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Looking for non-medievalists


This is a post I put up to be findable in the future but also to be circulated in the now, because Rethinking the Medieval Frontier is now getting ready for further action! This project has always been intended to run in three phases, the first being medievalists talking with each other to agree more or less what we think of the frontier as concept and set of practices in our period. We've probably got as far as we're going to with that now, analytically at least, without talking to others, and that gets us to the second phase, which is talking to non-medievalists.

Here's some non-medievalist agreement, on a billon antoninianus of Emperor Aurelian struck at Siscia (now Sisak) 270‒75, New York City, NY, American Numismatic Society, 1948.19.930, images public domain via Mantis
Obverse of billon antoninianus of Emperor Aurelian struck at Siscia 270‒75 Reverse of silvered billon antoninianus of Emperor Aurelian struck at Siscia 270‒75

So, if you've been following us since the beginning or close to, you'll know that this all started with me and Dr Emma Cavell deciding that we found medievalists oddly reluctant actually to compare frontier situations and extract models from them, and also oddly reliant on interpretive frameworks, often quite elderly ones, from other disciplines. Since then I've been trying to do two things. The first is to bring about circumstances in which such comparisons might more fruitfully happen, in which our various sessions at the Leeds International Medieval Congress and our own little conference have been vital and which publication, when I can superintend it, will hopefully complete. The second is to get my own theory-from-other-disciplines a bit more up to date, and you've seen some of the results of that on my thinking here over the last year or so. But now it's time to reach out and check if this all makes sense to anyone else...

Accordingly, I have been compiling a list of people in various disciplines whom I think are doing our kind of work but without our kind of examples, and I'm going to start contacting them and asking if they would like to be low-share, low-commitment co-investigators in a funding bid to get the next phase going. I'm thinking no more than presence at a couple of workshops and maybe reading over some drafts, though if someone wants to get more deeply involved that would also be great. I'm looking at geographers, political scientists, anthropologists and archæologists (though to be fair we have always tried to work with archæologists and are very pleased still to have some aboard), as well as historians of non-medieval and/or non-European interests. You may already be on that list, but if you're reading this, are such a person and you haven't heard from me, and this sounds like your kind of fun, why not contact me? My contact details are on this here institutional page. Then we can talk about what we can do for you and you for us and it should all hopefully be mutually useful...