The period and regions studieds in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program witnessed an extraordinary range of encounters between peoples and cultures. Some of these (for example, those in the Indian Ocean) are only starting to be recognized and deeply investigated; others (for example, the Mongols) are being examined from new perspectives and using new kinds of evidence and new methods. In these encounters, factors of difference—physical, religious, customary–are not neutral descriptors but play complex roles in social interactions. Invoked to marginalize, categorize, and suppress individuals and groups, they also serve to legitimate (or delegitimate) structures of power, actions, and interactions. On these pages we have gathered together works and other resources that offer starting points for further reading and important perspectives for research in this developing and important field of inquiry. We welcome additions and suggestions.
These pages also bring together resources that seek to reveal and to interrogate critically the ways in which the Middle Ages as an object of study has been appropriated and distorted to provide support for a variety of narratives about race, nation, religion, and cultural superiority. Other studies trace the genealogies of cultural logics and vocabularies into the premodern period that underlie elements of modern racism and exclusionary as well as the often striking differences between the original use and its modern appropriation. Again, we welcome additions and suggestions and look forward to the development of this page.