Retracing the Medieval

Sudipta Sen
UC Davis

This working group addressed the changing definitions and conceptions of the “Medieval” that are deployed in the humanities as a transitive category to mark the tentative spaces between the ancient and the modern. As a socio-temporal adjective, the term “Medieval” surfaces with vastly varying implications across key disciplines in the humanities. The main purpose of this group was to dismantle and reconsider the “Medieval” as a cognate of modernity and also as the tenuous surrogate of the “premodern”. To spark an extended conversation between scholars of literature, history and the visual arts, the group examined and problematized the entwined histories of the medieval and the modern, initiating new exchange among scholars whose work focuses on the relationship between Europe and Asia, early modern Islamic Empires, medieval and early modern literature, medieval art and architecture.