Figure 1. Is this your Dark Ages? Or this? or this?
by Eileen Joy
So I'm back from Dublin and London and trying to wade through and respond to 500 gadjillion emails [I mean, um, 542 emails], and I have these really interesting messages from Greg Carrier and Susan S. Morrison on medieval disability studies and excrement/waste studies, and how these might intersect with BABEL's ongoing projects, and at the same time, Jeffrey has invited graduate students [including Greg] in medieval disability studies to guest-blog here, and then Susan also sends me a recent essay in The Weekly Standard on our recent Kalamazoo Congress that essentially highlights medieval disability and waste studies as the end of everything good about medieval studies:
A Dark Age for Medievalists
Right on, Greg and Susan: you are both partly responsible for worrying more about "what people thought" about things in the Middle Ages [like disability and excrement] and less about "real" medieval history, and your studies have "little to do with historical or economic facts on the ground." Clearly, the author has not read Greg's post here, right? But why should she? After all, the author was similarly put off by the presence at the Congress of terms such as "heteronormativity" and "hybridity" [sound familiar, dear ITM readers?], and was thrown into absolutely vertiginous intellectual vertigo by "heterosyncracy" [please, dear author, fasten your seatbelt next time]. You have to read this essay to believe it. But don't get upset. Laugh. After all, we're having more fun. Or maybe we're trying to be dead serious but no one "gets" that. So I'll drink to both of those notions.