In the coming week, there may be some public discussion about a mythical “war” in medieval studies. Unfortunately, certain senior faculty in positions of power have repeatedly engaged with aggressive, threatening individuals in the so-called “alt-right.” These extreme right-wing individuals have online followings that include people willing to engage in dangerous activities like stalking, harassment, and doxxing. They seem to believe—and will try to contend—that “SJWs” (Social Justice Warriors) are pushing others out of medieval studies and/or the academy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The conversation that we want to have—and have always encouraged—is about inclusion. Making space for those voices that have been–and still often are–made to feel excluded. As we wrote in our Mission Statement, “we work to create spaces where scholars from many different backgrounds, both traditional and non-traditional, can come together for mutual enrichment.”
With that in mind, we encourage readers to stay focused on a positive outlook for an inclusive future. Specifically, we ask that you NOT ENGAGE with any internet dialogue around this spurious “issue,” and especially that you not refer to anyone by name. There is a real risk of danger to folks who are named in comments, posts, or tweets that might be screenshot for nefarious purposes.
We stand with other groups that have made similar forward-looking statements. More than that, we offer help to anyone who feels they need it in the face of harassment as a result of this ridiculous, invented “war.”