For nearly two decades, the postcolonial Middle Ages has been one of the fasted growing industries in medieval studies. While, in its early days, the postcolonial Middle Ages was primarily concerned with expanding the medievalist's gaze to the experience of communities that had not hitherto been privileged as the main actors in the grands récits that shaped the Western concept of the medieval, postcolonial ideas, methods and theories are now increasingly being brought into medieval studies in order to re-conceptualize the very idea of the 'Middle Ages' itself, and to question the role that the Middle Ages has played in the identity-formation of the colonizing West as a temporal Other that could be projected onto or reinforced by the colonial Other. This session seeks to explore the potential of the postcolonial Middle Ages to help us re-think the notions of temporality which have contributed to stabilizing Western regimes of power.
The Postcolonial Middle Ages: Problems and Perspectives
Andrew James Johnston (Freie Universität Berlin); Chair: Islam Dayeh (Freie Universität Berlin)
Freie Universität, Raum J24/122d, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin
Andrew James Johnston is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at the Freie Universität Berlin. His interests include medieval ekphrasis, the postcolonial Middle Ages and Shakespeare’s medievalism. His latest monograph is Performing the Middle Ages from Beowulf to Othello (Brepols 2008).