Home .

Repertorio

spaceleft Mappa Biblioteca Calendario Didattica E-Book Memoria Repertorio Rivista spaceright
RICERCA
INDICE

 

An Overview of Research Infrastructure for Medieval Studies in the United States: Associations, Institutes, and Universities

by Zan Kocher

[version 2.0 - Agosto 2012]

© 2012 - Zan Kocher per "Reti Medievali"
ISSN 1593-2214




Introduction and Purpose

1. Medieval Studies in the U.S. is a vast set of interconnected scholarly enterprises, highly diverse in their subject areas, methods, and styles. They are geographically scattered so widely that one of our principal difficulties is isolation from one another and from centers of information, within the country as well as internationally. In this context, a large, loose network of associations and institutions connects us across distances. A second, related network of data-sharing projects, too, provides crucial information as we decide where to study, what to read, how to teach, whom to contact, and where to publish. Here I will offer a brief overview of American resources for these purposes, with web links to materials principally located or catalogued digitally in the U.S.A. I hope that the present article will make American medievalist resources better accessible to colleagues from Italy and other parts of the world, and encourage research by scholars who wish to study in the U.S., as well as those who are using the Internet to seek printed or digital materials for their teaching or their research. So many of our projects are international that it would be impossible to impose a simple division between what is American and what is not, but I will mention principally those based in the U.S. This does not attempt to be a comprehensive “best of the Internet” survey of resources worldwide, but rather is designed to be read alongside the analogous articles organized country by country in the Repertorio section of Reti Medievali: Iniziative on line per gli studi medievistici.

2. Here I will take Medieval Studies as the scholarly investigation of human cultures and the natural world from about the fifth century through the fifteenth. The much-debated term “medieval” usually refers to Europe and the Mediterranean, so the present article centers mainly on these regions, although obviously scholars of the same period also conduct research on Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.

3. Each year, new topics and approaches emerge, and research increasingly crosses older disciplinary boundaries. Many of us create courses and ask questions that unite traditional disciplines or that fall outside them. Medievalist subfields being combined or reconsidered include agriculture, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, codicology, comparative literature, demographics, dialectology, disability studies, economics, environmental studies, ethnobotany, folklore, foodways, gay and lesbian studies, gender studies, genetics, historic preservation, history of countless kinds, iconography, languages, law, lexicography, library science, linguistics, literature, medicine, musicology, numismatics, onomastics, paleography, patristics, pharmacology, philology, philosophy, politics, prosopography, religions, rural studies, science and technology, sexuality studies, sigillography, textile studies, theology, urban studies, and women’s studies. In addition to academic disciplines, or instead of these, scholars may delineate their fields by period and/or geographic area, and focus on a particular theme, text, artifact, site, person, group, language, dialect, religion, social movement, or cultural practice. This broad range of subjects and approaches is reflected in the variety of smaller scholarly societies discussed in §19-23 below.

4. By way of estimating the number of medievalists in the country, there are about 4,200 individual members of the Medieval Academy of America, according to its listing with the American Council of Learned Societies. Among us are professors or instructors at universities, four-year colleges, two-year colleges or community colleges, and high schools; librarians and curators of art, artifact, manuscript, print, and digital collections; editors and staff of scholarly presses; and independent scholars who publish on medieval subjects. The majority of US medievalists earn a living by teaching, often in one or more subjects outside this area of specialization. Also, there are students at all levels, such as graduate students in master’s and doctoral programs, and undergraduates at colleges and universities.




Resources

Medievalists at American Universities

5. Among the universities whose faculty members have most distinguished themselves for medievalist teaching and research are Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Michigan, and Western Michigan University. These include some of the country’s best-endowed and most prestigious schools, that also house excellent academic libraries, major academic journals and presses, and institutes and research centers. All but two of the above are located in or near large cities. At the same time, it is worth remembering that most of the country’s medievalists work at less elite institutions. Famous schools are far outnumbered by more modest ones, with many located in smaller cities and towns.

6. Americans’ teaching of medieval subjects varies considerably in approach and content, especially at universities, where instructors usually have some freedom to design and update the particular courses that their departments assign them to teach. Two common types of class are the introductory survey and the advanced seminar. Surveys are designed to give undergraduate students an overview of history, or music, religion, literature, art history, and so on, for a time span such as the Middle Ages, or the medieval period and Renaissance, or even from Antiquity to the present. A professor has to prioritize radically when choosing course materials that would represent a millennium of history, or more, for a class lasting three or four months — all the more so because this task inevitably becomes multidisciplinary. Usually students spend time studying both primary (medieval) works and secondary ones (modern studies), then demonstrate their knowledge by taking exams and writing papers. In contrast to broad surveys, seminars focus more narrowly and deeply on a particular author, artist, text, body of work, movement, or subject. Smaller classes allow advanced students more opportunity to discuss their ideas, give oral presentations that may resemble conference papers, develop original research projects, then write papers that (at best) resemble academic articles. Americans value originality, expecting good students to articulate their own observations, in both types of courses.

7. Increasingly, U.S. universities are using web sites for classes — as repositories of materials that students should read, see, or hear, and/or as a medium of instruction — but most classes’ online presence is limited to the universities’ intranet, inaccessible to the public. Only a small proportion of course syllabi appear on the open Internet. Nonetheless, when one is planning to teach a new course, it is valuable to find examples of syllabi that are available online, in order to compare the ways colleagues at other schools have taught the same sort of class. Free online resources for teaching, such as public-domain primary texts in modern translations, are available at sites made for the purpose, such as the Perseus Digital Library, The Labyrinth, Exploring Ancient World Cultures, Voice of the Shuttle, and Paul Halsall’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook, as well as the general multilingual repositories of books described in §41 below. For ideas about pedagogy, see also the publications and events of the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages (TEAMS), articles catalogued in the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), and journals such as Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching.

University Departments and Interdisciplinary Research

8. Because U.S. universities generally offer a choice among “elective” courses, students can adapt programs of study to their particular intellectual interests, regardless of what the home department and diploma are called. With guidance by academic advisors, graduates have personalized their curricula through their choice of classes, reading, research projects, conference attendance, study abroad, thesis and dissertation topics, and other projects. The majority of graduates in Medieval Studies in the U.S. have completed a degree program bearing the name of a traditional-sounding field such as History, Music, Languages, English, Archaeology, Anthropology, Classics, Philosophy, Art History, or Religious Studies. Universities still tend to be organized in administrative units such as these, representing disciplines established in previous centuries.

