What does the medieval past mean in Melbourne today? How does it influence our present, and impact on our cultural, architectural, institutional and intellectual heritage? Why and how should we seek to understand it?
Although we often think of the medieval past as something that happened ‘over there’, it has a startling presence in Australian life, both enriching and troubling.
This special edition of the Making Public Histories seminar brings together several Australian medievalists from different perspectives for a lively and wide-ranging conversation about how the medieval past remains present in many forms: from the neo-Gothic structures of our stately buildings, through popular medieval narratives adapted for literature and television, to the adoption of medieval imagery by white supremacist organisations.
Professor Stephanie Trigg (The University of Melbourne) is a noted specialist of medieval literature, and modern expressions of popular medievalism. She is also a leading member of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, 1100-1800. Her program, ‘Shaping the Modern’, explores the continuance of European emotional understandings and practices in Australia, and the many ways in which modern Australians engage with and re-interpret Australia's emotional heritage.
Dr Felix Nobis (Monash University) is a performer and academic whose solo show Beowulf, based on his own translation of the Old English poem of the same name, has been internationally acclaimed. He has spent over a decade engaging with the poem through both word and performance, and considering how to render its complexities intelligible for modern audiences.
Dr Helen Young (La Trobe University) is a scholar of medieval literature and its expression in modern popular culture, especially as it relates to representations of power and cultural relations. Her project, ‘Imagining Diversity: Race and Ethnicity in Popular Fantasy Fiction’, was awarded a prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award by the Australian Research Council in 2012.
Dr Kathleen Neal (Monash University), convenor of the evening's conversation, is a historian specialising in the political culture of late medieval Britain and western Europe. She is also interested in historical ethics and the modern relevance of teaching and studying the medieval past.
The Making Public Histories series, now in its tenth year, is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building.
The seminar is free of charge but seating is limited, so we ask you to RSVP. Please book your place using the RSVP form, below.
The image of the statue of St George in Swanston St is supplied by Kathleen Neal.
The image of a page in a 13th century Psalter-Hours (with permission from State Library Victoria) is supplied Danielle Epskamp.
20 Spring St
Melbourne, Victoria 3002
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