“An ethical and accessible introduction to a historical period often implicated in racist narratives of nationalism and imperialism.” —Sierra Lomuto, Assistant Professor of Global Medieval Literature, Rowan University
A collection of twenty-two essays, Whose Middle Ages? gives nonspecialists access to the richness of our historical knowledge while debunking damaging misconceptions about the medieval past. Myths about the medieval period are especially beloved among the globally resurgent far right, from crusading emblems on the shields borne by alt-right demonstrators to the on-screen image of a purely white European populace defended from actors of color by Internet trolls. This collection attacks these myths directly by insisting that readers encounter the relics of the Middle Ages on their own terms.
Each essay uses its author’s academic research as a point of entry and takes care to explain how the author knows what she or he knows and what kinds of tools, bodies of evidence, and theoretical lenses allow scholars to write with certainty about elements of the past to a level of detail that might seem unattainable. By demystifying the methods of scholarly inquiry, Whose Middle Ages? serves as an antidote not only to the far right’s errors of fact and interpretation but also to its assault on scholarship and expertise as valid means for the acquisition of knowledge.
“In example after example, the authors show how people shape the Middle Ages to reflect their fears and dreams for themselves and for society. The results range from the amusing to the horrifying, from video games to genocide. Whose Middle Ages? Everyone’s, but not everyone’s in the same way.” —Michelle R. Warren, author of Creole Medievalism