August 2015

The discussions in FORUM V activate at a time of increasing challenges for humanities scholars operating in the modern university. Funding is scarce and questions of value have begun to emanate from within institutions themselves. At the same time, opportunities for publicising medieval studies are but a few clicks away and there is increasing recognition of audiences whose engagement with the Middle Ages are shaped outside of learned culture.

The contributions featured in the fifth FORUM for postmedieval create a space within this context to think through a burgeoning public Middle Ages. This conversation follows upon panels at Kalamazoo and the International Medieval Congress at Leeds. In her Introduction, Holly Crocker highlights some of the key questions explored by our contributors: “[W]hy, we might ask, are such learned scholars going public with their renderings of the medieval past?… If we’ve lost our institutional public, mightn’t we find or forge new ones?” and yet “… don’t we facilitate the erosion of the humanities if we give up on the university as an intellectual home that provides institutional backing for our study of the Middle Ages?” She also invites readers to confront the difficulty of contemporary scholarship that is “the pressure to be in public in all our academic endeavors: should I blog, tweet, or post? Do I need to write articles, stories, or books that reach a popular audience? Do I become an intellectual or political interventionist? If the answer to any of this is ‘yes,’ is the answer to all of it ‘yes’?”

We welcome your thoughts and comments on the topics discussed and invite you to comment to continue the discussion.


Introduction: The Public Middle Ages
Holly A. Crocker

Marion Turner

A Social Media Strategy for Medievalists (Seven Theses)
Brantley L. Bryant

The Digital Middle Ages
Kathleen E. Kennedy

There is No Public Middle Ages, There is No Public History
Matthew Gabriele

Public Medievalism and the Common Life
Bruce Holsinger

Unsticking Time
Leila K. Norako

The Disorientation of Writing as a Public Medievalist
David Perry

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