25 April, 2010

Reviews & Responses: Manifesto

"In the wake of such tragedies such as the Charlottesville murder of an Anti-fascist activist and the sustained and visible bastardization of medieval iconography, progressive websites such as In the Middle, The Public Medievalist, and the Babel Working Group have found new ground and revitalized the debate around what an honest scholar should and shouldn’t strive for when their field is under attack. Utz’s manifesto, then, takes the just side of the debate and argues against a racist encapsulation of the Middle Ages." The (Pop)Culture Medievalist

"Drawing particular awareness to the autobiographical element in any scholarship, the US-based medievalist fruitfully utilises his German background for the conflation of case studies from different cultural areas. Moving on from the reflection upon his own academic background, he compiles a variety of examples, both from the field of scholarship and popular culture, in order to demonstrate how intensified cooperation between these allegedly distinct spheres might eventually instigate deeper engagement with ‘the Middle Ages’ on any possible level." J.A. von Nahl, Lingua Americana

"Spitzt sich eine Krise zu, verspricht ein Manifest Orientierung. So versteht auch Utz sein Medievalism. A Manifesto. Er sieht die streng akademischen Medieval Studies seit Jahren auf dem Rückzug, während gleichzeitig die Zahl der Mittelalterinteressierten wächst und sich neben Filmen und Comics die Sphäre der Fernsehserien und Computerspiele erschlossen hat. Medievalism, der auch interessierten Nicht-Mediävisten und Laien offen steht, wird von den akademischen Forschern mit Geringschätzung betrachtet und mit Nichtachtung gestraft, wenngleich jene Außenseiter erhebliche Erkenntniszuwächse zu liefern vermögen. Neben anderen nennt Utz als herausragendstes Beispiel die Arbeit an der Burg Guédelon, einem Vorhaben in praktisch-experimenteller Mittelalterforschung, die wichtige Aufschlüsse bezüglich der damaligen Bautätigkeit liefert." Georg Festerling, Archiv

Medievalism: A Manifesto is well-argued, inspiring, and also timely, as its immediately sold-out first print run indicates. This book is for the scholars who need to shed their guilt over ‘cheating’ on their scholarship by indulging in fun medievalism; it’s for the grad students who need to be reminded of what inspired them to first set foot in our field; it’s for the department chairs who are wondering how to make their departments ‘more relevant’. In other words, Medievalism: A Manifesto is a must-read for anyone in our field, and a rallying cry for scholars in general to harness the power of public platforms to better society. If you need a quick read to relight your fire, this is it.” Danièle Cybulskie,

“Utz is the scholar/teacher as rabble rouser, in the very best sense of the term—though some of the rabble are his own colleagues in the academy. He argues for a fresh approach to a new topic in a way that embraces not just the academy but also larger audiences with their own distinctive views of and responses to what we call the medieval.” – Kevin J. Harty, La Salle University

“[Medievalism: A Manifesto] is a great little book—deliberately accessible, off-beat, and provocative. […] Importantly, it really is a book with messages for all medievalists, not just those already consciously engaged more narrowly with the reception of medieval history and culture.” – James Palmer, University of St Andrews; “On Utz’s Medievalism Manifesto,” online at Merovingian World

“Im vorliegenden Manifest – das in einem halben Dutzend Kernsätzen mündet – erscheint dieses Plädoyer aber ungewohnt intensiv, und das liegt vor allem daran, dass Utz sich nicht zum vermeintlich objektiv-neutralen Kommentator emporschwingt, sondern seinen Werdegang als ‚medievalist‘ und ‚medievalism-ist‘ eng mit seiner privaten Biographie verknüpft. Dabei gereicht ihm zum Vorteil, dass er auf lange Erfahrung einerseits im deutschen, andererseits im US-amerikanischen Universitätssystem und auf entsprechende Einsicht auch in beide Gesellschaften blicken kann.” – Jan Alexander von Nahl,

“This book—especially its final chapter, which comprises the real ‘manifesto’ of the volume—should be required reading for every medieval studies Ph.D., and taped to the door of many a public history professor.” – Paul B. Sturtevant, The Public Medievalist

Medievalism: A Manifesto aims to do nothing less than to reform the ways in which we think about academic engagement with the Middle Ages, and with medievalism as a whole. […] [Utz presents] a fundamental, challenging, and difficult intervention aimed squarely at those who may not want to listen, and who, for that precise reason, most urgently need to do so.” – Andrew B. R. Elliott, University of Lincoln; Arthuriana.