27 September, 2013
The Goths Invade the Academy
Toward the end of the 1970s, concomitant with feminist and poststructuralist approaches to literary and cultural studies, there began an increased interest in studying the reception, recreation, and reinvention of medieval culture in postmedieval times. Largely limited to scholars of literature, linguistics, and history, Medievalism Studies in the English-speaking world began its long path toward institutionalization through the leadership of an independent scholar, Leslie J. Workman, who organized the first conference sections at the International Medieval Congress, founded the journal, Studies in Medievalism, and an annual conference (cum conference proceedings: The Year's Work in Medievalism). By the year 2000, numerous medievalists were using the paradigm to promote presentist agendas to rid themselves of dominant pastist ideologies which insisted on researching the medieval period as a bygone "other" whose facts could be established in Rankean epistemology ("wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"). Today, the "Gothic" impulse in the academy includes the medievalisms in film, video, and computer games, finally linking them to the theories of neomedievalism established by Umberto Eco and political theorists in the 1970s. The journal postmedieval, which features issues on “Cognitive Alterities/Neuromedievalism,” "When Did We Become Post/human?," and “The Medievalism of Nostalgia” (summer 2011), combines codisciplinary professional scholarship with contemporary popular culture, critical theory, and questions about the future of the academy in general.