Medievalisms on the Screen III: Digital Medievalisms and the Teaching of History

Juan Manuel  Rubio Arévalo's picture
Call for Papers
February 15, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Digital Humanities, History Education, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Public History, Teaching and Learning

The increase in the production of mass media has a huge impact on the way in which History in general, and the Middle Ages in particular, are apprehended. Although difficult to prove, one could argue that non-specialized audiences tend to shape their understanding of the past through media rather than academic production in books and journals. This has brought both opportunities and challenges. The massification of the Internet has opened new channels for research and for the communication of historical knowledge. Digitalization of sources has allowed more people to research and access precious historical material, and social platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok, among others, have become important sites for casual audiences to find information about the Middle Ages. The success of such channels and profiles points towards a general interest in historical and medieval content, and to the popularity of this form of communication. In fact, social platforms and video games have led to democratization in the production and sharing of historical knowledge, in which people outside of academia comment, debate, and reflect on the past and on how we make history. Indeed, these new technologies and cultural productions have also opened venues for approaching the medieval past in interesting and fun ways, while also providing some potential tools for a more inclusive engagement with the Middle Ages, both historiographically and pedagogically.

However, these new ways of approaching the Middle Ages have come with serious challenges and problems. Arguably the most damaging consequence of the outlined process is the disinformation, manipulation, and weaponization of history. Although the Internet and media have allowed new spaces for historically underrepresented voices to be heard, they also have accommodated reactionary and dangerous groups to propagate images of the medieval past that fuel violent, racist, and xenophobic agendas. In fact, one could argue that the weaponization of history is, in essence, a pedagogical problem about how we research, teach, learn and communicate historical knowledge. Even though these digital spaces have opened new exciting venues to engage with history, they also demand the development of new pedagogical models to avoid the pitfalls that come with these new spaces; this is an urgent debate still taking place.

The purpose of this interdisciplinary conference is to explore the characteristics, opportunities, and challenges brought by the use of digital media, digital humanities, public discourse, and medievalisms in the contemporary communication of historical knowledge both inside and outside of the classroom. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital Humanities
  • Media and accuracy/authenticity
  • Procedurality and gamification
  • Teaching global Middle Ages and medievalisms
  • Digital resources and pedagogy
  • Social media, medievalisms and public discourse
  • Pedagogy, media and political radicalization.
  • Affective structures and the teaching of the Middle Ages
  • Simulation and embodied medieval experiences
  • Gender and race in the teaching of the Middle Ages
  • Fantasy and Sci-fi medievalisms
  • Museums, memory and pedagogy
  • Medieval political histories and their (sub)conscious implications

The conference will take place online on April 13–15, 2023.  Proposals, no longer than 250 words in length for a 20-25 minutes paper, should be sent to the organizers at no later than February 15th, 2023. The full slate of selected papers will be announced within two weeks after the submission deadline.

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