14 July, 2017

Featured in, on Game of Thrones

Olivia Waxman recently interviewed several medievalists (including yours truly) for on the role of Game of Thrones for the field of medieval studies:

“Most [institutions] would say that they don’t have to pay you $120,000 a year to talk about Game of Thrones," echoes Richard Utz, President of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism, who argued on Friday in an Inside Higher Ed op-ed that medieval studies departments should beware of relying too heavily on Game of Thrones (which is, after all, still just a work of fantasy) as a recruitment tool. Those within the field disagree over whether it's proper to contextualize the original medieval texts within anything but their own original medieval world, and traditionally the answer has been that it is not.
But that dynamic may be changing too, Utz notes, with scholars seeking new ways of doing their work. "My personal theory is that a certain way of doing scholarship had exhausted itself," he says. "Most of the major medieval texts had been edited. The question had been, 'What now?'”

Game of Thrones among the Medievalists

Recently published a short piece, "Game of Thrones Among the Medievalists," in Inside Higher Ed:

"In May, Olivia B. Waxman reported for Time magazine on a fall 2017 class to be taught at Harvard University. The class is called The Real Game of Thrones: From Modern Myths to Medieval Models and will be collaboratively taught by Sean Gilsdorf, a medieval historian, and Racha Kirakosian, a specialist in German studies and religion. Waxman’s short article is part of a veritable media avalanche readying us for the beginning of season seven of the successful HBO series July 16. After all, GoT airs in more than 170 countries, has won more Emmys than any other prime-time series and is simply “the world’s most popular show” ever.
With their field suffering from the significant downward drift in student interest for humanities disciplines in the last decade, some medievalists have been eager to embrace the exceptional popularity of GoT." ...

09 July, 2017

Game of Thrones Presentation Posters: Compare and Contrast

It's pretty clear that, in the process of researching and writing this presentation, I moved toward a position more critical of how medievalists latch on to Game of Thrones which, after all is "neomedievalist" at best, and perhaps even just "premodern".

30 June, 2017

Three new reviews in Medievally Speaking

Medievally Speaking recently published three reviews

Parker, Joanne, ed. The Harp and the Constitution: Myths of Celtic and Gothic Origin. Leiden: Brill, 2016. Reviewed by Máire Johnson; curated by Michael Evans.

and a double feature:

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie, © Warner Brothers Entertainment, 2017.  Reviewed by Usha Vishnuvajjalaand also reviewed by Kevin J. Harty.

22 June, 2017

Manifesto reviewed in

Detailed response to Medievalism: A Manifesto, published in

"Darin liegt fraglos die Stärke dieses Beitrags: Einerseits hält Utz dem internationalen Kollegium den Spiegel vor, ohne sich selbst aus der Reflexion auszublenden, andererseits nimmt der unprätentiöse Blick über konstruierte Grenzen hinweg auch ein Laienpublikum ernst. Kuchenbuch sprach 2004 von einer „sublimierten Spiegelbildlichkeit von Mediävalismus und Mediävistik“, im Sinne der „Kopplung des gesellschaftlich relevanten ‚Forschungsinteresses‘ (Thema) mit der operativ angemessenen ‚Fragestellung‘ (Methode)“. David Matthews bezeichnete ‚medievalism‘ 2015 schlicht als „undiscipline“. Auch für Utz ist die „productive uncertainty“ des Zusammenspiels von Mittelalterstudien und Mediävalismus eine Kernidee – eine Unschärfe, die über alle Disziplin- und Kulturgrenzen hinweg wirkt, ohne die interessierte Öffentlichkeit einseitig zu bevormunden oder der Wissenschaft ihre Wissenschaftlichkeit zu nehmen. Nur zulassen muss man diese Unschärfe eben.

Dieses Zulassen und Einlassen zum gegenseitigen Nutzen von Fachwelt und Öffentlichkeit als Dokument persönlicher Überzeugung vorgelegt zu haben, ist Utz anzurechnen. Mag man sein Manifest als genuine Streitschrift verstehen oder als souveräne Zusammenfassung, einen weiteren Gedanken ist es fraglos wert. Denn Utz‘ Fallstudien streuen zwar räumlich und zeitlich, sein daran anknüpfendes Plädoyer lässt sich aber mühelos für das Hier und Jetzt aktualisieren. Die Stimme der deutschsprachigen Geschichtsspezialisten, die die gesellschaftliche Orientierungsfunktion ihres Tuns ja doch irgendwie stolz-schweigend voraussetzen, scheint mir angesichts der herausfordernden letzten Jahre doch meist sehr leise oder sehr verklausuliert gewesen zu sein. Utz‘ Manifest liefert nun all jenen etwas im wahrsten Sinne Handgreifliches, die auf ihre alten oder jungen Tage den Ausbruch aus erstarrten Denk- und Verhaltensmustern versuchen wollen. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass die deutschsprachige Mediävistik daran anzuknüpfen weiß."  To read the full review: CLICK HERE

