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Medievalism Summer School: The Middle Ages High and Low

The Middle Ages High and Low: intersections, interactions, debates between academic knowledge and pop culture Moyen Âges d’en haut et d’en bas : perméabilités, interactions et débats entre recherche académique et cultures populaires

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Resumo Medieval studies and medievalism both focus on the same object, the Middle Ages. Yet their approaches are different. Long separated, medieval studies and medievalism are now challenged to rethink their links in research, teaching and social dissemination of knowledge. The summer school aims to help young researchers to strengthen their understanding of these scientific developments, to position their research effectively, and to develop networks with international researchers. The school, in French and English, proposes lectures by world-renowned specialists, debates, meetings with professionals and practical workshops. Anúncio English Français Lausanne Summer School, August 23-26, 2022.

Argument Since its "invention" in the 16th century, the Middle Ages have been characterized by being not only a period of European history, but also and above all an imaginary universe, a past seen from the present, susceptible to all sorts of ideological and playful appropriations, emotional and sometimes physical investments. For decades, these popular uses of the medieval universe have been kept on the fringe of the university. The massive medievalization of cultural tastes since the end of the 20th century has shifted the boundaries of academic knowledge. But if scholarly publications on Medieval pop culture have multiplied in recent years, stimulated by the worldwide success of novels (Harry Potter), series (Games of Thrones) or video games (Medieval Total War), the epistemological and pedagogical challenges posed by the articulation between medieval studies and medievalism in and around the university today remain little studied. The school aims to better understand and address these two challenges. From an epistemological point of view, how can we integrate into current approaches to medieval studies a set of phenomena that had been excluded because of their "unscientific" character? In order to help young researchers better situate their own research, the school will study this paradox in depth:

  • What are the different positions (rejection, observation, collaboration) adopted by scholars in relation to the producers and disseminators of medieval worlds, and what epistemological arguments are they accompanied by?

  • What impact has the integration of popular medievalism had on the canon of medieval works or historical figures?

  • Can we observe today among specialists in medieval studies (history, philosophy, literature, arts, etc.) divergent approaches to popular medievalism?

Moreover, how can we develop innovative training programs at the university that are adapted to the specificities of Medieval pop culture? Most of the appropriation of the Middle Ages today involves recreation practices, fabrication of objects and the frequent use of immersive techniques. The school invites participants to reflect on their own pedagogical experiences and to collectively test others:

  • Is popular medievalisme likely to renew the pedagogical approach to medieval studies in terms of content, notional framework (actualization, anachronism, heterochrony), and training methods (interactive, creative approach)?

  • What uses can be made of current practices in the re-creation of the Middle Ages (rewritings, video creations, 3D and virtual reality, performances and live reconstructions)?

The school offers a series of multidisciplinary and multilingual (French/English) activities: lectures by international specialists, debates and round-table discussions, interactive workshops on topics as varied as medieval-inspired memes and goodies, the reenactment of combat techniques, or immersive virtual reality environments used for playful or educational purposes. The school is aimed in particular at young researchers at master and/or doctoral level, at those who wish to join a large network of international specialists, and at anyone who is considering a research project on these subjects. Provisional Schedule 23.08.2022

  • 8.30-9.30 Registration, welcome coffee


  • 9.30-10.15 Welcome and introduction to the school Estelle Doudet, UNIL Filippo Fonio, UGA

  • 10.30 Conférence d’ouverture – keynote lecture Pr. Richard Utz (Georgia Tech): Our Daily Middle Ages

  • 11.30-12.30 Round-table Medieval Studies and Medievalism in a globalized academic world, a comparative survey of Italy, France, Switzerland and the US. (R. Utz, L. Di Filippo, E. Doudet & F. Fonio).

Discussions avec le public: anglais, français, italien. 14.00-18.30 The participants are invited to follow alternating practical workshops: a "workshop" to discuss theoretical issues based on short lectures by researchers / a "Medieval lab" allowing them to experiment with practical tools. 14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Workshop

  • Les récits médiévaux d’hier à aujourd'hui : l’exemple de la Scandinavie, Presentation prof. Laurent Di Filippo (U. Lorraine) + feed-back from participants.

