Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Position Available: Asst. Editor, The Year's Work in Medievalism

The Year's Work in Medievalism, a refereed journal published under the auspices of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism, is seeking applications for the position of assistant editor. Prior experience in the areas of editing and publishing is definitely an asset. Candidates for this position should have a strong interest, and hopefully some prior experience, in researching the reception of medieval culture in postmedieval times. Please send a concise "letter of interest" and CV as one single PDF to and We do not expect the average weekly workload for the assistant editor to go beyond 1 hour. The initial appointment will be for a two-year period. The deadline for applications is January 25, 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Valerie Johnson and Richard Utz publish in MEDIEVALISM NOW

The special 28 (2013) issue of The Year's Work in Medievalism, entitled MEDIEVALISM NOWedited by Ed Risden, Karl Fugelso, Richard Utz, is now available. It includes essays by Valerie Johnson and Richard Utz. 

Here is the Table of Contents:
  • E. L. Risden: Introduction 
  • Valerie B. Johnson: Ecomedievalism: Medievalism's Potential Futures in Ecocriticism and Ecomaterialism  
  • Amy S. Kaufman: Lowering the Drawbridge   
  • Elena Levy-Navarro: A Long Parenthesis Begins   
  • Nickolas Haydock: Medievalism and Anamorphosis: Curious Perspectives on the Middle Ages  
  • Kevin Moberly & Brent Moberly: There is No Word for Work in the Dragon Tongue   
  • E. L. Risden: Miyazaki's Medieval World:  Japanese Medievalism and the Rise of Anime  
  • Karl Fugelso: Embracing Our Marginalism:  Mitigating the Tyranny of a Central Paradigm   
  • Carol L. Robinson: The Quest for a Deaf Lesbian Dwarf (or Anyone Else that Might Have Been Excluded) in Medievalist Video Games: A Response to Karl Fugelso’s ‘Manifesto’   
  • Jesse G. Swan: Relaxation and Amateur Medievalism for Early Modernity: Seeing Sir Henry Yelverton as a Woman in Love and a Bureaucrat Threatened in the 1621 Parliament   
  • Helen Young: Place and Time: Medievalism and Making Race  
  • Richard Utz: Can We Talk About Religion, Please? Medievalism’s Eschewal of Religion, and Why it Matters  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Past, Present, and Neo

The text below is an uncorrected, pre-ublication version of a concise essay, "Past, Present, and Neo" published in Humanistic Perspectives in a Technological World, ed. Richard Utz, Valerie B. Johnson, and Travis Denton (Atlanta: School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014), 139-40:

Past, Present, and Neo
Richard Utz 

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
William Faulkner

 At first sight, few cities could have less of a link with the Middle Ages than Atlanta. Founded in 1837 to provide a train terminus to connect the port of Savannah with the Midwest, and about 3,500 miles and 400 years removed from Old Europe, Georgia’s capital seems to be quintessentially modern. Nevertheless, an alert first time visitor might notice dozens of medieval signposts: 

At the airport’s baggage claim, a colorful screen display invites her to be “swept away to an age of bravery and honor” and partake in “a feast of the eyes and appetite with all the splendor and romance” of medieval Spain at the Atlanta Castle of Medieval Times, a dinner theater chain. A courtesy van, which treats her as if she were a noble lady at a medieval court, takes her to her downtown hotel, the Knights Inn. After a change of clothes, she takes a taxi to the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, where she attends her college roommate’s wedding, which includes the celebration of the Eucharist, a sacramental ritual originating in the Fourth Lateran Church Council’s decision on transubstantiation in 1215. She is especially impressed by the performance of members of the Atlanta Early Music Alliance, who perform wedding songs from before 1800, accompanied by instruments made according to medieval and early modern building instructions. On her way out of the Cathedral, a Knights of Columbus honor guard greets the guests who are then bused to the wedding reception at Rhodes Hall on Peachtree Street. There, our visitor admires the Victorian Romanesque revival architecture and watches as the photographer takes pictures of the newlyweds before a backdrop of stained-glass windows depicting the rise and fall of the Confederacy and a gallery of saintly-looking generals. Her day continues with a guided afternoon visit to the Margaret Mitchell House arranged for some of the non-Atlantan guests by the wedding planner. The guide ends his narrative of Mitchell’s biography with informing his audience how she was killed by a speeding car on Peachtree Street in 1949. She was on her way to the cinema to watch A Canterbury Tale, a British war-time movie loosely linked with Geoffrey Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century Canterbury Tales. Inspired by the story of Mitchell’s life, our visitor ends her day by renting David O. Selznick’s film version of Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind in her hotel room. She drifts off to sleep shortly after taking in the famous introductory foreword: “There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind....”

