, a composer, an industry analyst, and a jouster and professional fencing master. The contributors are based around the world, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the USA; and their areas of interest, from the medieval through the contemporary, include Art, Comparative Literature, English, Church History, Cultural Studies, History, Latin, Linguistics, Literature, Media, Music, Political Science, and Philosophy. Because such is the collegial plenitude of Medievalism.

Despite this plenitude, this compilation of more than 40 voices is not meant to be a formal and comprehensive survey of the current state of medievalism studies. However, in the time of COVID-19, when we cannot meet in person during our annual pilgrimages to Kalamazoo or Leeds, where we usually refresh our batteries and learn about our projects, I thought it would be a good idea to share publicly what’s been happening in our field of engagement. I contacted colleagues either because I knew they were working on projects or had presented papers and plenaries at our past conferences and events. I originally imposed word counts, only to abandon them when confronted with a somewhat longer well-wrought urn (well, some contributions were so long that they will be published in full in Medievally Speaking as individual pieces in the near future); I did not edit everyone into one style sheet or variety of English; since not everyone sent me a “title” for their entries, I invented some; I added some links and visuals not originally included by contributors; and I specifically asked about personal as well as professional news, impressions, and messages, which means that readers will learn about a joyous wedding (cum picture) right next to the announcement of a new essay collection. I encouraged this conscious mélange of the personal and professional because, most of all, I wanted this project to offer a collegial sign of hope and continuity in a world that has been too much with us in recent months.

Many medievalism-ists I contacted were simply too busy at this time of the year, as they took on additional stressful responsibilities at home and at (remote) work. And, yes, one colleague had to decline because she has been suffering from the symptoms of COVID-19. Therefore, because some voices could not be included this time around, I promise there will be future opportunities for our ailing colleague and others to share what they would like to share. Medievally Speaking will remain open to additional contributions.

I will end this intro with the joyful news that the most recent issue of Studies in Medievalism has just been published, expertly brought together and edited by Karl Fugelso, and beautifully produced by our friends at Boydell & Brewer. In its 29th iteration, it remains the top journal in Medievalism Studies. Together with our annual conference (to be hosted by Kevin Moberly for its 35th iteration at Old Dominion University, November 12-14, 2020), and our conference proceedings, The Year’s Work in Medievalism (edited by Valerie B. Johnson and Renée Ward), Studies in Medievalism ensures the continuity of the multivocal intellectual community we call the International Society for the Study of Medievalism. You can find the SiM 2020 Table of Contents as well as the Call for Papers for the 35th International Conference as the two final entries, below. Because, you guessed it, such is the plenitude of Medieval-ISSM.

Richard Utz

President, International Society for the Study of Medievalism  

List of contributors

Susan Aronstein, English, U of Wyoming, USA

Teodora Artimon, Publisher, Trivent Publishing, Hungary

Matthias Berger, Medieval English Studies, U of Berne, Switzerland

Anne Berthelot, Literatures, Cultures & Languages, U of Connecticut, USA

Mary Boyle, Medieval & Modern Languages, U of Oxford, UK

Danièle Cybulskie, Author, Historian, Medieval Coach, Canada

Louise D’Arcens, English, Macquarie University, Australia

Andrew B.R. Elliott, Media & Cultural Studies, U of Lincoln, UK

Mimi E. Ensley, Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Tech, USA

Vincent Ferré, Literature and Human Sciences, U of Paris-East Créteil, France

Kelly Ann Fitzpatrick, Industry Analyst, RedMonk

Karl Fugelso, Art+Design, Art History, Art Education, Towson U, USA

Simon Forde, Director, Arc Humanities Press, Europe

Luiz Felipe Anchieta Guerra, History/Political Cultures, Federal U of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Jonathan Good, History, Reinhardt U, USA

Susanne Hafner, German, Fordham U, USA

Kevin J. Harty, English, Lasalle U, USA

Ann F. Howey, English, Brock University, Canada

Sylvie Kandé, History & Philosophy, SUNY Old Westbury, USA

Dina Khapaeva, Modern Languages, Georgia Tech, USA

Stefanie Matabang, Comparative Literature, UCLA, USA

David Matthews, English, U of Manchester, UK

Jenna Mead, English & Literary Studies, U of Western Australia, Australia

Brent A. Moberly, Software Developer, Indiana U, USA

Kevin A. Moberly, English, Old Dominion U, USA

Ken Mondschein, Writer, Historian, Jouster, Professional Fencing Master, USA

Laura Morreale, Independent Scholar, Washington, DC, USA

Jan Alexander van Nahl, Icelandic & Comparative Cultural Studies, U of Iceland, Iceland

Martha Oberle, Retired-Independent Scholar, USA

Nils Holger Petersen, Church History, U of Copenhagen, and composer, Denmark

Tison Pugh, English, University of Central Florida, USA

Huriye Reis, English, Hacettepe U, Turkey

Fernando Rochaix, Art, Georgia Perimeter College/Georgia State U, USA

Siegrid Schmidt, Medieval German Literature, Paris Lodron U of Salzburg, Austria

Yoshiko Seki, Humanities and Social Sciences, Kochi U, Japan

Clare A. Simmons, English, Ohio State U, USA

A. Sterling-Hellenbrand, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Appalachian State U, USA

Lorraine Kochanske Stock, English, U of Houston, USA

Arwen Taylor, English & World Languages, Arkansas Tech, USA

Richard Utz, Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Tech, USA

Dustin M. Frazier Wood, English & Creative Writing, U of Roehampton, UK

Kirsten Yri, Music, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Jan M. Ziolkowski, Medieval Latin & Comparative Literature, Harvard U, USA

READ all the news, reflections, reports, shout outs, and vignettes:



bottom of page