15.30-16.00 Coffee break 14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Medieval lab

  • Le Moyen Âge 2.0 : ludisme et réflexivité à travers les mèmes médiévalisants (Hélène Cordier). Practical experiments by the participants.

18.00 Collective feedback on the day’s activities 24.08.2022 9.30-12.30

  • 9.30-9.45 Presentation of the day’s activities

  • 10.00 Keynote lecture Prof. Brandon Essary (Elon University), “Giuochi, sollazzi, e ludi”: Boccaccio, Dante and (Video) Games.

  • 11.00-12.00 Round-table Academic multidisciplinary approaches: do history, cultural studies, and media studies share the same Middle Ages/Medievalism? (R. Utz, B. Essary, E. Doudet & F. Fonio).

Discussions avec le public: anglais, français. 14.00-18.00 14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Workshop

  • Reassessing historical characters in academic storytelling and commercial practices – Historical characters in “goodies”. F. Fonio, B. Essary + feedback from participants

Retours d’expérience des participant·es. 15.30-16.00 Coffee break 14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Medieval lab 2

  • (G. Thonney, Ars Ludendi) Produire des jeux et des jouets médiévalisants pour quoi, pour qui ? + Practical experiments by the participants.

18.00 Collective feedback on the day’s activities 25.08.2022 9.30-12.30

  • 9.30-9.45 Presentation of the day’s activities

  • 10.00-11.00 Keynote lecture Prof. Vincent Ferré (U. Paris-Est): The Medieval Past: history, memory, fiction?

  • 11.00-12.00 Round-table Modernités médiévales et paradigmes épistémologiques en sciences humaines: présentisme, affective turn, archaeological turn (V. Ferré, D. Jaquet, E. Doudet et F. Fonio).

Discussions avec le public: anglais, français. 14.00-18.00 Learning by redoing: academic and social uses of the historical reenactment. The case of Switzerland. Après-midi animée par l’anthropologue A. Tuaillon Demesy et l’historien D. Jaquet. En alternance, 2 workshops: 14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Workshop

  • L'histoire vivante médiévale : une expérience corporelle du temps. Presentation Dr. Audrey Tuaillon Démésy (U. Franche-Comté) + feed-back from participants.

14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Medieval lab

  • Reenacting Late Medieval Fighting Techniques. Dr. Daniel Jaquet (U. Berne) + practical experiments by the participants.

18.00 Cocktail 26.08.2022 9.00-12.30 Show and tell session: participants present their work (anglais – français)

  • 9.30-11.00 Round-table Présentations des sujets choisis et des futures pistes développées dans les synthèses réflexives.

  • 11.30-12.30 The school on screen… Présentation des images tournées pendant l’école.


  • Gamifying the Middle Ages? From video games to virtual reality courses

  • Deux Medieval labs en français et anglais présentés en alternance.

14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Medieval lab 1 (Game lab, B. Essary)

  • Playing and studying : Medieval Video Games

  • Practical experiments by the participants.

15.30-16.00 Coffee break 14.00-15.30 / 16.00-17.30 Medieval lab 2 (E. Doudet + 1 participant from ARCHAS, UNIL) Teaching, learning, experiencieng with Virtual Reality + practical experiments by the participants 18.00 Concluding remarks and presentation of Grenoble summer school in 2023. F. Fonio, E. Doudet. Fees and application Fee: 100CHF Complete program and registration form on Information : Estelle Doudet,; Filippo Fonio, Application deadline: June 23, 2022 You can apply online, by clicking on the blue button on the page mentionned. Your application should include the application template attached on :// It will be evaluated by the Organization and Scientific Committee, as described on the same page. International organizing committee

  • Estelle Doudet (UNIL)

  • Filippo Fonio (UGA)

Scientific Committee

  • prof. Alain Corbellari,

  • Hélène Cordier,

  • Dr. Barbara Wahlen (section français);

  • Game lab UNIL-EPFL;

  • Grégory Thonney (Ars Ludendi).



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