When I share this obviously fictional narrative with my students, they quickly catch on and research and identify dozens of other examples of how individuals, groups, corporations, and nations have recreated, reenacted, and reinvented the medieval past to make statements in their own postmedieval art, architecture, entertainment, literature, politics, race, religion, and sports. They soon notice that, while practically all these older forms of “medievalism” employ some kind of technology and scientific practice to represent what we know about the “real” Middle Ages, there now also seems to exist a new and different kind of connecting with medieval culture, one related to the ways in which various new media allow for heretofore unknown representations of space, story, and time.

More often than not, such recent narratives, with which my students tend to be more familiar than I, no longer make any serious attempt at heeding what scholars have established about the “real” Middle Ages. In fact, they (for example: Arcanum, Guild, Skyrim, Medieval: Total War, World of Warcraft) are content with creating pseudo-medieval worlds that playfully obliterate history, authenticity, and historical accuracy and replace history-based narratives with “simulacra” of the medieval, employing images and narrating stories that are neither an original nor the faithful copy of an original, but entirely “Neo.” Does this mean that these new simulational media will fundamentally change how we speak about and relate to the past? Will we no longer, as first Renaissance humanists and later Enlightenment thinkers have admonished us, try to become ever more perfect as human beings by studying the original stories, language, and motivations of our predecessors? And will this shift in our relationship to humanity’s past contribute to the “posthuman” or “transhuman” kind of world science fiction writers and futurologists have been contemplating?

I am convinced that our students, with their strongly interdisciplinary curricular focus, are particularly well prepared to investigate “medievalist” as well as “neomedievalist” narratives, and Atlanta, Georgia Tech, and particularly the School of Literature, Media, and Communication provide the perfect intellectual lab spaces to do that.  As “critical makers” who write and interpret, build and critique, play and create, they are able to shape the future developments at the intersection of ever so many humanistic, sociological, and technological practices. In their lives and careers, past, present, and “Neo” will be of equal importance.    [© R. Utz, 2014]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Open Access in the Academy, and What it Means for Medievalism Studies

Open Access in the Academy, a roundtable at the 29th Intl. Conference on Medievalism, Georgia Tech, October 2014, with Thomas Hahn (Rochester), Kevin J. Harty (La Salle), Leah Haught (LMC/Georgia Tech), J. Britt Holbrook (SPP/Georgia Tech), Fred Rascoe (Library/Georgia Tech),  Paul Sturtevant (Smithsonian &, Jesse G. Swan (Northern Iowa), Robin Wharton (Georgia State), and Richard Utz (LMC/Georgia Tech], is now available online at Georgia Tech's SmarTech repository in multiple versions.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Utz Publishes on Medievalism's Lexicon

Richard Utz recently published a short essay, "Medievalism’s Lexicon: Preliminary Considerations," in Perspicuitas, an open-access journal  published by the University Essen-Duisburg, Germany. The essay is accessible HERE.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Program for 29th Intl. Conference on Medievalism Now Available

Thanks to Leah Haught and Valerie Johnson, we now have the draft program for the 29th Conference ready for view.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Leah Haught appointed Associate Editor of Medievally Speaking

Good news about the future of Medievally Speaking: Dr. Leah Haught, who has been serving as an excellent Assistant Editor for our journal since 2012, has agreed to taking on the position of Associate Editor. Leah holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.  Her research interests include Arthurian romance and historiography, medieval and early-modern conceptions of authorship, and literary representations of gendered behavior. She is currently a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication and, together with Dr. Valerie Johnson, co-host of the 29th International Conference on Medievalism at Georgia Tech (October 24-25, 2014).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cressler at Decatur Book Festival

