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Explore the Global Middle Ages with Bloomsbury Medieval Studies

By Jutta Seibert

Folios from a Qur’an Manuscript
in Floriated “New Style” Script.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is a unique collection that blends primary sources and interdisciplinary scholarship with a focus on the global Middle Ages. It features the Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages, an ongoing publication project sponsored by Arc Humanities Press in collaboration with Bloomsbury Academic.

The Encyclopedia offers thematic overviews, primary source analyses, and core case studies. Currently available content includes regional overviews on medieval Korea, Japan, and Mesoamerica and thematic overviews on global connectivity in the early Middle Ages, early medieval migration and mobility, trade connections between Tang China and the Abbasid Caliphate, and queenship. The thematic overview on queenship includes case studies of empresses and queens.

The primary sources featured in the collection were chosen to appeal to a broad academic audience. They encompass a selection of digitized maps, manuscripts and incunabula, and over one thousand images of medieval objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that feature illuminated texts, textiles, jewelry, sculpture, and ceramics. Close to 300 primary texts are available in the collection. The primary texts were selected from carefully edited, translated, and published academic books, such as Classical Writings of the Medieval Islamic World (3 vols.), Primary Sources on Monsters (vol. 2), and the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria. Arabic and other middle Eastern sources are strongly represented.

The scholarship included in the collection aims to be inclusive and offers analyses of peoples and events from all corners of the medieval world. Noteworthy examples include The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta, The Mongols, and A Companion to Global Queenship. The collection offers access to the medieval history volumes from Bloomsbury’s Cultural History series. One of them, A Cultural History of Western Empires in the Middle Ages, features a chapter on Race in the Middle Ages by Cord J. Whitaker who visited Villanova University last Fall to deliver a lecture titled “Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking.”

It also includes seven volumes from the I.B. Tauris Short Histories series including those on Anglo-Saxons, Mongols, and Normans. Digital scholarship is addressed in Meeting the Medieval in a Digital World (M.E. Davis, T. Mahoney-Steel, and E. Turnator, eds., Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and Digital Techniques for Documenting and Preserving Cultural Heritage (A. Bentkowska-Kafel and L. MacDonald, eds., Arc Humanities Press, 2017). Last, but not least, the collection features four special issues of the journal The Medieval Globe:

The Medieval Globe: Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death
(Monica H. Green, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2014)

Legal Encounters on the Medieval Globe
(Elizabeth Lambourn, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2017)

Re-Assessing the Global turn in Medieval Art History: The Medieval Globe
(Christina Normore, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2018)

Seals—Making and Marking Connections Across the Medieval World
(Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2018)

Overall, Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is a well-balanced melange of primary sources and scholarship that revisits familiar themes from new angles and probes new themes from a global perspective.

Access to the collection is available through the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

 


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 



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Regulating Religious Minorities in the Middle Ages

By Jutta Seibert

Two Soldiers Leading Two Moors before a King.

Two Soldiers Leading Two Moors before a King.
Illumination from the Vidal Mayor manuscript, Ms. Ludwig XIV 6, fol. 244.
Courtesy of the Getty Museum Open Content Program.

It is generally accepted that diverse religious groups coexisted in medieval Europe, often in close vicinity, but scholars still dispute whether coexistence was sustained through peaceful or violent means. A rich corpus of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic legal texts archived by the RELMIN project sheds light on the regulation of interfaith relations in the medieval Euro-Mediterranean world.

The project focused the efforts of a dedicated group of scholars on collecting, studying, and publishing ten centuries worth of documents related to the legal status of religious minorities in the Middle Ages. From 2000 to 2015, the project built a database that compiled a unique corpus of legal texts with financial support by the European Research Council.

RELMIN logoThe Advanced Search feature offers a controlled keyword list that takes most of the guesswork out of search term selection. It also offers a format facet that distinguishes between close to fifty different document types, among them legal opinions, hadith, responsa, royal charters, papal bulls, fatwas, and assizes. The documentation for each legal text includes the text in its original language, English and French translations, common English and French titles together with the original title and a descriptive title, known author(s), a reference to the sources from which the original text and the translation(s) were taken, document type, topical keywords, and estimated or known date. Project collaborators contributed historical context and summaries, secondary sources, and, in some cases, a publication history.

The RELMIN database also includes an author index with links to author biographies with cross-references to other texts by the same author. Similarly, the contributors index links to all contributions by collaborating scholars. Dr. Rebecca Winer, Professor of Medieval History at Villanova University, contributed to the archive. There are some signs of neglect such as broken links and images, but the archive is otherwise functional. A tip sheet with detailed instructions can be consulted online.

RELMIN conferences proceedings were published under the series title Religion and Law in Medieval Christian and Muslim Societies in collaboration with Brepols. The proceedings are available in the French open research archive HAL and records with links can be found in the Library’s catalog.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 



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Last Modified: January 28, 2020