Nostalgia and medievalism around the world

Five historians give us their take on the pervasive presence of nostalgia and medievalism in a global context. From Europe, to China, to Latin America, to Egypt, to the United States and Canada.

AUTHOR: Donna Trembinski & Benjamin Bryce

Medievalism and Nostalgia for the Past in a Global Perspective

Exploring how the medieval world is understood and depicted in the modern is the relatively new subdiscipline of medievalism studies.

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AUTHOR: Donna Trembinski

The Modern University as a Site of Medievalist Nostalgia 

Donna Trembinski discusses the seldom discussed role of medieval nostalgia in North American university culture, from the continued use of caps and gowns at graduation ceremonies to the policing of campuses through internal courts and codes of conducts.

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AUTHOR: Shoufu Yin

The Pseudo-Recognition of Women Warriors in Imperial China and Contemporary Media 

Shoufu Yin discusses the recent increasing salience of Chinese women warriors in popular media, and what we can learn from the phenomenon as writers and teachers of history.

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AUTHOR: Julie Gibbings

Medievalism in Latin America 

Julie Gibbings delves into the role of medievalism in Latin America, discussing how a central narrative depicting “not yet modern” Iberian colonizers as having brought feudalism, despotism and theocracy to the region has made the concept a central and ongoing locus for political debate within the region.

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AUTHOR: Robert Zecker

Grandma Stole the American Dream: Immigrants, Nostalgia, and the Myth of a Pure America

Robert Zecker discusses the role of a “sanctified myth” of the arrival of ancestors bringing notions of liberty, self sacrifice and innate American patriotism by current nativist currents in the United States putting forth anti-immigrant sentiment.

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AUTHOR: Sara Ann Knutson

Excavating the Nostalgia of Archaeology in Moon Knight 

Sara Ann Knuston delves into recent representations of archaeology in Ancient Egyptian sites, discussing both Disney’s recent TV series “Moon Knight” and National Geographic’s documentary “Lost Treasures of Egypt” and the role of popular cultural representations in shaping both public understandings of a field and the discipline’s execution itself.

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Join the conversation

To join the conversation, including to propose a new topic for this forum, write to Dr. Benjamin Bryce, University of British Columbia.