For Friday afternoon’s Metasession at Kalamazoo ’15, we collected 50 questions on the past, present, and future of Medieval Studies. Thanks to all who tweeted, emailed, Facebooked, carrier-pigeoned, shouted, or telepathically conveyed your ideas!
We will circulate these questions at the session; we hope they’ll generate more questions and good discussion. Here’s a preview. Expect a lot of conversation around diversity and access (two of the most-raised issues); we’ll also address what “medieval studies” means today, and (my personal favorite question), is there an ethics of Medieval Studies?
Join us on Friday at 5:30, and bring more questions! Fifty is just the beginning….
Medieval Originality: Looking Forward, Looking Back
A Panel Discussion
Friday May 15, 5:30 pm
50 Questions for Medieval Studies Now
Defining Medieval Studies
• Who determines what is “legitimate” scholarly practice?
• What subjects and methodologies count as “legitimate,” and who gets to make these determinations?
• Define ‘medieval.’
• Define ‘studies.’
• Is there an ethics of Medieval Studies?
• Is 500-1500 CE outside of Europe still “The Middle Ages”?
• Is “Europe” a useful category for Medieval Studies?
• What does “public engagement” mean for Medieval Studies?
• How should Medieval Studies engage with resent day politics and social concerns?
• How diverse is your discipline?
• What is your discipline doing to address diversity?
• What kinds of diversity matter?
• How does medieval studies usefully complicate questions of what counts as diverse?
• How can we ensure that the future of medieval studies is more diverse (in many meanings of that word) than its past?
• How can Medieval Studies broaden its domain to fully incorporate marginalized groups — in Europe and beyond?
Audience and ‘Relevance’
• Who are the present and future audiences for Medieval Studies?
• How important is it that Medieval Studies (or, your discipline) “stay relevant” to the present?
• Can Medieval Studies contribute understanding to the modern religious culture wars?
• How can we demonstrate the relevance of our work, both to students and to non-medievalist colleagues?
• What is the particular value of medieval studies? What can we give that other disciplines can’t?
• Can Medieval Studies contribute an understanding of religious culture(s) without losing interest of more secular modern culture?
• What might your discipline lose in trying to “stay relevant”?
Teaching, Resources, and Access
• To what degree could specialized skills (such as paleography…) be taught online?
• What are the current challenges for teaching in your discipline?
•What are the best ways to teach (or to research) the Middle Ages in the US, especially in places with little access to objects, sites, and collections?
• What steps might be taken make critical editions and newly published texts available more widely?
• Has the opening up of cultural and academic exchange possibilities with formerly “closed” states in the last 50 years – e.g. Central and Eastern Europe; China – had an impact on your discipline?
Technology, Digital Humanities
• How should medieval studies participate in Digital Humanities?
• Do you worry that deans might see DH primarily as a way to create a humanities that pulls in big grants?
• Does your discipline embrace open-access publishing? Does it provide support for the labor of editing that open-access requires?
• What should be the role of social media in Medieval Studies?
• Do you blog? Do your students blog, (academically or otherwise)?
• What cross-disciplinary collaborations have been fruitful in your discipline? Challenging?
• How can we bridge the gaps that exist across disciplines within medieval studies? Or with those who study other periods?
• How can/do we value the labor of bringing something to print, in addition to the labor of research and writing?
• How might research be shared, other than via traditional conference papers?
• What kinds of collaborative work models have been/might be employed in different disciplines and across disciplines?
• Are rising researchers in your discipline best served by traditional disciplinary boundaries in shaping their careers?
• What is the value of a PhD in your discipline?
• What is the value of a PhD in Medieval Studies?
• What is the role of the trained-but-nonprofessional academic (The MA, the ex-PhD)?
• Does your discipline collaborate with non academics interested in the Middle Ages?
Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity
• What might the place of medieval philosophy be in the future of medieval studies where more work seems to be happening in literature, history and art?
• How has the rise of Visual Culture Studies and related fields impacted medieval Art History?
• What has the impact of developments in theoretical approaches been on your discipline?
• Is there a good, current historiography of your discipline (within Medieval Studies)?
• How do you want to situate the history of your discipline in 2015?
• How has the discovery and/or dissemination of new material evidence impacted on paradigms in your discipline?
• Is Medieval Studies really interdisciplinary?
• What should your discipline aspire to for 2025?
please join us for this session, which will HAPPEN at 5:30 pm Friday in the Bernhardt East Ballroom!