IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1401: Trespassing (Imagined) Borders: From a Peripheral to a Global Gaze in Medieval Studies - A Round Table Discussion

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 19.00-20.00

Sponsor:Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities & Social Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Organiser:Verena Krebs, Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Moderator/Chair:Rebecca Darley, Department of History, Classics & Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds

Centre and periphery was one of the defining debates of medieval studies in the late 1970s-1990s, but modern discourses of globalism and global history, of pluricentrism, and of networks and connectivity have radically changed the conceptual landscape. ‘Global history’ in its various and contested forms sometimes seems to place the periphery at the centre and sometimes to deny the existence of any such relationship. Networks and connections studies emphasise the subjectivity of these labels and place increasing emphasis on interstitial spaces. And yet, scholars working within all of these debates, aware of the value and nuance they offer, continue also to respond to the model of centre and periphery. Whether because of source bias, structures of academic departments, or current accessibility of sites, certain areas somehow seem peripheral even as we argue for their vital place in the landscape of medieval studies. Other places seem to be in jeopardy, should they lose their ‘central’ status, of losing with it the material underpinnings which make their study possible. In a world of shrinking resources, do we need some citadels around which we can all rally a defence? In the world of modern medieval studies, this round table asks what to do with centre and periphery, whether it remains meaningful and, if so, how it fits with other models available.

Participants include Alexandra Cuffel (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Jonathan Jarrett (University of Leeds), Jakub Kabala (Davidson College, North Carolina), Fraser McNair (University of Cambridge), Daniel Reynolds (University of Birmingham), and Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität Hagen).