IMC 2003: Sessions

Session 512: Is there a Place for Medieval Studies in Present-day Society?

Tuesday 15 July 2003, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Times Higher Education Supplement
Organiser:Axel E. W. Müller, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Moderator/Chair:Katie Wales, School of English, University of Leeds

This session aims to define the role of medieval studies within British Higher Education, to examine their perception in society as a whole, and to consider prospects for the future. In order to shape the discussion, we propose to consider the issues and questions listed below. As time is short, we ask each speaker to restrict the length of his/her initial presentation to not more than five minutes to allow sufficient time for discussion.
What are medieval studies? Have they relevance in the 21st century? Would society be any the worse off without them?
Is the function of medievalists within universities merely ornamental? What problems are caused by pejorative terminology such as “Medieval” and “Middle Ages”?

How can the highly technical skills necessary for medieval studies be put to wider use? [archaeology, music, art; training for younger people; occupation/activities for older people; understanding technologies].

What future for medieval studies?

The discussion should be focussed, but not so rigidly as to stifle any discussion.
It is important to avoid anything too newsworthy—unusual, quirky—which could sidetrack the media into less important issues.
Please also avoid talking about problems of individual disciplines or particular institutions in order to allow for concentration on the general picture.