Inclusive Pedagogies in Medieval Studies

Harbour Centre 2050
Organizers: Courtney Barajas (Whitworth University), Marjorie Housley (University of Notre Dame)

While the racist, sexist, and heterocentric foundations of medieval studies have been critiqued by scholars for decades, only in recent years have they been discussed in broad contexts across the field. Early medieval studies in particular has institutional foundations in nationalist and colonialist rhetorics of the nineteenth century. Much early scholarship on the medieval North Atlantic - and thus much of the work that developed from it – was limited by nineteenth-century approaches to race, gender, and identity. At the same time, contemporary white nationalist rhetoric in North America and Europe draws extensively on medieval and medievalist symbols, concepts, and imagery, making it clear that teachers of medieval studies must consider these (mis)appropriations and ideologies in their classrooms. As recent scholarship, such as Geraldine Heng’s The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages and Dorothy Kim’s Digital Whiteness and Medieval Studies, has begun to question these assumptions, an intertwined discussion has emerged about how to approach teaching. What resources incorporate discourses on race and ethnicity in medieval studies courses? How can medieval studies classrooms create environments that welcome students of colour, queer students, and others who are traditionally underrepresented in medieval studies? How can teachers - often teaching high courseloads with large classes, low pay, and less support - develop courses that effectively engage with these topics when they often have no training in these critical approaches? One strand of this seminar focuses on theoretically-focused discussions of medievalist pedagogy; others focus on specific courses, class projects, and inclusive teaching tools.

Day 1

Nicholas Hoffman (Ohio State University), “The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Syllabus”

Leanne MacDonald (University of Notre Dame), “Towards Decolonizing the Classroom Through Two-Spirit Critique”

Kathryn Maude (American University of Beirut), “Teaching women and queerness, but without interrogating whiteness”

Day 2

Melissa Heide (University of Texas at Austin), “Native Medievalisms and the Graduate Experience”

Jay Gates (John Jay College of Criminal Justice), “Making it Our Own: The Colonizers' Corpus in the HSI/MMI Classroom”

John R. Black (Moravian College), “Confronting Misappropriation of the Medieval Past by Teaching the Complexity of the Middle Ages”

Jennifer Knight (University of South Florida), “Making Boudicca a ‘Global Citizen’: Teaching Sexual Violence and Exploitative Colonization through a Celtic Warrior Weapon”

Day 3

Following from the previous two days of presentations, this third day will be a workshop on resource collection and syllabus building for participants.