Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Quote of the day

Because the very basic idea that history lives, that even distant and relatively unexplored times and places are relevant to twentieth-century American lives, suggests sites of cultural relation that are unpredictable, uncontrollable ... we can forge dynamic relations to the past, even the distant or unfamiliar past, even if at present we do not know where such relations will lead ... using ideas of the past, creating relations with the past, touching in this way the past in our efforts to build selves and communities now and into the future. (Carolyn Dinshaw, Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern 177, 206)

That was published in 1999, though I first heard it on the conference circuit several years earlier. I had believed that this line of thinking was best being realized in postcolonial medieval studies, but the recent collection on television, politics and the Middle Ages for which I've been composing the afterword convinces me that its ripples are considerably more extensive.

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