by JONATHAN HSY
My #MLA17 "hot take" for medievalists: we all have to STEP UP.
Look at what the professional organizations and most prestigious journals in earlier historical periods are doing. The Society for Classical Studies has a leadership statement against racism and its major conference featured a politically urgent plenary (had to be delivered by proxy) by a prominent scholar who is also an undocumented immigrant; the most recent issue of Shakespeare Quarterly addresses early modern race and Shakespeare reception with essays by ethnic minority academics; the Shakespeare Association of America has an annual social for Scholars of Color (and allies).* We as a discipline and a community need to unambiguously stand up against white nationalism and the abuse of the past -- especially in a field that fuels racist fantasies. Medieval studies is not just about the past; it must build a better future.
*Note also a AIA-SCS session on immigration (organized by the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups) and Affiliated group for Classics and Social Justice with a CFP for 2018; the linked SAA program schedule features among other things a plenary on the "Color of Membership" but the SOC social is not yet listed.
For an AFFIRMING thread broadcasting the many things we ARE doing in medieval studies (rather than just calling out what we "oppose"), check out this public thread at BABEL Futures.
Any other efforts, schemes, affirmations, hortatory speeches, or news you'd like to share? Add to the comment thread below (it's moderated, so please be patient!)