04 May, 2017

DH & DESIGN Symposium hosted as part of LMC's DILAC

Our Digital Integrated Liberal Arts Center hosted fantastic Digital Humanities & Design Symposium, expertly organized by Carl DiSalvo and Lauren Klein (both LMC), and we heard keynotes by Tony Dunne (From Technological Futures to Alternative Worldviews) and Kelly Baker Josephs (Caribbean Considerations: Audience and Access in Digital Humanities); and by Anne Burdick (Digital Humanities Design Questions) and Jentery Sayers (Is Design Bad for Media History?); roundtables on 1) A design brief for the digital humanities, with Jessica Marie Johnson, Matt Ratto, Daniela Rosner, Rachel Sagner Buurma, Joycelyn Wilson; 2) The idea of speculation as theorized in DH and Design, with Ian Bogost, Susana Morris, Molly Wright Steenson, Whitney Trettien; and 3) The role of social justice in DH and Design, with Alexandrina Agloro, Mimi Onuoha, Miriam Posner, Juan Carlos Rodriguez; and various workshops including all participants. 

29 April, 2017

James Dean Young Memorial Awards Dinner

Some impressions from this year's James Dean Young Memorial Awards Dinner, during which LMC honors some of our best students and postdoctoral fellows. And all of it happened on the 25th floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Midtown.

25 April, 2017

Digital Integrated Liberal Arts Center Showcase

Great projects today at the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC) Showcase. These creative interdisciplinary projects show how the Digital Humanities and Digital Civics bring professors and undergraduate students together to answer complex research questions:
  • Understanding the Syrian Refugee Crisis
  • VIP Project on Digital Deliberation
  • Sweet Auburn, The Birthplace of Ideas
  • Exploring Data and Documentary with the Latino Community in Buford Highway
  • GT TAP: Technical Arts Practicum at Georgia Tech
  • REUL Lab: Responsible End-User Licensing
  • Ivan Allen Archive Digitization Project

Paul Sturtevant reviews my Manifesto

Absolutely delighted by Paul Sturtevant's review of my Medievalism: A Manifesto for The Public Medievalist. A long time ago, I sent a copy of my first book on Literary Nominalism in the Late Middle Ages to Heiko Oberman. He sent me a hand-written response, in which told me he really enjoyed reading it, but that my own methodology was based on the very 'medieval realism' I claimed William of Ockham and Geoffrey Chaucer had overcome, ushering in modernity. Touché. -- Now Paul shows how I am advocating to include broader audiences for our work, but I do so (at least in part) in all too polysyllabic prose. Message received! And then Paul encourages me to write another book, and one directed not to fellow medievalists. -- That's a big challenge.

06 April, 2017

LMC's recent public footprints

My colleagues' various recent public humanities activities:

The AJC recently reviewed The Museum Of Design Atlanta's exhibit Food by Design: Sustaining the Future. The exhibit features projects from Carl DiSalvo's Public Design Workshop. For our GT Press release, see HERE.

Rebecca Burnett and Jillann Hertel both recently won a Woman of Distinction Award given by GT's Women's Leadership Conference, in the categories of "faculty" and "staff," respectively. This means that LMC this year won two of the five campus-wide awards provided by the WLC. Congrats to Jillann and Rebecca (the great photograph of the two awardees is ©William Jeffries)!

Brittain fellow Caroline Young recently published a piece in WCP's TECHStyle, discussing her collaboration with Poetry@Tech in her classroom. You can access her essay HERE. As you know, TECHStyle content is often picked up and disseminated by media and colleagues worldwide.

Assignment for my Medieval Atlanta class...

Based on your reading of W. Scott's Ivanhoe (1819), respond to Scott Horton's 2007 (Harper's Magazine) statement:

"No doubt you learned in grade school that it started at Fort Sumter and that slavery and states’ rights had something to do with it. But no. The Civil War sprang with fully loaded double-barrels from the pages of Ivanhoe. No doubt about it."

04 April, 2017

Cupid at the Castle @ The Public Medievalist

As part of my ongoing quest to engage with extra-academic audiences, here is a piece recently published with Paul Sturtevant's The Public Medievalist. It tells the story of an Atlanta castle, built in 1904 and currently a site for many Atlanta weddings. The Middle Ages are not dead, we are in their midst.

30 March, 2017

Race, Racism, and the Middle Ages @ The Public Medievalist

Questions of race/-ism have emerged over recent years as essential for a comprehensive picture and history of medievalism. Most recently, Paul B. Sturtevant and his team at The Public Medievalist have provided us with a wealth of thought for our research, scholarship, and teaching in a special series on Race, Racism, and the Middle Ages. Contributors include the mysterious Dr. Dark Age, but also Andrew B. R. Elliott, James M. Harland, Marianne O'Doherty, Clare Vernon, Helen Young, Luca Asmonti, Eric Weiskott, Chapurukha Kusimba, and of course Paul himself. Highly recommended reading for you, your students, and the general public. Please share widely.

26 March, 2017

Recently reviewed Earth, by J.J. Cohen and L.T. Elkins-Tanton

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, and Linda T. Elkins-Tanton. Earth. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.

For several years, I have now been thinking about how to define, practice and encourage “co-disciplinarity”. I had grown tired of “cross-”, “trans-”, and especially “inter-”, which have all been (ab)used into meaninglessness by those who applied a little dose of philosophy to explain a novel, a smidgen of psychoanalysis to explain a film, etc., but almost always by reducing the ‘second’ discipline to an auxiliary status.