IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 1205: Modern Myths about the Middle Ages

Wednesday 14 July 2004, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Bettina Bildhauer, School of Modern Languages - German, University of St Andrews
Moderator/Chair:Katherine J. Lewis, Department of History, University of Huddersfield
Paper 1205-aMid-Evilisms: The Dark Ages of Textbook and Popular Culture
(Language: English)
Lisa M. C. Weston, Department of English, California State University, Fresno
Index terms: Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1205-bWhy are the Dark Ages Dark?: Cultural and Cinematic Functions of a Key Metaphor
(Language: English)
Bettina Bildhauer, School of Modern Languages - German, University of St Andrews
Index terms: Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1205-cHagar the Hilarious: Vikings as Comic Figures in Contemporary Culture
(Language: English)
Simon Trafford, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Index terms: Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Abstract

Clash of Cultures in this year’s main theme; and medieval culture itself is often constructed as radically different from our own, clashing with and being superseded by modernity. This session aims to reflect on some of the recurring stereotypes and structures underlying our perception of the Middle Ages, and the functions of such constructions for ourselves. Papers explore in particular how modern scholarship and popular culture interact in constructing the Middle Ages as a validating Other; what is at stake in describing the Middle Ages so persistently as dark; and what is so funny about the hyper-masculine Vikings as represented in contemporary culture.