9. Except at the largest schools, a single medievalist professor (if any) typically works in each humanities department. This dispersion of specialists within an academy is a structural expression of the value of teaching: it helps to make a wide range of course offerings available for students within each department. However, it does not inherently reflect or serve the research interests of professors or students themselves. As a partial remedy, interdisciplinary programs in Medieval Studies can encourage researchers to become acquainted, and students to take classes, across the partially arbitrary yet influential boundaries that separate academic departments within the same university. Programs in Medieval Studies at the undergraduate level (as a minor, or as a bachelor of arts degree) and graduate levels (usually as a master of arts or a doctor of philosophy degree, or as a certificate) tend to be not departments in their own right, but rather are composed of courses located in traditional departments or cross-listed among them. Their faculty members’ administrative “homes” are elsewhere in the university. The best-established programs additionally offer a colloquium or public lecture series, and perhaps local scholarships or awards.

10. Doctoral programs called “Medieval Studies” are relatively few, at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana; Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; the University of Connecticut in Storrs; and the University of Texas at Austin. Other doctoral programs combine a degree in a traditional department with an added mention of Medieval Studies, such as at the University of California, Berkeley, or offer a doctorate in Medieval History, such as Fordham University in New York City and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Some have an especially adaptable curriculum, such the University of Wisconsin-Madison where an M.A. or Ph.D. in Medieval Studies is made possible by a “Special Committee Degree” option. Most of the above universities integrate master’s-level and doctoral work in a single cursus, such as at Yale, where a Master of Arts degree in Medieval Studies is designed to be followed usually by doctoral work, and where a Master of Philosophy degree gives a year of interdisciplinary coursework in Medieval Studies to graduate students from other departments.

11. Other schools have set up free-standing master’s degrees, such as the M.A. in Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, or at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Still others house an M.A. in Medieval Studies within a department of history, such as at Boston College, or within Liberal Studies, as at Columbia University in New York City. Georgetown University in Washington, DC, gives an M.A. in medieval and early-modern European studies; the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has M.A. and PhD concentrations in European history before 1600; and many other universities offer their own configurations. Bachelor of Arts programs are too numerous to account for here, but a partial list of them is in the Data Project of the Medieval Academy of America’s Committee on Centers and Regional Associations, along with contact information for over a hundred centers, programs, committees, and regional associations in the U.S., as well as international affiliates.

12. It would be impossible not to mention that a significant number of U.S. medievalists have received advanced training abroad. Most notably, the eminent Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto influences the North American field via its graduate programs, as well as its medieval Latin courses and its publications.

How We Stay Connected

13. Many researchers participate in international listservs, email lists that provide an inexpensive, archivable means of group correspondence, such as for asking and answering queries, announcing new publications, planning conference sessions, and continuing discussions after a meeting. A directory of more than sixty listservs closes the collection of Medieval and Renaissance web sites assembled by Kirstin Noreen and Maribel Dietz at Louisiana State University, and Edwin Duncan of Towson University has compiled another list of online Medieval Academic Discussion Groups. Some listservs are maintained by scholarly associations, grow into them, or develop out of them.

National Organizations

14. Large U.S.-based organizations whose purviews include the Middle Ages within a longer period are the American Historical Association, the Modern Language Association, and the College Art Association. Medievalists and modernists alike can present papers and meet in person for job interviews at the large annual conventions of these associations. The national societies publish academic journals and books, disburse scholarships and prizes, and articulate best practices for the corresponding field of endeavor. Whereas some of our colleagues have organized societies by the continent under study, as with the African Studies Association, the Association for Asian Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, there is no comparable umbrella group for European Studies or Mediterranean Studies. Instead, as the particulars below will show, associations promoting the study of these areas are divided by period, region, or subject. Also, of course, many U.S. medievalists participate in international organizations, mainly exceeding the scope of this article.

15. The country’s two largest organizations for medievalists are the venerable Medieval Academy of America housed in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and the lively Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their work is all the more valuable because most regions of the U.S. lack the kinds of strong centralized institutes that admirably benefit scholars in major European cities. The Medieval Academy of America has an annual meeting, whose location varies, and this academy produces the country’s most selective journal of Medieval Studies, Speculum, as well as the series of Medieval Academy Books and Monographs. Further, it publishes a newsletter, maintains a Committee on Centers and Regional Associations, and awards several scholarships and prizes.

16. The Medieval Institute at Kalamazoo hosts the largest annual medievalist conference in the world, the International Congress on Medieval Studies, which is as well run and accessible as it is enormous. In the second weekend of May, Kalamazoo is a kind of pilgrimage destination for more than three thousand participants, with approximately six hundred sessions. Papers are delivered in English, Italian, French, Spanish, and German. In the exhibit halls, representatives of academic publishing houses meet with current and prospective authors. The congress remains quite democratic, welcoming attendees of all ranks and subfields and nationalities, including graduate students and independent (unemployed or unaffiliated) scholars. It offers several financial awards to reduce the cost of travel for «scholars from regions of the world underrepresented at past Congresses», for «Congress participants from Central European nations», and «Anglo-Saxonists from outside North America». Among its other projects, the Institute also produces Medieval Institute Publications that include several journals and book series. (Below, I will return to the subjects of conferences and academic presses.)

Regional Associations and Institutes

17. Other associations serve scholars who live in a particular region of the country. For example, the Medieval Association of the Midwest, the Mid-America Medieval Association, the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association, the Southeastern Medieval Association, the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, and the Medieval Association of the Pacific (which includes scholars from all around the Pacific Rim) each organizes an annual conference and publishes an academic journal. A few states have their own groups, such as the Texas Medieval Association or the Oregon Medieval English Literature Society.

18. Much more numerous are centers and institutes based at specific universities or in regional consortia. They typically organize colloquia and lectures. Some produce academic journals or book series, and award scholarships for their students or grants for researchers. Several of the largest combine medieval and Renaissance interests. Without undertaking to list them all, I will mention a few of the most active: the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Binghamton University in New York, the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, the Medieval Studies Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Two of Harvard University’s centers are Villa I Tatti for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, in Washington, DC, «dedicated to supporting scholarship internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies». The latter four centers each have residential fellowships.

Subject-Specific Associations

19. Many societies hold meetings in person during the large national conferences that their members attend. For example, in May 2012, the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo listed in its program (pp. 181-186) the 252 organizations that held sessions or meetings during the congress — some international, and many based in the U.S. That list, and the annual program as a whole, gives a more concise and current yearly portrait of Medieval Studies in the States than does a search on the Internet (where much is obsolete and/or unscholarly) or via research databases (where the information is of better quality but unmanageably vast for the purpose).

