"Globalizing 'Race before Race'"

Event Date: 

Sunday, April 25, 2021 - 9:00am to 5:00pm

Event Location: 

  • McCune Conference Room
  • Conference

In the past two years, scholars in medieval and early modern studies have been engaged in a critical discussion concerning "race" and its utility as a category of analysis in the premodern world. These discussions have been part and parcel of a broader, more public-facing, effort to foreground the religious and ethnic diversity of medieval Europe in response to the so-called weaponization of the Middle Ages by members of the alt-right seeking to evoke nostalgia for the period by propagating an image of medieval Europe as monocultural and "white." While multiple symposiums have been held in the past few years addressing race in the premodern world, they have tended to be organized by, and chiefly populated by, scholars in Anglophone studies. Our symposium, in contrast, aims to bring together and promote dialogue between scholars working in medieval and early modern Iberia, Central Asia, Mamluk Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, as well as medieval England and Italy. It seeks to bring Iberianists, Islamicists and Europeanists in productive dialogue about race in medieval/early modern studies scholarship.