Teaching Medieval Studies at Minority-serving Colleges

full name / name of organization: 
Pearl Ratunil/Harper College

Call For Papers for a

Special Issue of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching (SMART)

"Teaching Medieval Studies at Minority-serving Colleges and Universities"

Deadline for Submission: October 1, 2009

In recent years, medievalists at high Hispanic- and African-American serving institutions have discussed both the negative difficulties and the positive challenges of offering medieval studies on their campuses. We have noted that students, especially minority ones, may often perceive a lack of real connection to literatures, languages, and histories, that they do not feel they "own." There are, therefore, serious challenges in maintaining enrollment in medieval courses at institutions with diverse student populations, and in keeping those courses in rotation in small colleges. Conversely, the task of teaching history to minority students raises new and potentially productive intellectual questions: for instance, about the function of our disciplines in contemporary society, and about the social and ideological underpinnings of these disciplines in the past. The diversification of the classroom, in terms of both ethnicity and class, may destabilize old paradigms, and point towards new models of intellectual inquiry more deeply informed by a commitment to social justice.

Two NEH-sponsored roundtables on "Teaching and Researching the Middle Ages at Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities" were held at the International Medieval Congress in 2009 in order to exchange ideas regarding the teaching and study of medieval society and culture at minority-serving colleges. These roundtables stimulated an interest in a proposed Special Issue of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching (SMART) titled "Teaching Medieval Texts at Minority-serving Colleges and Universities." We are now seeking articles which discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in teaching medieval studies and texts in colleges and universities which serve diverse populations.

Some topics which could be covered include but are not limited to:

* How to attract students of diverse backgrounds to courses in medieval studies?

* How might we connect medieval texts to the scholarly concerns of African American, Latino, or diasporic studies?

* How do we increase students' interest in a historical period which appears superficially to be removed and irrelevant to contemporary concerns?

* How can we use this challenge to create opportunities for innovative teaching and research, for generating new paradigms and for rethinking the social function of the university?

The deadline for article submissions is October 1, 2009. Papers should be between 3,000 and 5,000 words, formatted in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style guidelines, and should be submitted as an e-mail attachment in MS Word to:

Pearl Ratunil, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of English

Harper College

1200 W. Algonquin Rd.

Palatine, IL 60067



James M. Palmer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of English

Director, Writing Center

Prairie View A&M University

P.O. Box 519; MS 2220

Prairie View, TX 77446