20. Some societies promote the study of a particular person’s life and work, such as the American Boccaccio Association, the International Boethius Society, the North American branch of the International Christine de Pizan Society, the American Cusanus Society, the Dante Society of America, the Jean Gerson Society, the International Marguerite Porete Society, or the American branch of the Richard III Society. Others survey a category of people: for example, Episcopus: Society for the Study of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Middle Ages; or Seigneurie: Group for the Study of Nobility, Lordship, and Chivalry. Among associations that promote research on religious groups are the Academy of Jewish-Christian Studies, the Historians of Islamic Art Association (formerly the North American Historians of Islamic Art), the American Catholic Historical Society, the Institute of Cistercian Studies at Western Michigan University, the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, the American Society of Church History, Heretics without Borders, and the Society for Reformation Research.

21. A few specialize in a time period, as do the Society for Late Antiquity, the 14th Century Society, and Fifteenth-Century Society. Associations concentrating on geographic regions are the Charles Homer Haskins Society for Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Angevin, and Viking History; the American Society of Irish Medieval Studies; the Society for Medieval Germanic Studies; the Early Slavic Studies Association; the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain; the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies; the medievalist components of the North American Catalan Society, the North American Conference on British Studies, the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, the Italian Art Society, the Byzantine Studies Association of North America; and the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East. The Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages undertakes «to reconceive the field of Medieval Studies not in terms of Europe alone but also in relation to Africa, the Middle East, Eurasia, and Asia».

22. Groups dedicated to a written or oral genre are the New England Saga Society; the Medieval Romance Society; the Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch for medieval Romance-language epic literature; the International Courtly Literature Society - North American Branch; the International Arthurian Society - North American Branch; the Hagiography Society; the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society; the Society for the Study of Anglo-Saxon Homiletics; or the Society for the Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages. The Early Book Society and the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence specify the media under study. Also digital media are attracting considerable attention, such as by Digital Medievalist as well as the Medieval Academy of America’s Digital Initiatives Advisory Board charged with advising the Academy «on the uses of electronic technology in research, pedagogy, and the functions of the Academy».

23. Among the many associations focused on a particular theme or object, we have Early Music America, the Society for Emblem Studies, the American Numismatic Society, DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation, and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics, and Fashion), the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science, and Art, Medica: The Society for the Study of Healing in the Middle Ages, the Medieval Association for Rural Studies, Mens et Mensa: Society for the Study of the Idea of Food (Mostly) in the Medieval Mediterranean, MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: The Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory and Practical Application), the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics, Politicas: The Society for the Study of Political Thought in the Middle Ages, the Society for Military History and De Re Militari for medieval military history, the Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages, the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, the Society for the Study of Homosexuality in the Middle Ages, the Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages, and the Global Middle Ages Project. The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages and the Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization study modern-day reception and use of (neo)medieval references such as in popular movies and computer games. The subject-specific associations’ quantity and variety bear witness to the enthusiasm of members and (mostly unpaid) organizers.

Conferences and Congresses

24. Most of the above organizations, and over a hundred others, invite colleagues to propose papers for sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. Some also organize sessions within other large conferences such as the International Medieval Congress in Leeds or the Modern Language Association convention, and/or hold their own annual meetings. Some centers host fine conferences as well, such as at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the State University of New York in Binghamton, and, biennially, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference at New College at the University of South Florida in Sarasota.

25. A useful list of calls for papers, both for conferences and for future publications, is cfp.english.upenn.edu, compiled by the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It is international and has a medievalist subsection. Adrienne DeAngelis maintains an alphabetized list of medievalist conferences, and the Medieval Academy a somewhat unwieldy calendar. Conference and session organizers also distribute calls for papers by means of listservs, email, and academic journals in print and online.

Sources of Funding for Research and Travel: Fellowships and Grants

26. Sources of funding vary widely; finding them is a research project in itself. The Medieval Academy announces its own grants and prizes, and some awarded by entities other than itself; this list is not necessarily current or complete, but even an outdated announcement can give useful leads to the persistent. The annual Directory of the Modern Language Association contains a good, longer list of Fellowships and Grants in the humanities, currently hidden in the members-only part of the MLA’s web page; the final printed version of that list was published in the September 2010 Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA). That issue, widely available in libraries, remains somewhat useful because many opportunities are the same from year to year. SPIN (Sponsored Programs Information Network) has a notification system named SMARTS (SPIN Matching and Research Transmittal System) that sends pre-selected information to users by email. The American Council of Learned Societies, the College Art Association, and the American Historical Association award some prizes, grants, fellowships, and scholarships. Federal grant opportunities announced at Grants.gov include highly sought-after awards by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum & Library Services. Some private grantors are listed by the Foundation Center, and many more (over 250,000) in the printed National Directory of Nonprofit Organizations. Each state has a humanities council that may sponsor local projects. Likewise, regional organizations may support projects, depending on the subject and the author’s place of residence. Further, many universities offer scholarships, assistantships, fellowships, and research awards to their own students or faculty, not listed here.

27. Fellowships typically support one researcher’s work on a specific project during a limited period of time ranging from several days to one or two years. A full survey of fellowships would more than fill an article of its own, so here I will briefly mention the top twenty or so of interest to medievalists. Additionally, some universities have made formal agreements to permit exchanges of researchers within pairs or consortia of institutions in different countries. Even where no formal agreements are established, informal arrangements and smaller grants can often help scholars finance a visit to an archive, library, institute, or university, and/or take part in a conference.

28. The prestigious Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program supports «the research and teaching of scholars visiting colleges and universities in the United States» along with its counterpart, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program for Americans going abroad, in order to «increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries». It is affiliated with the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards several research fellowships for scholars at various stages of their careers, from doctoral study onward, at multiple locations. Residential fellowships include both short-term and longer-term opportunities at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Those at the Newberry Library in Chicago include the Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel Fellowship for post-doctoral research in «late medieval and Renaissance history and literature». At St Louis University, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies awards short-term research fellowships sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, for projects that may use the Vatican Film Library; and a fellowship in medieval philosophy, in cooperation with the Société pour l’étude de la philosophie médiévale. That society also supports one of the fellowships at the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale has several fellowships, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin invites more than fifty residential fellows per year. I have mentioned Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. For studies in legal history and canon law, the Robbins Collection at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, has short-term fellowships for research.

