A new politics of the Middle Ages: a global Middle Ages for a global modernity

McClure, J. (2015) A new politics of the Middle Ages: a global Middle Ages for a global modernity. History Compass, 13(11), pp. 610-619. (doi: 10.1111/hic3.12280)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


This paper outlines the new politics of the Middle Ages in an age of ‘global modernity’, a term coined by Arif Dirlik to describe the appearance of ‘alternative’ or ‘multiple’ modernities. The politics of the Middle Ages has been recognised by a number of medieval and postcolonial scholars who have understood the role that the category of the Middle Ages has played in the historic construction of Western modernity and Western imperialism. This political use of the Middle Ages in constructing Western imperialism and modernity was underpinned by the colonial discourse identified by Johannes Fabian as the ‘denial of coevalness’. Yet, in an age of multiple modernities, we need to understand the changing political frontiers of multiple medievalisms. This paper indicates the particular way in which radical Islamist movements, especially ISIL, use and relate to the Islamic past and calls for further analysis of the new politics of the Middle Ages. This paper discusses the global turn and the shift in the politics of the Middle Ages, from the denial of coevalness to contemporaneity, and signposts problems and future directions that this shift indicates for medieval history.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McClure, Dr Julia
Authors: McClure, J.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:History Compass
ISSN (Online):1478-0542
Published Online:27 November 2015

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record