Black Central Europe

Per the website, “Black Central Europe (BCE) is a network of scholars who promote the study of Black people in Central Europe’s past and present,” including a map project of central Europe pinning where different events took place. For me, I found the Sources page more immediately accessible and arresting, with the sources broken down along period lines–from 1000 CE and later.

Edit: and h/t to MedievalPOC (more…)

The Medieval’s Allure for Racism & Hatred

From S. J. Pearce’s post “BOTH SONS OF SPAIN”: MEDIEVAL JEWS AND MUSLIMS IN THE IMAGINED NATION:

I want to let you in on the dirty little secret of my field, Medieval Studies: The Middle Ages is incredibly attractive to white supremacists. For people whose vision of a backwards-looking, great world is one with white Christian men in positions of power and the rest of us put in our places, the Middle Ages is a fertile ground for fantasy, where it seems very easy, at least superficially, to ignore the integral role of an incredibly diverse population. There are legends like King Arthur, images like the Bayeaux Tapestries, and long histories of Crusading that, on the face of it, make the Middle Ages look very white and like a world very divided neatly into categories of “us” and “them.”

Pearce’s post includes her contribution to her department’s recent teach-in at NYU in response to rising “Islamophobic and anti-Semitic vandalism on campus.”

h/t to MedievalPOC on Tumblr (more…)

Age, Abuse, Fathers & Kids in Lear

Let me talk to you a bit about King Lear. Lear puts his daughters on the spot: consider how Lear seems to spontaneously ask his daughters, in birth order, to tell him who loves him best—with that daughter earning the most/best land for her dowry. Now, many productions choose to begin with Goneril and Regan as conniving, scheming, and Machiavellian. However, what if they’re put on the spot. Keep in mind how emotionally abusive Lear acts here and how bad his parenting must have been and how manipulative this is on behalf of Lear. (more…)

Race in Bronze Age & Medieval Britain

I believe I’ve pointed here and elsewhere to The National Archives’ exhibition on Asian and Black History in Britain, which is good for getting a grounding in how diverse Britain had been in the medieval and early modern periods. I have to give kudos to twitter user @medievalpoc who’s tagline is “People of Color in European Art History: Because you wouldn’t want to be historically inaccurate.” @medievalpoc is where I came across most of this information originally. Today, @medievalpoc pointed me (and others) to Dr. Caitlin Green of Cambridge. Dr. Green has been working on these same topics as well. I just came across a collection of posts she made on twitter, which you can see via storify via this post, focusing on Bronze Age Britain and into the medieval: she also has her blog here. Dr. Green points to several research articles on these topics. (more…)

Reading Poetry at the Library Mall

On Thursday, October 6, the Writing Center at UT Arlington sponsored a poetry celebration at the Library Mall on campus. I showed up to share some of my favorite poetry.

I started out with Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, as one does: (more…)

The Post about Star Trek

It’s the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek (or it was on September 8), and I felt I’d add my contribution to the occasion.

I first encountered Star Trek with The Original Series in its syndication on a local station back in the late 1970s right before I went into kindergarten. I loved it. I wanted to be Captain Kirk. I wanted to have my own Mr. Spock best friend. I had this one red shirt that was my Scotty Shirt. I remember forming a landing party at recess in kindergarten with my friend at the time, who got to be Spock, but we had to stop pretending our fingers were phasers. When Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out, well, I had no idea what was going on, but a slew of Star Trek toys came out. (more…)