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Review: Why Study the Middle Ages?

Updated: Aug 10, 2023


Happy to share my recent review of Kisha G. Tracy's Why Study the Middle Ages? for Perspicuitas:


Kisha G. Tracy: Why Study the Middle Ages? Leeds: ARC Humanities Press, 2022. 118pp. $17,95. ISBN 9781641891974.


"Medievalists have been asking themselves periodically why their work might be impactful and relevant, and Kisha Tracy has selected this sempiternal question as the topic of her concise volume for the PastImperfect series, a series that aims to take on key issues in medieval studies “in provocative and accessible language.” While her book is not geared towards a general audience, it is certainly accessible to a broad range of students and colleagues with a serious interest in reading about the value of medieval studies for higher education. And the book might be called provocative in its focus on two relatively recent interdisciplinary threads in the field, disability studies (“such as disability representation in literary texts, accommodations, and museum representations”) and diversity studies (“such as (mis)appropriations of the Middle Ages by white supremacists, scientific and DNA studies, and what a Global Middle Ages looks like”). The cover image, a close-up of the statue of St. Maurice from Magdeburg Cathedral, Germany, is programmatic: The black knight and saint, represented in Magdeburg to buttress the authority of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen by proclaiming his empire’s cosmopolitanism together with Christian universalism, has over the last two decades become a figurehead for ushering in a more inclusive view of the Middle Ages."




Medievalism, mediaevalism, medievalismo, Mediävalismus, médiévalisme, Mittelalter-Rezeption, diversity studies, global Middle Ages, disability studies

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