Talk Series on Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Middle Ages and Medieval Studies

October 7, 2020

The Medievalists of Color, the Program in Medieval Studies at Princeton University, the Division for Identity Studies at the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, launched a series of online seminars entitled “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Middle Ages and Medieval Studies.” Funding has been provided by the Humanities Council at Princeton University.

The series of seminars convenes researchers based in North America and Europe in order to inspire and further establish reflections about race, race-thinking, and racialization among scholars of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. A series of talks by Medievalists of Color will anchor what we hope will become a longer and wider conversation that spans various cultures and historiographies within Medieval Studies. The aim is to begin a discussion that will: 1) enrich scholarly debate about processes of racialization by bringing together approaches developed in the United States with those developed in other parts of the world; 2) move beyond simplistic either-or binaries (race/not race, race/religion, race/ethnicity, and even US/Europe) and promote the development of more nuanced paradigms for racialization and its interaction, overlap, and interdependence with other forms of social categorization; 3) reflect on the diversity of approaches to and salience of race, race-thinking and racialization in different parts of the world, and different fields of study; and 4) investigate how Critical Race Theory and other (critical) forms of Identity Studies can inspire and inform historical study.   

While this conversation will begin with presentations by colleagues working in North America and Europe, we hope to widen the geographical scope still further. This series on “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Middle Ages and Medieval Studies” strives to reach beyond disciplinary, geographic, and academic-cultural borderlines. Through intellectual exchange and nuanced multilateral criticism, we seek to develop a richer and more productive understanding of the medieval past as well as its legacy in our modern age.

Upcoming lectures:

Wednesday, October 13
12:00 pm EDT
Dan-El Padilla Peralta, Department of Classics, Princeton University
“The Affects of Manumission: Racial Melancholy and Roman Freedpersons”

Registration is required. Please be sure to add this event to your calendar.

Register here for the seminar with Dan-El Padilla Peralta.

Future seminars in this lecture series will be posted in this space and on the events listings for Medieval Studies.

For any questions please contact: Sarah Porter

Past lectures:

Friday, April 30
12:00 pm EDT
Jackie Murray, University of Kentucky
Race, Racecraft and Necropolitics in Greek Epic

Wednesday, March 31
Nino Luraghi, Oxford University
Empires and Racialization: The Myth of the Martial Race

Thursday, February 11
Cord Whitaker, Wellesley College
Walter Pohl, University of Vienna

“Critical Approaches to Race and Ethnicity: Premodern Identities and the Trans-Atlantic Politics of Scholarship”
Watch the video here.

Monday, October 19
Nicole Lopez-Jantzen, City University of New York
Racialization in Late Antique Italy and Italian Historiography

Friday, December 11
Gerda Heydemann, Freie Universität Berlin
(Re-)Imagine all the peoples. Exegesis and ethnicity in the late Antique West

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