For those who will be looking for medieval matters at this year's Decatur Book Festival, please consider our colleague John Cressler's reading (Shadows in the Shining City; set in convivencia Spain) on Sat., August 30, at 3pm, Marriott Conference Center Ballroom C  I will have the honor of introducing John.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Launch for John Cressler's Shadows in the Shining City

John Cressler will celebrate the launch of his second novel Shadows in the Shining City. The evening will include a 50-minute presentation, a reading, Q/A, and a book signing, followed by a party with food and beverages. Come join us at the TSRB Auditorium, Tuesday July 22, 7pm

About the novel:

The Golden Age of Moorish Spain was during the 10th century, a time when the benevolent Arab Caliphs ruled Iberia from Córdoba, the site of the iconic Great Mosque and home to the Royal Library, one of the largest collections of ancient books ever assembled. 10th century Córdoba was the richest, most populous, and most cultured city in the western world. Under the tolerant Muslim Caliphs, the pinnacle of convivencia was attained, that unique period of Spanish history when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in relative harmony and peace. Multicultural Córdoba was an enlightened city that treasured its books, celebrated art and literature, advanced science and medicine, and its myriad accomplishments were envied by both the west and the east alike.
Shadows in the Shining City is a prequel to Emeralds of the Alhambra, and the second book in the Anthems of al-Andalus Series. Shadows tells the story of the forbidden love between Rayhana Abi Amir, a Muslim princess of the Royal Court, and Zafir Saffar, a freed slave. Young love blossoms in 10th century Madinat al-Zahra, the Shining City, the Caliph’s magnificent Royal Palace located just outside of Córdoba. Their love story is set against the backdrop of the epic rise to power of Rayhana’s ruthless father, a man history will come to both celebrate and revile for the role he plays in the collapse of Moorish Spain.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Georgia Medievalists' Group Fall Meeting CFP


2014 Fall Meeting of the Georgia Medievalists' Group

Where: Columbus State University, Columbus, GA

When: Saturday, November 8th, 2014, 10:00am-5:00pm

Columbus State University's new Medieval and Renaissance Studies program is very pleased to be hosting the Fall 2104 meeting of the Georgia Medievalists' Group on Saturday, November 8. The Georgia Medievalists' Group is a group of professional and student medievalists of all disciplines that meets twice a year, for a one day interdisciplinary conference of medievalists featuring about 6-8 presenters giving 30 minute presentations of their research. Please consider taking advantage of the chance to present your work and visit with your colleagues from across the state! 

We welcome proposals for papers by faculty or advanced graduate students working in the state of Georgia or nearby regions on any medieval subject or discipline, broadly construed.  Anyone interested in participating, please email an abstract of about 250 words or less along with the title of your proposed presentation and contact information to Shannon Godlove at by Monday, September 15th.

Please spread the word to any friends, colleagues or graduate students you think may be interested, and consider attending even if you have no plans to present. Should be a fun time in uptown Columbus!

We hope to hear from you and see you in November! 

Shannon Godlove

Shannon Godlove, PhD
Assistant Professor of English
Coordinator, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate
Columbus State University
Woodall Hall 163
4225 University Avenue
Columbus, GA 31907

Monday, July 14, 2014

John Cressler Publishes Shadows in the Shining City

Medieval@GeorgiaTech's John Cressler just published his most recent novel, Shadows in the Shining City, the second book in his Anthems of al-Andalus series. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, calls the novel "an aspiring and deeply moving novel on both the nature of love and the many beautiful possibilities brought to life when religions learn to coexist."

