Medieval and Early American Working Group

The Medieval and Early American Working Group working group seeks to put into conversation two different epochs that are historically contiguous but very rarely studied in conjunction with one another: the Middle Ages and the Early American period. Despite the distance that seems to separate these two fields, they have much in common. Many aspects of medieval culture—serfdom, slavery, the construction of empire, outlawry, but also the resistance to tyranny and a concern with the “common good”—influenced the construction of the same aspects of Early American society. Several shared scholarly concerns, such as the relative lack of archival material and the question of how to give voice to those who did or could not do so themselves, characterize both periods. The group hopes that by placing these periods in conversation with one another, its members can learn how scholars of the two periods approach similar issues in their respective histories and literatures.

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