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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1008: Eat, Drink, and Teach the Middle Ages

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Ursula Bieber, Fachbereich Slawistik / Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalter und Frühneuzeit (IZMF), Universität Salzburg
Paper 1008-aEat, Drink, and Be Beowulf: A Pedagogy to Unplug the Technologically Obsessed Student
(Language: English)
Charmae Cottom, Department of English, Kent State University
Index terms: Daily Life, Teaching the Middle Ages
Paper 1008-bMedievalism on the Menu: Food as Adaptation in A Feast of Ice and Fire
(Language: English)
Melissa Filbeck, Department of English, Texas A&M University, College Station
Index terms: Daily Life, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1008-c'The Assassin's Creed Curriculum': Video Games and the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Andrew Elliott, Lincoln School of Film & Media, University of Lincoln
Index terms: Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Teaching the Middle Ages

Paper -a:
The epic poem Beowulf provides common appeals with timely insights into leadership, trust, and patriotism that could inspire and motivate today's 21st century student. With the help of culturally inspired game systems our students are prime to return to this classic that steams of monsters, dragons, and demons. But, how do we teach Beowulf to our technically charged students that would probably prefer to play the game of Beowulf than to read it? Using my 12th grade High School English class and my British Literature College class, I will enhance the reading experience with lessons that immerse my students into Anglo-Saxon culture with opportunities for cultural enrichment. These lessons will include: (a) a cross-culture examination of Anglo-Saxon foods, including food preparation by the students; and (b) creative reproductions of shields and helmets. The results of this investigation will attempt to provide meaningful enrichment opportunities for teachers to enhance and encourage their students in medieval studies.

Paper -b:
This paper will examine medievalism in A Feast of Ice and Fire, the official cookbook for George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones series. Cookbooks inspired by literary works are a form of adaptation that allows readers to reify an imaginary world and interact with it in a visceral way. In the case of literary cookbooks based on medievalist works of literature, a double layer of adaptation occurs: not only of the text itself, but of the Middle Ages as well. In this paper, I will examine the implications of this paradoxical urge to physically re-create an aspect of a fictional world - one which draws from the ostensibly accessible, real world of the Middle Ages.

Paper -c:
Of the 25 most popularvideo games, several take place within a medieval, or pseudo medieval, setting, such as Skyrim, World of Warcraft and the Assassin's Creed franchise. This paper argues that rather than being distractions, video games can offer academic medievalists an exciting opportunity. Seen as a way of using win conditions to replicate the goals of medievalists, video games thus become not a means of teaching history, but an entry point familiar to many students, leading to sophisticated methodologies and an understanding of contingency and teleology. As tools used to teach not history, but historiography, they can be embraced as a powerful tool for medieval studies.