Utz's Research on Medievalism Featured by WMU Press

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Richard Utz, professor and chair of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, delivered one of two plenary lectures at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies, hosted at Western Michigan University May 14 - 17. His participation was cited at length on WMUK, a charter member of NPR, as well as in the Western Herald.

Utz's plenary lecture was mentioned on WMUK by James Murray, director of the Medieval Institute, as a talk he was looking forward to attending in particular.

One of our plenary speakers, our Saturday speaker Richard Utz, I’m looking forward to particularly, since he was until a few years ago the chair of the English department and now he’s at Georgia Tech. He’s coming back to talk on Saturday morning about the notion of the Middle Ages, ‘Our Middle Ages Ourselves,’  and about how the dialogue between the modern age and the medieval age has been shaped and in fact how it still captivates our imaginations and sometimes our nightmares. I’m looking forward most of all to Richard's plenary on Saturday morning.

Murray also spoke on the contribution of medialist scholars to popular culture knowledge related to productions like Game of Thrones and video games that utilize medieval themes. Relating to this is emergent focus of study examining medieval literature, language, and culture and their reception in postmedival times, which has featured prominently in Utz's recent research.

Richard Utz in particular is talking about what we call “Medievalism,” which is the embodiment of various things borrowed from the medieval past in such things as architecture, popular entertainment, popular literature—of which Tolkien is an example, who was an authentic Oxford scholar of Old English, but also wrote imaginative fiction based upon what he took away from the Middle Ages and what he wanted to convey to the modern age.

Utz has taught a wide range of topics, from Geoffrey Chaucer's medieval poetry through Bruce Chatwin's postmodern prose, and his scholarship centers on medieval studies, medievalism, the interconnections between humanistic inquiry and science/technology, reception study, and the formation of cultural memories and identities.

Utz's lecture, titled Our Middle Ages, Ourselves, stated that while medievalists have become more geographically, culturally, methodologically, and linguistically inclusive, have more access to more medieval texts, and have amassed more detailed knowledge about aspects of medieval culture than ever before, the most decisive qualitative change have been the inclusion of subjective, affective, atemporal, and public connections medievalists make when they engage with the Middle Ages.

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Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Student and Faculty
conference, lecture, LMC, medieval, speaker, Talk, Utz, WMU
  • Created By: Beth Godfrey
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: May 18, 2015 - 6:42am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 10:27pm