2017 Workshop Reflections

Attendees of the 2017 Workshop offered the following reflections after the event:

What have you learned from this workshop and discussion?

As a medievalist of color, it was useful to hear that the things I’ve felt and encountered are not unique to me. I often second-guess myself and wonder if I’m overreacting or overanalyzing things, so I felt very validated and less alone.

I learned that there is much greater concern in the field about this issue than I had imagined. The room was packed. There’s now a critical mass of people that care about this issue and that want change. I was heartened by this, although of course I realize that this concern arises out of the woeful inadequacy with which whiteness in medieval studies has been addressed within the discipline. It is time to change this. The workshop made me aware that I need to do a lot more reading and thinking (thank you for the invaluable readings), and work to address inclusivity at a much more fundamental level than I have been doing. And that I cannot let medievalists of color do all the work.

I think two of the most moving elements of the hour were the graduate students who framed and introduced the discussion that followed, and the sheer number of people in the room, including their questions, interested to engage the issues.

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What are some future actions you would like to take at your home institution and within your professional circles? 

I’m determined to be more attentive to seeking out the scholars of colour in my field, to thinking about making representing a diverse medieval studies a priority in eg. invited speaker series, to planning syllabi from the ground up that interrogate the perceived whiteness of the middle ages.

I will be more proactive about reaching out to scholars of color for inclusion in panels that I organize.

I’ll be looking more closely for to add more sources than before that represent nonwhite voices and identities in the medieval world. And I will encourage colleagues in my university and in academic organizations in which I participate to foreground inclusiveness and diversity.

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Additional Comments

The organizers were gracious, generous, thoughtful, brilliant. Thank you for organizing this. I would love to attend too the workshop you envisioned: smaller, more time, break-out groups for discussion of the readings. I think that might have attenuated some of the white apologism that took up most of the audience discussion period.

I would have loved to hear more discussion of whiteness and how it functions in the field. I was heartened by the robust attendance at the session. The facilitators were masterful, deft, and gracious. I think this was a wonderful start, and I look forward to seeing where this conversation goes in future congresses.

Thank you. Many of the issues you brought up are things that were on my radar, so my excitement is over seeing those things reach a larger audience and seeing MOC carving out institutional spaces in our discipline.

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