29. Certain fellowships are not reserved exclusively for medievalist projects, but include them in their purview, and are awarded to our colleagues with some regularity. They include awards from the American Academy in Rome; grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies; fellowships and professorships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art; Mellon Fellowships for Assistant Professors at the School of Historical Studies in the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton; a visiting scholars’ program at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; National Humanities Center fellowships at the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina; and fellowships at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University. The Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship from Phi Beta Kappa is awarded to a woman 25 to 35 years old, who is working in Greek or French, in alternate years. Harvard’s Houghton Library offers, among others, the Joan Nordell Fellowship and the Rodney G. Dennis Fellowship in the Study of Manuscripts. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation gives grants and fellowships to individuals and institutions «advancing the history, conservation, and enjoyment of the vast heritage of European art, architecture, and archaeology from antiquity to the 19th century». One’s state, region, university, favorite association, or local institute may well offer opportunities in addition to these national ones. It takes creativity and persistence, and time, for a researcher to bring together the necessary material for generating new knowledge.

30. Some universities and employers partially reimburse research expenses; others do not. In either case, American medievalists’ usual source of funding for research is their employment and their own pockets. Federal grants, such as from the National Endowment for the Humanities, are relatively few and very competitive. Most research projects do not receive direct government support. On a structural level, of course, federal and state governments significantly influence the field’s productivity because American “public” (state) universities receive partial funding from taxes, and thus depend upon governments’ decisions about budgets for education and research, as well as upon their region’s prosperity. For state schools, the two other main sources of revenue are tuition paid by students, and charitable donations. These two are the only principal sources for “private” schools (that is, those not funded by the government). As the above paragraphs confirm, a significant part of the funding for Medieval Studies in the U.S. consists of charitable donations by generous individuals, families, associations, and foundations. They have contributed to scholarships, fellowships, library collections, museum exhibits, book publishing subventions, building funds, and endowments whose interest helps support institutions and individual scholars. These gifts cumulatively improve the academic infrastructure and climate, for the direct recipients and also for the larger community over the long term, by establishing new knowledge upon which further knowledge will be built in future decades and centuries.

Finding Primary Sources for Research: Artifacts, Manuscripts, and Digital Images

31. With the growth of digital cataloguing of artifacts, and digital photographic reproduction of manuscripts, projects increasingly span national boundaries. Here I will briefly mention materials made available by American museums and libraries, and U.S.-based catalogues of medieval artifacts that are themselves located elsewhere. Then I will describe electronic databases of published books and articles.

32. Museums and libraries in the U.S. hold medieval artifacts and manuscripts from all over the world. Among the most notable is the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, which houses European and Asian paintings, sculptures, metalwork, and ceramics. The J. Paul Getty Museum, at two locations in California, presents sculptures, paintings, and manuscripts, and hundreds of thousands of photographs of medieval European buildings. The Getty Research Institute also curates exhibits and offers free online access to the Bibliography of the History of Art and the Répertoire de la littérature de l’art. Other significant collections include the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore; the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, including The Cloisters collection of medieval European sculpture and tapestries; the Huntington Library in San Marino; the Newberry Library in Chicago; and the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology in Ann Arbor, Michigan, exhibits medieval objects from the Mediterranean and the Near East. Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography has a significant collection of international artifacts. Most of the above museums, and countless others, provide online catalogues with high-resolution photographs. Perhaps the Hispanic Society of America museum in New York will follow suit with its notable collection of Iberian artworks and textiles. The American Numismatic Society, based in New York, catalogues library materials in its free online Database Of Numismatic Materials, and objects such as coins and medals in its MANTIS database, whose Medieval Department describes over fifty thousand such objects (about five percent of them with photographs online). The John Woodman Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, holds more than four thousand objects related to arms and armor, catalogued in its online database (most with photos).

33. Some of the country’s largest electronic catalogues of medieval manuscripts are hosted by universities, often in collaboration with international counterparts, bringing together information about materials that may be scattered in multiple locations. The University of California, Berkeley, is home to the Digital Scriptorium, an image and cataloguing database of medieval and early modern manuscript holdings at U.S. libraries. For a digital catalogue of manuscripts located in Europe, Britain, North America, and Australia, see the Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts hosted by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Another database principally of European manuscripts is the HMML Manuscript Database at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota; it also supported the manuscript database Vivarium with the nearby College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Via the Internet, many other U.S. libraries share digitized versions of their own collections of manuscripts. The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, offers an online database of its medieval and Renaissance collections. So do the Beineke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, Houghton Library at Harvard, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and others. The Princeton University Digital Library includes significant Islamic and Yemeni manuscripts. At the University of Pennsylvania libraries, the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection makes digitized manuscripts available, whereas the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts compiles records (but not photos) of over 125,000 manuscripts produced before 1600.

34. Research libraries also tend to hold at least some documents on microfilm or microfiche that are not available there on paper nor in digital form. For medievalists, America’s most significant collection of microfilm reproductions is the Vatican Film Library at St. Louis University in Missouri, which offers (in person, not online) access to tens of thousands whose originals are in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome, as well as manuscripts from other collections worldwide. For «the largest collection of medieval Slavic manuscripts on microform in the world», see the Hilandar Research Library of the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

35. To readers of both primary and secondary sources, the Library of Congress (the U.S. national library) offers a useful catalogue of more than 147 million items, and maintains a National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, and welcomes visitors — more than 1.7 million per year, in person. Other U.S. libraries, likewise, generally welcome visiting researchers.

36. A growing number of digital projects are dedicated to a particular work, author, or corpus. I will mention just a few, with extra attention to Italian-language resources. The Catasto Study database, a «Census and Property Survey for Florentine Domains and the City of Verona in Fifteenth Century Italy» compiles about 165,000 data records from Florence dating to 1282-1532, edited by Anthony Molho, Julius Kirshner, and R. Burr Litchfield at Brown University, as well as material from Verona organized by David Herlihy and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber. The Rulers of Venice, 1332–1524 is a somewhat awkward-to-use database of political documents compiled by Benjamin Kohl of Vassar College, with Andrea Mozzato and Monique O’Connell, assisted by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Renaissance Society of America among others.

