Closing keynote:

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World Medievalism
Louise D'Arcens
Macquarie University, Australia

Medieval studies has witnessed an increasing interest in exploring the Middle Ages as an epoch of exchanges, migrations, and cross-race and interfaith encounters, so that it is now understood under the auspices of a deeper historical reconceptualisation of ‘the global’. 


This swing  toward the ‘global Middle Ages’  is  inseparable from interest in medievalism. A parallel body of work which has demonstrated how medieval European legacies have been adapted by modern cultures around the world. The idea of ‘global medievalism’ offers particular challenges to a  discipline whose  very name,  medievalism studies, takes European  geo-temporality  as  its  starting point. 

But this call also offers exciting opportunities precisely because the compass of medievalism expands, temporally and geographically, far beyond its starting point in the European Middle Ages. ‘Global medievalism’ is thus not as conceptually fraught as ‘the global Middle Ages’, especially since so many medievalist texts, objects, and practices have emerged out of the eras of global colonialism, global warfare, and neoliberal globalisation.


I wish to show in this paper that these ‘global medievalisms’ can be more productively conceived of as ‘world medievalisms’. First, using Peng Cheah’s and Debjani Ganguly’s theorising of ‘world’ as a temporal rather than spatial category, I will argue that this concept is more amenable for medievalism because it exceeds the ‘global’ in its temporal depth and horizon. Second, I wish to show that the concept of ‘world’ is preferable because of its relationship to the conceptual approach of phenomenology. A phenomenological approach to medievalism understands medievalist encounters as experiences of ‘world-disclosure’ in which ‘the medieval world’ can be apprehended by post-medieval people. The idea of ‘world medievalism’, I suggest, not only encompasses the experience of trans-temporal world disclosure, but expands the geopolitical ambit of ‘the medieval’, while offering a way of reframing ‘the global’ in its numerous iterations.

Additional Information:

- This activity has a maximum capacity of 100 subscribers in the Zoom room but will be broadcast live on YouTube to all other interested parties.
- The lecture will be entirely in ENGLISH, without simultaneous translation. However, our team will be on hand to help with the translation of questions or answers into Portuguese or Spanish.

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