medievalism: recommended reading

#Medieval: “First World” medievalism and participatory culture, by Andrew B.R. Elliott

Habermas’ identification of a ‘public sphere’ as a democratic, open, and fundamentally participatory space is often identified as the emergence of a kind of modern political consciousness. Given its identification within the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it thus emerges as a modern invention to be contrasted against the implied feudalism of the Middle Ages. However, at the same time, there is a growing recognition that such a public sphere belonging to the prosperous middle-classes is “less a signifier of democracy than a shift in power toward an educated, property-owning middle class ”. The translation of a Habermasian public sphere to the equally ‘democratic’ Web 2.0 environment has prompted renewed celebrations of its apparently participatory online sphere, even if in the context of the above critique the parallels with a less demotic shift of power are abundantly clear. In this chapter, I analyse the use of the hashtag ‘#medieval’ across Instagram and Twitter in particular to explore the ways in which those same dominant voices have collocated and constructed the new Middle Ages through a so-called participatory culture. I will show how the medieval has come to be created, in the context of a narrower participatory culture than is usually imagined, as a specifically western, class-based phenomenon which both controls and constricts our abilities to connect with it. READ FULL ESSAY HERE

Middle Ages without borders: a conversation on medievalism

Medioevo senza frontiere : una conversazione sul medievalismo

Moyen Âge sans frontières : conversation sur le médiévalisme

Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri, Pierre Savy and Lila Yawn (eds.)

Collection de l'École française de Rome