CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
Racism in Medieval Studies: Problems and Solutions
A Discussion Session at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Medievalists
Since the summer of 2017 it has become profoundly clear that the discipline of medieval studies has a racism problem. In July of that year, attendees at the International Medieval Congress brought attention to the fact that in spite of panels on topics such as diversity and otherness, medieval studies as a whole was fairly homogenous, and in terms of tone, at times, outright racist. In August, the “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia showed us that symbols from the medieval world were being coopted and used to support white supremacist agendas. Work by Medievalists of Color, the Public Medievalist’s series on Race, Racism and the Middle Ages, along with the with the work of scholars such as Geraldine Heng and Dorothy Kim, showed us that traditional ways of teaching medieval history and literature could homogenize and whiten the diversity found in the medieval world and that the academy itself was not equally welcoming for all scholars. In this era, with hate speech and hate crimes on the rise, medieval studies is trying to reorient itself to be more inclusive: in what we research and teach and in who is called on to research and teach it. It is in this context that this call for participation is situated.
The planned discussion session is aimed at exploring problems and solutions to combat this two-pronged issue of racism in medieval studies. The format of the session is a short series of 5-minute presentations of problems, questions or potential solutions, and then a wider group discussion that will encompass everyone in the room. If you are interested in offering a five minute presentation, please email Donna Trembinski at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and topic of interest. We’d like to include as many concerns, ideas and voices as possible.