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Medieval studies

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Medieval studies is the academic interdisciplinary study of the Middle Ages.


The term 'medieval studies' began to be adopted by academics in the opening decades of the twentieth century, initially in the titles of books like G. G. Coulton's Ten Medieval Studies (1906), to emphasize a greater interdisciplinary approach to a historical subject. In American and European universities the term provided a coherent identity to centres composed of academics from a variety of disciplines including archaeology, art history, architecture, history, literature and linguistics. The Institute of Mediaeval Studies at St. Michael's College of the University of Toronto became the first centre of this type in 1929;[1] it is now the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) and is part of the University of Toronto. It was soon followed by the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, which was founded in 1946 but whose roots go back to the establishment of a Program of Medieval Studies in 1933.[2] As with many of the early programs at Roman Catholic institutions, it drew its strengths from the revival of medieval scholastic philosophy by such scholars as Étienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain, both of whom made regular visits to the university in the 1930s and 1940s.

With university expansion in the late 1960s and early 1970s encouraging interdisciplinary cooperation, similar centres were established in England at University of Reading (1965), at University of Leeds (1967) and the University of York (1968), and in the United States at Fordham University (1971).[3] A more recent wave of foundations, perhaps helped by the rise of interest in things medieval associated with neo-medievalism, include centres at King's College London (1988),[4] the University of Bristol (1994), the University of Sydney (1997)[5] and Bangor University (2005).[6]

Medieval studies is buoyed by a number of annual international conferences which bring together thousands of professional medievalists, including the International Congress on Medieval Studies, at Kalamazoo MI, U.S., and the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds.[7] There are a number of journals devoted to medieval studies, including: Mediaevalia, Comitatus, Viator, Traditio, Journal of Medieval History, Journal of Medieval Military History, and Speculum, an organ of the Medieval Academy of America founded in 1925 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[8]

Centres for Medieval studies[edit]

Many Centres / Centers for Medieval Studies exist, usually as part of a university or other research and teaching facility. Some notable ones include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ H. Damico, J. B. Zavadil, D. Fennema, and K. Lenz, Medieval Scholarship: Philosophy and the arts: biographical studies on the formation of a discipline (Taylor & Francis, 1995), p. 80.
  2. ^ MI History, University of Notre Dame
  3. ^ G. McMullan and D. Matthews, Reading the medieval in early modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 231.
  4. ^ "King's College London - About us". Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  5. ^ D. Metzger and L. J. Workman, Medievalism and the academy II: cultural studies (Boydell & Brewer, 2000), p. 18.
  6. ^ G. McMullan and D. Matthews, Reading the medieval in early modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 231.
  7. ^ W. D. Padenm The Future of the Middle Ages: medieval literature in the 1990s (University Press of Florida, 1994), p. 23.
  8. ^ A. Molho, and G. S. Wood, Imagined histories: American historians interpret the past (Princeton University Press, 1998), p. 238.

External links[edit]

Library guides to Medieval studies