37. Several web-based projects are dedicated to Dante. The World of Dante site, housed at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, presents Allen Mandelbaum’s English translation of the Divine Comedy, with the Italian text and related resources. Columbia University’s Digital Dante gives, additionally, Henry W. Longfellow’s translation into English. The Dartmouth Dante Project provides «a searchable full-text database containing more than seventy commentaries on Dante’s Divine Comedy». Renaissance Dante in Print (1472-1629) offers digitized incunabulae and early editions of Dante’s masterpiece. This project was supported by the William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies, the University of Notre Dame, the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language, the University of Chicago, and the Newberry Library. The Princeton Dante Project, founded by Robert Hollander, hosts the Commedia and minor works, with English translations, audio files, and notes.

38. The Charrette Project offers «a complex, scholarly, multi-media electronic archive» and digital edition of manuscripts of Chrétien de Troyes’ Chevalier de la charrette (Lancelot) on sites co-hosted at Princeton, Baylor University, and the Université de Poitiers in France. For the Roman de la Rose Digital Library online, the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University digitized manuscripts containing the Roman de la Rose, with help from the Bibliothèque nationale de France — itself a significant host of digital as well as analog materials, with its free full-text online repository Gallica. The Electronic Norman Anonymous Project digitized an eleventh-century Latin political treatise. The Pico Project by scholars from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Università degli Studi in Bologna, created an online annotated edition of incunabulae of Pico della Mirandola’s Discourse on the Dignity of Man (De Hominis Dignitate, 1486). If we stretch our time to the sixteenth century, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s online collection of digitizations deserves mention. Many digital editions of books and manuscripts are located within collections, such as where the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has digitized its fine Gutenberg Bible. Ideally, electronic editions would be very easy to locate on the Internet and via library catalogues, but this is not always the case.

Finding Secondary Sources for Research: Books, Articles, and Theses

39. Not only is it vast in scope, chronological sweep, and geographic area, but likewise our field is a subject of increasing quantities of published and unpublished material. By way of illustration of its volume, a search for the keyword “medieval*” in the full text of the HathiTrust Digital Library yields more than a million sources, mostly books; the same search on Google gives over seven hundred million, mostly unreliable web sites but with some gems hidden among them. As the quantities of available material rise, it becomes increasingly necessary for us to identify quickly the sources that interest us, and to choose the most suitable places for contributing new work. With the (gradual, partial, uneven) addition of digital media to the existing print and manuscript technologies, in some ways it is becoming much easier to find secondary sources than it was just a few decades ago when we skimmed printed pages of union catalogues to find out about articles and leafed through a physical card catalogue to pencil down the call numbers of books. Despite the convenience and speed of electronic searching, though, the tricks for finding readings have become more complicated as the traces that we seek are hidden in more and more places. Some journals have “gone digital” and ceased to print copies, but there exists no comprehensive index of their contents, especially if they are available to paying subscribers only. Meanwhile, printed journals remain indispensable because new issues typically exist only in printed form for one to three years before their articles can be distributed digitally. This date embargo (or “moving wall”) gives publishers time to sell printed copies before the content can be put online, if it appears digitally at all. Most books published in the U.S. after 1977 cannot be distributed digitally until 70 years after the author’s death. These practices express the fundamental incompatibility of people’s desires to read for free but to write for pay. Because of the current assortment of technologies and the laws governing intellectual property, no single medium offers a complete picture of previous scholarship. Much of what medievalists should read is simply not available electronically. Consequently, we must continue to search in both print and digital sources — not to mention manuscript, microfilm and other media — persistently, methodically, and multilingually.

40. Over time, databases are tending to add records of different genres, as theses and dissertations gain inclusion in some electronic catalogues previously limited to books, and books enter into some databases that used to catalogue only articles. Yet the databases all still specialize to some extent. Thus it remains necessary to search in different databases depending on whether we anticipate finding mainly articles, books, theses, images, or other media. Usually we start a search from the web page of our home institution’s library, using a front-end “federated search” tool such as 360 Search or Summon, which enables a single search to “look” in dozens of databases simultaneously. Then, expecting the “federated search” to have yielded incomplete results, we also check the most likely databases directly, as well as the open Internet and the portals specific to our areas of study. Recommended examples of these are described below, first those available for free online, then those sold by subscription.

41. For finding free digitized copies of previously printed materials, the three largest online U.S.-based repositories are Google Books, the important HathiTrust Digital Library of over ten million volumes, and the Internet Archive. The latter contains over three million texts, plus two million audio recordings, hundreds of thousands of videos, and more than 150 billion web pages in the Wayback Machine archive of the Internet. Also not to be missed is Gallica, the free online collection of 1,500,000 books digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The Online Books Page from the University of Pennsylvania offers over one million digitized books. Project Gutenberg houses about forty thousand downloadable books whose full-text contents are proofread and corrected by volunteers. Smaller but professionally-edited full-text repositories include the Perseus Digital Library mentioned above, and the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum of Latin works on music theory (without photographs), as well as several types of corpus mentioned in §56-57 below. The difference between corrected and uncorrected digital text is considerable for medievalists who wish to search by keyword within documents. Of course, the lack of standardized spelling in medieval languages poses one kind of obstacle to full-text searching, mitigated only partially by the use of wildcard characters such as the question mark and the asterisk. Another obstacle is that even the best optical character recognition software cannot reliably transform a scanned page into its digital counterpart, especially if the scanned text was printed in an old typeface or a non-Roman alphabet. Consequently, once we have found digitized books that interest us, it is usually preferable to read them as images, such as pdf or a photographic format, rather than as altered “full text” whose dubious details require the 21st-century equivalent of manuscript paleography.

42. As online collections develop over time, researchers find increasing usefulness in major non-commercial repositories such as HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, and Gallica. A helpful trend is that some formerly separate repositories are becoming better interconnected, and cataloguing one another’s contents. All of the above offer full text for free, a tremendous service to readers. One essential caveat, though, is that editions and secondary sources that are old enough to be out of copyright are usually long surpassed by more recent scholarship that exists only in print.