Here's what I think: "Cressler's suspenseful novel, set at a decisive moment in Spain's premodern history, challenges all too comfortable prejudices about medieval culture as the eternal dark "other," an allegedly primitive and less cultured period we have long left behind. Under the deceptive garment of an engaging love story, Cressler reveals the human continuities between the medieval past and the modern present, confronts twenty-first century religious intolerance with the decline of a relatively peaceful "convivencia" among tenth-century Spanish Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and celebrates the powerful role of learning and intellectual curiosity for interfaith dialogue." RU

For full information on the novel, please see HERE

Monday, March 31, 2014

Medievalism NOW

A special issue of The Year's Work in Medievalism is forthcoming in May. Entitled Medievalism NOW, and edited by Karl Fugelso, E. L. Risden, and Richard Utz, it will be available online and with full open access in May.  Contributors to this volume discuss areas in Medievalism studies that have received limited or no consideration in the past and make the case for future inclusion. To whet your appetite for reading the special issue, here is the TOC:

Karl Fugelso,  E. L. Risden, and Richard Utz

Ecomedievalism: Medievalism's Potential Futures in Ecocriticism and Ecomaterialism
Valerie B. Johnson, Georgia Institute of Technology

Lowering the Drawbridge
Amy S. Kaufman, Middle Tennessee State University

A Long Parenthesis Begins
Elena Levy-Navarro, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

There is No Word for Work in the Dragon Tongue
Kevin Moberly, Old Dominion University & Brent Moberly, Indiana University at Bloomington

Miyazaki's Medieval World:  Japanese Medievalism and the Rise of Anime
E. L. Risden, St. Norbert College

Embracing Our Marginalism:  Mitigating the Tyranny of a Central Paradigm
Karl Fugelso, Towson University

The Quest for a Deaf Lesbian Dwarf (or Anyone Else that Might Have Been Excluded) in Medievalist Video Games: A Response to Karl Fugelso’s ‘Manifesto’
Carol L. Robinson, Kent State University—Trumbull

Incipient Bureaucrat, Passionate Lover, and Amateur Medievalism of Early Modernity: The Example of Sir Henry Yelverton in the 1621 Parliament
Jesse Swan, University of Northern Iowa

Place and Time: Medievalism and Making Race
Helen Young, University of Sydney

Can We Talk About Religion, Please? Medievalism’s Eschewal of Religion, and Why it Matters
Richard Utz, Georgia Institute of Technology

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Medievalism: Key Critical Terms

Here is information about a new and exciting venue in Medievalism Studies forthcoming with Boydell & Brewer later this year:

The discipline of medievalism has produced a great deal of scholarship acknowledging the "makers" of the Middle Ages: those who re-discovered the period from 500 to 1500 by engaging with its cultural works, seeking inspiration from them, or fantasizing about them. Yet such approaches - organized by time period, geography, or theme - often lack an overarching critical framework. This volume aims to provide such a framework, by calling into question the problematic yet commonly accepted vocabulary used in Medievalism Studies. The contributions, by leading scholars in the field, define and exemplify essential terms used when speaking of the later reception of medieval culture, in a lively and accessible style.

The terms: Archive, Authenticity, Authority, Christianity, Co-disciplinarity, Continuity, Feast, Gesture, Gothic, Heresy, Humor, Lingua, Love, Memory, Middle, Modernity, Monument, Myth, Play, Presentism, Primitive, Purity, Reenactment, Resonance, Simulacrum, Spectacle, Transfer, Trauma, Troubadour

Elizabeth Emery is Professor of French and Graduate Coordinator at Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ, USA); Richard Utz is Chair and Professor of Medievalism Studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA, USA).

Contributors: Matthew Fisher, Pam Clements, Gwendolyn Morgan, William Calin, Jonathan Hsy, Karl Fugelso, Martha Carlin, Zrinka Stahuljak, Carol Robinson, Kevin Murphy and Lisa Reilly, Nadia Margolis, Clare A. Simmons, M. Jane Toswell, Juanita Feros Ruys, Vincent Ferré, David Matthews, Tom Shippey, Edward Risden, Martin Arnold, Brent Moberly and Kevin Moberly, Louise D'Arcens, Laura Morowitz, Amy Kaufman, Michael Cramer, Nils Holger Petersen, Lauren S. Mayer, Angela Weisl, Nadia Altschul, Kathleen Biddick, Elizabeth Fay