Monday, August 24, 2015

A Plea for a Public Medievalism

Richard Utz recently published a short section of his May, 2015, Kalamazoo plenary in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Medievalists, Don't be Snobs
We medievalists have had a pretty good run in academe. We were admitted in the final third of the 19th century after we proved that our subject was complex (read: science-like) enough to warrant professionalized study. European nations’ desire for origins, to use the title phrase in Allen J. Frantzen’s influential book, helped expand the field into the second half of the 20th century. Even in America, although her very existence was predicated on leaving "old" Europe behind, academic work on various medieval heritages thrived to the point where every humanities department boasted at least one medieval specialist.

However, there is now a manifest discrepancy between the large number of students who request that we address their love of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and medieval-themed video and computer games on the one hand, and the decreasing number of medievalists hired to replace retiring colleagues on the other. READ THE FULL TEXT HERE

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Utz reviews Oexle, Die Gegenwart des Mittelalters

Otto Gerhard Oexle, Die Gegenwart des Mittelalters, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2015, at Medievally Speaking, reviewed by yours truly:

This delightful cahier of 45 pages, published under the auspices of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, offers a revised version of a paper Otto Gerhard Oexle originally presented at the Academy's Mittelalterzentrum in 2012. To speak about the "Presence" or "Contemporaneity" of the Middle Ages, Oexle addresses three general areas:

1) An immediate presence visible in remains and monuments: Oexle quickly summarizes what we know about the fascination we moderns have with historical objects and buildings, and he likens the immediacy ("Unmittelbarkeit") of the pleasure experienced by lay visitors with that experienced by professional historians…. READ FULL REVIEW HERE