43. An excellent online source of free, full-text, up-to-date book reviews is The Medieval Review, formerly named The Bryn Mawr Medieval Review. Its listserv, called TMR-L, sends book reviews to subscribers by email. A more general collection of current full-text reviews of books on history, likewise distributed by a free listserv, is H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

44. The best and biggest non-full-text “catalogue of catalogues” of libraries worldwide is WorldCat, with 1.5 billion listings (counting duplicates) from ten thousand libraries. It is indispensable for finding out about the existence of printed and electronic books, and includes growing coverage of theses, articles, and other library holdings. Conveniently, WorldCat is linked to Google Books via the latter’s “find in a library” feature. WorldCat has the advantage of specifying where copies are located, a useful service for readers who want to borrow materials via interlibrary loan or who plan to travel in order to read them. A drawback is that it does not consistently consolidate duplicate search-results, so a manageable list of fifty books may appear as a sprawling mess of a thousand records, each with its own accession number. A related inconvenience is that searching by subject becomes difficult when one fails to guess what language(s) the desired information might be in, let alone what country’s librarians might have catalogued it, hence what language they would have used for describing it and what terms they might have used in that language. There are inevitably some errors of cataloguing, too. Also WorldCat, like Google Books and the Internet Archive, does not distinguish between monographs and anthologies, nor distinguish between authors and editors, so a person named as “author” did not necessarily write the text; thus sometimes one needs to look elsewhere in order to identify articles within a compilation.

45. WorldCat is about three times the size of the similarly-structured Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog, whose free online interface allows a single search to find entries in about 75 libraries and commercial book catalogues that (counting duplicates) list a total of over five hundred million books and serials. These are located principally in Europe, with some representation of North America but little from other continents. The smaller European Library does this for 48 national library catalogues in Europe. Another project that works on the same principle, focusing on art libraries, is the Virtual Catalogue for Art History that compiles more than twelve million records of artworks, artifacts, and academic articles. Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index, edited by Margaret Schaus, is a free international database of twenty thousand bibliographic records of articles. Renaissance Liturgical Imprints: A Census (RELIC) compiles records of fourteen thousand religious books printed between 1450 and 1601.

46. For printed materials that are under copyright or just not digitized, some databases do not contain an entry at all (Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg), whereas others tell us what sources exist, but of course without providing full text (WorldCat, HathiTrust Digital Library, Google Books, Google Scholar, Books In Print). Google Scholar seems to be in its infancy, tending to display quantities of unwanted results, and leading one toward commercial web sites rather than to free downloadable or library copies. It misses many sources that one finds easily by using the databases likely to be available at even a modest college library, described below.

47. The above sites are searchable for free on the Internet, whereas most of those below charge a fee, and so are usually subscribed to by libraries rather than by individual researchers. I will provide hyperlinks to these databases’ commercial, public web sites, but readers should check their local libraries’ online portals to see whether more extensive content is available there than via the open Internet. For example, the version of WorldCat accessible for free is very useful, but offers less sophisticated search interfaces than do the versions for paying subscribers.

48. For finding articles, the generalist database Academic Search Complete helpfully indexes more than 21,000 journals, though it is not really complete. It gives links to full text for about forty percent of its listings. Its strength is articles, not books. ProQuest’s Periodicals Index Online (formerly named Periodicals Contents Index) catalogues the contents of more than six thousand periodicals. Additional generalist databases include JSTOR and ISI Web of Knowledge (formerly named Web of Science). The archive of full-text academic articles in JSTOR is easy to use, especially with an advanced search, and covers a broad range of disciplines; however, it indexes only a handful of the hundreds of currently active medievalist periodicals, so for our field it is very incomplete. ISI Web of Knowledge likewise does not include the majority of medievalist journals nor books, so its statistics about citation rates are not very significant for our purposes, but it usefully diagrams relationships among cited publications and its links trace citations from earlier academic articles by later ones.

49. Most databases of articles tend to specialize by subject rather than by period. For example, medievalist musicologists use Grove Music Online (full text, within Oxford Music Online); scholars of medieval literatures and languages, the MLA International Bibliography. The latter gives links to the full text of some articles, and is multidisciplinary within the humanities, but despite its indispensability is very incomplete for medievalist purposes.

50. The MLA International Bibliography, MLA Directory of Periodicals, and Academic Search Complete are all within EBSCOhost Electronic Journals Service, a set of databases that also includes the generalist Academic Search Premier, the World History Collection, the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Religion Database, the Religion and Philosophy Collection, America: History and Life on Native American and Canadian topics from prehistory to the present, LGBT Life with Full Text on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender history and culture, and other databases in the same group. These are thus easy to search simultaneously, even without a (separate) front-end federated search tool.

51. Another umbrella group is the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), an online union catalog. Its greatest accomplishment is WorldCat, but it has also generated other databases worth mentioning. Those formerly housed within FirstSearch were to relocated to WilsonWeb, which in turn has now joined EbscoHost. Its databases include the generalist ArticleFirst containing more than twelve million records, Electronic Collections Online (being phased out), Humanities Full Text, Historical Abstracts useful for studying times from the year 1400 onward, Heritage of the Printed Book in Europe (previously named the Hand Press Book Database) on European printing from about 1454 to 1830, Art Full Text, and Art Museum Image Gallery that compiles over 150,000 digital images from museums. For studies of provenance and ownership, the SCIPIO set of “Art and rare book sales/auction catalogs” contains three hundred thousand records dating from the 1500s onward. The Catalogue of Art Museum Images Online (CAMIO) offers about one hundred thousand images. For those studying or reflecting on pedagogy, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) indexes over a thousand journals in the field of education, and eight hundred articles on teaching medieval material. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences.

52. Several other fee-charging databases are useful for medievalists. Those specific to the field include the very helpful repository of articles and book chapters in the International Medieval Bibliography, produced (with support from the Medieval Academy of America) by the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds in England, in collaboration with BREPOLiS, the online extension of Brepols Publishers in Turnhout, Belgium, whose publications it represents well. Additionally, BREPOLiS contains the full-text Library of Latin Texts, the Archive of Celtic-Latin Literature, the In Principio database of Latin incipits, the International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages, and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (also available for free on its own homepage).

53. A second group of medievalist research databases is located within Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a collaborative project of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies with the Renaissance Society of America and the University of Toronto Libraries. It contains the Iter Bibliography of articles from over 1,700 academic journals; and Iter Italicum: a Finding List of Uncatalogued or Incompletely Catalogued Humanistic Manuscripts of the Renaissance in Italian and other Libraries, a digital version of Paul O. Kristeller’s Iter Italicum survey of Renaissance humanistic manuscripts.

54. UMI Dissertation Publishing houses a collection of over two million theses and dissertations, divided into Masters Abstracts International and Dissertation Abstracts International, the latter for Ph.D. projects. It lists nearly all the recent theses and dissertations completed in the U.S. The service previously was called University Microfilms International, but pdf format has largely replaced microfilm for this purpose. This database belongs to ProQuest, as do several others of interest to medievalists, beyond the Periodicals Index Online, such as Early English Books Online, Early European Books from the first centuries of print, Index Islamicus, GenderWatch in full text, the International Bibliography of Art, Acta Sanctorum (saints’ lives previously published by the Société des Bollandistes); and the Patrologia Latina full-text database of Latin works by the Church Fathers of the third to thirteenth centuries, originally edited by Jacques-Paul Migne in the nineteenth century.

