Reinterpreting the Middle Ages: From Medieval to Neo

New Academic Series, edited by Emma J. Wells and Claire Kennan. (Publisher: Brepols).


The aim of the Series is to provide a publication platform for interdisciplinary studies of the Middle Ages; that is, research which analyses the impact and approaches to the study of the medieval era from its origins to the present day in order to create a unique dialogue between scholars, professionals, and practitioners. In moving away from traditional approaches, and towards the inter- and multi-disciplinary, the premise is to gain a snapshot of how (and why) the Middle Ages have been formed and are perceived across copious platforms as well as over vast periods of change across countries, boundaries, and borders; to continue driving and moulding this innovation through examinations of the phenomenon/ movement (in traditional or ‘neo-’form), its historiography, representation, image, presentation, approach, and pedagogies.

The Series offers radical, exciting, informed, and innovative readings of the importance and prominence of the Middle Ages in the twenty-first century, how and why its significance has endured since the post-medieval era and, most importantly, how critical curiosity of the era has been received, imagined, invoked, used, abused, and refashioned in the Medieval, Early Modern, Modern and Contemporary periods. Rich collisions and fresh perspectives reveal ideas and exercises across centuries of practice and provide a new set of reference points that reframe the ‘medieval’ itself thereby presenting a fresh, broad, and representative picture of the deep connections between the modern and pre-modern world.

Titles will cover all forms of engagement with the more emerging field of neo-medievalism—at least as a revivalist subdiscipline over the last two generations—from the academy to modern pedagogies and constructs in popular culture from a multitude of fields, including history, art, architecture, archaeology, literature, musicology, public engagement and interpretation, digital humanities and heritage. Welcoming burgeoning topics such as film and television, video games, social media, performing arts/cinema/drama, and particularly education, race, gender and decolonisation, as well as traditional approaches including historiography and renaissance/revival studies, it is based on the premise that the Middle Ages should be cultivated within and expanded beyond the academy, and thereby bring the media, education, popular, historical, and political discourses, into an engagement and dialogue with the past.

This Series calls for contributions from those who wish to examine the dynamics of the medieval/neomedieval in the realms of representational, perceptual, pedagogical and historiographical practice over the last 1,500 years (i.e., defining the ‘medieval’ as 500-1530 but the study of ‘neo/medievalism’ as from 500 to the present). The emphasis will be on the practical outworking of the period of the Middle Ages and its impact on the academy (in scholarly terms and edificational) and within popular culture and historic society, as we explore exactly what scholars and professionals now mean by the Middle Ages. The scope of this Series is largely global. We welcome contributions in the English language from both English-speaking and non-English speaking countries. Contributions are particularly warmly welcome from outside Continental Europe, notably Asia, South America, and Africa. The study of the era has faced criticisms of Anglo‐centricism as well as hostility from some historians thanks to the doubts its practitioners raise over established delineations between scholarly and creative depictions of the medieval period. Indeed, in the simplest sense, ‘médiévalisme’ is not often used in a similar manner to the English definition when encountered in French,[1] and becomes even more difficult in additional languages. Thus, this new Series offers a much‐needed challenge to the calcified disciplinary boundaries that shape academia/medieval studies today and decidedly promotes the sub-discipline of transatlantic and post-colonial medievalism—or the variations in the medievalisms of varying nations, epochs and cultures—and its inherent theme of borders, peripheries and shifting concepts across cultural and geographical traditions. Monographs are thus also sought from contributors who may wish to examine changes to the periodic and disciplinary definition, particularly in contemporary society, and thus its dynamism in modern pedagogies.

What is Medieval?: Decoding Approaches to the Medieval and Medievalism in the 21st Century (eds.), Emma J. Wells and Claire Kennan (contracted/in press, 2023).

And see the Call for Submissions if you think your monograph or edited collection may be suited to the series: