Medievalists Respond to Charlottesville

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Prompted by the recent events in Charlottesville, the Medieval Academy of America put out a statement condemning white supremacist activity. The statement, signed on by nine other Medieval Studies organizations, condemns inaccurate and racist appropriations of medieval history by white supremacists in the United States. The statement decries the harms such appropriations have and continue to cause:

As scholars of the medieval world we are disturbed by the use of a nostalgic but inaccurate myth of the Middle Ages by racist movements in the United States. By using imagined medieval symbols, or names drawn from medieval terminology, they create a fantasy of a pure, white Europe that bears no relationship to reality. This fantasy not only hurts people in the present, it also distorts the past.

After a summer of intense debate about the continuing role of medieval studies in propping up the very nostalgia condemned here, today’s statement stands as a reminder of medievalists’ longstanding and continuing dedication to enriching today’s society through careful study of the medieval past.

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