55. Other databases available for a fee are the Index of Christian Art, with two hundred thousand photographic reproductions of Christian artworks, begun at Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archeology; ARTstor digital library of more than a million art images; DYABOLA or “Realkatalog DAI Rom” of books, journals, and photographs on classical archaeology, and on Byzantine, Egyptian, and Near Eastern archaeology, art, epigraphy, numismatics, and history; Parker Library on the Web, which gives access to digitized manuscripts from the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, UK, a collaboration of Stanford University Libraries and Cambridge University Library; and the Archivo Digital de Manuscritos y Textos Españoles, a collaboration by the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies with colleagues in the U.S. and Spain, who digitally transcribed 290 medieval Spanish texts in searchable electronic format.

Online Dictionaries and Lexical Tools

56. Digital media encourage new fusions of electronic texts and reference tools, in which edited texts can form a lexical corpus that constitutes a dictionary, which in turn yields data for studies as well as examples in their contexts. The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae founded at the University of California, Irvine, digitizes literary texts written in Greek «from Homer to the fall of Byzantium in AD 1453 and beyond», with 105 million words in the full version available by subscription; an abridged version is accessible for free online. The Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid from the University of Notre Dame, and the online dictionary of Latin Words created by William Whitaker, offer form-like interfaces, perhaps faster to use than Charlton T. Lewis’ Elementary Latin Dictionary as digitized in the HathiTrust Digital Library, though some readers will prefer the latter’s familiar book-like format. The Perseus Digital Library, created at Tufts University in cooperation with many supporting agencies, is a free online database offering Classical Greek, Latin, and Arabic texts, with vocabulary and grammar tools. It encompasses nearly eight million words in Greek and more than five million in Latin. For Classical Arabic, it offers the Arabic-English Lexicon by Edward William Lane, and H. Anthony Salmoné’s Advanced Learner’s Arabic-English Dictionary. (Additionally it presents searchable full-text books, including sagas in Old Norse, the Friedrich Klaeber edition of Beowulf in Old English and modern translation by James M. Garnett, Humanist and Renaissance Italian Poetry in Latin, and many catalogued photographs of artworks and buildings). The Packard Humanities Institute has sponsored searchable databases of Classical Latin Texts, Searchable Greek Inscriptions, and Persian Literature in Translation.

57. The Internet Archive contains a digitized version of Frédéric Godefroy’s ten-volume dictionary of medieval French, though in a user interface less agile than the one on Xavier Nègre’s site Lexilogos, where multiple volumes are searchable together. The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago hosts the subscriber-only Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) in cooperation with the Analyse et Traitement Informatique de la Langue Française laboratory of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and Electronic Text Services at the University of Chicago. Among the ARTFL databases accessible to fee-paying subscribers are Textes de Français Ancien, a linguistic corpus of 103 works from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries; the Provençal Database of four hundred thousand words, compiled by Ron Akehurst of the University of Minnesota; the ARTFL-FRANTEXT database of 168 million French words occurring in works dating from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries; and Opera del Vocabolario Italiano, a full-text database of 22 million words from nearly two thousand books in Italian, most prior to the year 1375. The latter is a significant complement to the Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini supported by the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche and by the Accademia della Crusca in Florence; and to Mirabile: Archivio digitale della cultura latina medievale / Digital Archives for Medieval Latin Culture (itself containing several collections, such as Medioevo Latino, the Bibliotheca Scriptorum Latinorum Medii Recentiorisque Aevi/Repertory of Medieval and Renaissance Latin Authors, Medioevo musicale, and the Compendium Auctorum Latinorum Medii Aevi). The Corpus del Español, sited at Brigham Young University and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, encompasses one hundred million Spanish words dating from the thirteenth century to the twentieth, sortable by century. The Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary digitized at Swarthmore College, and the electronic Middle English Dictionary within the Middle English Compendium hosted by the University of Michigan, will interest Anglicists. Public-domain dictionaries of additional languages can be found on HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, and Lexilogos.

Academic Journals: Deciding Where to Submit Articles for Publication

58. As the costs of print and of U.S. postage have increased in the third millennium, few conferences still publish volumes of proceedings. Exceptions are Essays in Medieval Studies, proceedings of the Illinois Medieval Association’s annual meeting; Mediaevalia and the Brepols Binghamton Series of proceedings of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies conferences at Binghamton University; and Medieval Perspectives, papers delivered at the Southeastern Medieval Association and its sessions at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association or the International Congress on Medieval Studies. In most cases, though, authors seek separate print or online venues if they wish to publish revised versions of papers they have delivered at conferences.

59. The U.S. offers a very large number of options for this prospect. Including international ones, the MLA Directory of Periodicals describes more than six thousand academic journals in the humanities, of which at least two hundred publish medievalist articles and/or book reviews. It provides useful information about each serial’s selectivity, number of readers, self-reported speed of publication, and editorial policies. Not all entries are current, so prospective authors should check the current web pages of journals before submitting drafts for publication. Scholars of all subjects, when seeking articles to read and/or academic journals for publishing their work, may also want to browse Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory of over three hundred thousand periodicals (some defunct). The somewhat outdated Andy Holt Virtual Library online lists over 250 medievalist journals, and HathiTrust Digital Library still more serials on medieval subjects. Additionally, of course, many periodicals print articles about the Middle Ages among other eras, as do Philological Quarterly, the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, and the Journal of Early Modern History (for the years c. 1300-1800).

60. In the humanities, authors normally expect neither to give nor receive payment for having their articles published in appropriate journals. The work of editors, too, is substantially a labor of love. In general, an academic journal is run by a group of volunteers who make up an editorial board, with one or two principal editors, who already work full time. They are motivated largely by affection for a field of study, and a sense of service to the profession and responsibility to the journal. Support from a university may consist of part-time assistance from a student or two, and perhaps permission for the chief editor to teach one course fewer than usual. It is something of a miracle that new issues of good journals continue to be published as frequently as they are. In general, their editors seek publishable articles written by scholars from any part of the world. Specialist readers volunteer to evaluate each draft on its own merit, by “blind” peer review, without knowing the identities of authors.

61. Academic journals of good quality usually have international editorial boards, so it is not possible to separate American ones rigorously from the rest, but I will loosely classify U.S.-based academic medievalist journals below, by size, according to data reported by the MLA Directory of Periodicals. Admittedly, the increasing prevalence of online access makes a journal’s circulation harder to measure than before. The largest is doubtless Speculum, the Medieval Academy of America’s highly selective quarterly, featuring generous quantities of book reviews and a relatively small number of articles, reported as having a circulation of 6,000 (including library copies). The several next largest, circulating around a thousand copies per issue, with generally high selectivity, are the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (formerly titled Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies) from Duke University Press; the Chaucer Review; Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought, and Religion, produced at Fordham University; and Viator from the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Those with print circulation reported as being in the hundreds are numerous, such as the quarterly Exemplaria, «a journal of theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies»; Mediaevalia: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Medieval Studies Worldwide from Binghamton; Medievalia et Humanistica: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Culture; Disputatio: An International Transdisciplinary Journal of the Late Middle Ages; Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, run by graduate students at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles; Envoi: A Review Journal of Medieval Literature; the Journal of the Early Book Society; Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History; Medieval Feminist Forum of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship; the International Journal of Historical Archaeology (from the year 1492 onward); Studies in Iconography, a Medieval Institute publication; Gesta, journal of the International Center of Medieval Art in New York City; Plainsong and Medieval Music; Tenso, Bulletin of the Société Guilhem IX; Arthuriana, the quarterly publication of the International Arthurian Society - North American Branch; Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama; Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England; Early English Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington; Studies in Philology on premodern British topics, based at the University of North Carolina; Eolas, of the American Society of Irish Medieval Studies; the Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures (formerly titled Mystics Quarterly, and before that, 14th Century English Mystics Newsletter); Fifteenth-Century Studies; Medieval Prosopography, another Medieval Institute publication; Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching; and Studies in Medievalism in modern cultures; plus approximately a hundred others that publish scholarly medievalist articles. Among them, academic journals that seek to publish work written in Italian include Heliotropia, «a forum for Boccaccio research and interpretation», affiliated with the American Boccaccio Association; and Olifant («a Publication of the Société Rencesvals, American-Canadian Branch») on epic literature.

62. Among a growing number of free open-access online journals are Digital Medievalist from the University of Lethbridge; eHumanista: Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Studies; The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe; Medieval Philosophy and Theology; the Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America; Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Ancient & Medieval Pasts; Quidditas, the journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association; Peregrinations, published by the International Society for the Study of Pilgrimage Art; and Different Visions: A Journal of New Perspectives on Medieval Art, «a web-based, open-access, peer-reviewed annual, devoted to progressive scholarship on medieval art». The Directory of Open Access Journals indexes over 8,000 periodicals, including some of these.

Academic Book Publishers

63. Authors interested in publishing academic books at American presses would do well to consult the handbook by William Germano, Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books, Chicago, 2008.

64. The country has a full range of book-publishing enterprises, having the corresponding range of reputations. The high end features well-established scholarly publishers and university presses that typically produce volumes written in English. One of the largest lists is the Middle Ages Series of books published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Two other major series are the Medieval Academy Books and Monographs (produced by the Medieval Academy of America) and Routledge Research in Medieval Studies. Routledge has several additional medievalist book series. Harvard University Press has begun publishing a new series, the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library of medieval texts, starting with Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, and Old English, with facing-page translations into English. Further university presses of note for their medievalist lines are the University of Chicago Press, the Catholic University of America Press, and the publications of the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at Columbia University. From the University of Notre Dame Press are Publications in Medieval Studies and the Devers Series in Dante Studies. Cornell University Press has series including Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past. The series of Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies is currently edited at the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Among the Medieval Institute Publications from Kalamazoo are book series on Early Drama, Art, and Music; the Publications of the Richard Rawlinson Center on Anglo-Saxon England and manuscript studies; Studies in Medieval Culture; as well as several book series of the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages (TEAMS).

65. All these and others are respected publishers affiliated with institutions of higher learning and/or a scholarly association. At the other end of the spectrum, for manuscripts whose reputation and marketing are not high priorities, an author may choose “vanity” presses that typically deal in camera-ready copy without necessarily offering services such as proofreading or expert peer review. In this latter class, the two largest players are Peter Lang and Edwin Mellen Press.

Popular vs. Scholarly Medievalism

66. It is worth mentioning that the Middle Ages are deeply ingrained in popular imagination in the U.S., as evidenced by fiction, graphic art, animation, computer games, movies, medieval-themed restaurants and fairs, and innumerable web sites. There is some overlap between entertainment and re-enactment, and between re-enactment and scholarship. On one end of the spectrum, where a fact-check is as unimaginable as a documentary footnote, the past is imagined unscientifically as a setting for entertainment. Toward the middle of the range but extending far in both directions is the Society for Creative Anachronism, an organization with more than thirty thousand members worldwide, «dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe». An example of a more academically grounded project is the Ozark Medieval Fortress in Arkansas, where volunteers are building a thirteenth-century-French-style castle using methods and tools of the period. On the factually rigorous end of the spectrum are, for instance, members of the Association Villard de Honnecourt for Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science, and Art, and DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation, and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics, and Fashion). They may study material culture by means of hands-on projects or practical experiments. However, few scholars are re-enactors. Conversely, non-scholarly enthusiasts far outnumber academics. The groups can be quick to distinguish themselves from one another. Yet we should avoid imposing a complete or artificial division between them. In a climate where misinformation about the medieval world proliferates, study and entertainment can coexist in a productive tension. Popular enthusiasm gives relevance to genuine scholarship, which in turn can help satisfy a shared desire to know and imagine the past.

The Author thanks the anonymous referees for comments and suggestions.




Feedback is Welcome

This page is updated periodically. Please let us know by email to the author (zankocher[@]gmail.com) if the text or its web links should require updates or corrections, and kindly help us to rectify omissions.




About the Author

Zan Kocher earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages at the University of Oregon in 1999, then became a medievalist and professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he has chaired the Department of Modern Languages and holds the College of Liberal Arts/ BORSF Professorship in Francophone Studies. He teaches French, Spanish, Latin, research methods, and medieval literature. Author of Allegories of Love in Marguerite Porete’s Mirror of Simple Souls (Turnhout 2008), he continues to publish interdisciplinary research on medieval French and Latin texts.

©   2000
Reti Medievali
Ultima modifica: 26/08/2012
  Contatore