CFP: Global Medievalisms

Medievalism is a multivalent phenomenon that speaks differently in and across the disparate communities that practice it; as with other fields of study, extending our perspective to view medievalism in a global context transforms the object of study itself. This edited collection will consider global medievalisms, exploring how various modern interpretations, re-enactments, and reifications of the medieval serve as reactions to the neoliberal globalization of the present. Whether or not it is accurate to speak of a “global middle ages,” since the rhetoric of the medieval is a fundamentally Western construct, global medievalism positions itself in a world before gunpowder, the dominance of urban centers, and the organization of social ties around economic relations. It thus accords both with disturbing nativist appropriations of the Middle Ages and with attempts to recover personal relations whose meaning is not defined in monetary terms. Medievalisms’ global reach testifies to the extent that the contemporary world follows a widespread paradigm for social relations and cultural production (on the junction-point of which medievalism is situated), while the profound differences in what constitutes medievalism in different localities reveals fresh aspects of the post-colonial response to Western hegemony.

We seek submission of essay proposals in two main categories:

  • Work that explores particular medievalisms in a global framework; e.g., the construction of the global in Game of Thrones, global tropes in medievalist reenactments, white supremacist appropriations of medieval pasts, world-building in role-playing games (table-top or digital), etc.
  • Work that explores conversations between global and local medievalisms, particularly outside of Western Europe and the United States; e.g., Disney and fantasy medievalisms (including King Arthur manga, samurai narratives, paladins, gauchos, cowboys, etc.), post-colonial responses to medievalist legacies, medievalist reclamations of non-European pasts, etc.

Among the issues the collection may interrogate are:

  • Is there a global medieval? Even if not, is there still a global medievalism?
  • What might constitute the tropes of global medievalism? Armor and swords (pre-gunpowder, but not “ancient”)? Fealty and anti-capitalism?
  • How can medievalism act as a response to a post-colonial situations?
  • How have medievalisms been harnessed for political ends?
  • How do reified medievalisms travel across borders and cultures?
  • How do medievalist reconstructions connect with heritage issues?
  • What is the global map of medievalisms?
  • How have medievalisms been used to reaffirm localism and resist globalization?
  • How have medievalisms been harnessed to the purposes of global media?
  • Is our current notion of a global medieval world a form of global medievalism? How can this apply both to Medieval Studies as a discipline and to political decentering?

Please send your proposal, including a title and 250-word abstract, by May 1st, 2021 to Angela Weisl (angela.weisl@shu.edu) and Robert Squillace (robert.squillace@nyu.edu); include your title and affiliation in your cover email.

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