The Multicultural Middle Ages

by Will Beattie, Jonathan Correa Reyes, Reed O'Mara, & Logan Quigley

The Multicultural Middle Ages is a podcast where medievalists from all professional and disciplinary tracks can come together to think and talk about the too-oft-unsung diversity of the Middle Ages. We offer public-facing, open access content directed at experts and non-experts alike to present updated, accurate, and culturally responsible accounts of the plurality of the medieval period.

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 3

  • Speculum Spotlight: “Ai flores, ai flores do verde pino”: The Ecopoetics of the Galician-Portuguese Pine Forest

    Speculum Spotlight: “Ai flores, ai flores do verde pino”: The Ecopoetics of the Galician-Portuguese Pine Forest

    Scholar Adam Mahler reflects on their experience with researching and writing their article, "'“Ai flores, ai flores do verde pino': The Ecopoetics of the Galician-Portuguese Pine Forest," which appears in Speculum 99.3 (July 2024). Denis of Portugal’s “Ai flores, ai flores do verde pino” [Oh flowers, oh flowers of the green pine] is the medieval monarch’s most famous cantiga de amigo and is one of the best-known songs of the Galician-Portuguese tradition. Many have read Denis’s “pine song” as an allusion to the Pinhal de Leiria, the pine forest that he planted—or so the story went. Though Portuguese historians and paleobotanists have debunked the Leiria forest’s origin story, a preponderance of documentary evidence from Denis’s reign suggests that the monarch recognized forests as poetically generative sites of political and social tension. "The Ecopoetics of the Galician-Portuguese Pine Forest" charts ecocritical and new materialist paths through the “pine songs” of Denis and other Galician-Portuguese troubadours by examining the medieval forest in its cultural, commercial, and poetic dimensions. This article contends that Denis’s pines and his poems are affectively and acoustically co-constituted, concluding that the Galician-Portuguese troubadour tradition, particularly in its woman’s-voice compositions, encodes important ecological knowledge. For more information about Adam, Denis, and medieval Portugal, visit www.multiculturalmiddleages.com.

  • "Disneylanding" Conques and Modern Medievalisms

    "Disneylanding" Conques and Modern Medievalisms

    In this episode, four scholars from the "Conques in the Global World" project (Kris Racaniello, Adrien Palladino, Martin Lešzák, and Janet Marquardt) discuss their research on the diverse ways in which this French village has been (and is still) historicized, museumified, and "Disneylanded," producing a "living" medieval space in the present. This episode spans over one thousand years of history to interrogate questions related to monasticism, aesthetics, urbanism, nationalism, and colonialism at one of the most beloved sites for medieval scholars. For more information, visit www.multiculturalmiddleages.com.

  • The Persuasive Power of Maryam: Proselytism, Religious Conversion, and the Politics of Marian Devotion in Medieval and Early Modern Castile

    The Persuasive Power of Maryam: Proselytism, Religious Conversion, and the Politics of Marian Devotion in Medieval and Early Modern Castile

    In this episode, Amanda Valdés Sánchez addresses the crucial role of Marian devotion in the Castilian domination of the former territory of Al-Andalus and its native Islamic population. She analyzes the Castilian exploitation of the local Islamic cult of Maryam as an essential tool for consolidating the Castilian control over the recently conquered territories of the South and the expansion of the colonial project. Her analysis also reveals the fundamental role of Mary in the articulation of the Andalusian Islamic population’s place in the Castilian colonial regime and its transformation. This is an exploration of the political significance of Marian devotion in the convulsive context of Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain, defined by the birth of the Inquisition, the emergence of new communities of converts to Christianity, from Judaism and Islam, and the progressive racialization of religious ancestry and ethnic differences. In this sense, Valdéz Sánchez inquires into the political meaning of devotional trends in the changing Castilian religious panorama of the 1500s, analyzing its links to the transformation of royal and ecclesiastic policy and social attitudes towards religious and ethnic diversity, especially regarding the forced conversions of 1501 and 1526, the evolution of the collective perception of Moriscos, and the development of the “Morisco Problem.” Finally, Valdéz Sánchez looks into the Morisco response to the significant changes that characterized 16th-century Spain, analyzing how Morisco communities and elites, facing the threat of expulsion and the erosion of their rights and privileges, used the politically charged figure of Mary as a way to vindicate their place in the emerging Spanish Empire. For more information on Amanda Valdéz Sánchez and this discussion, visit our website at www.multiculturalmiddleages.com.

  • Multilingualism in Post-Conquest Britain

    Multilingualism in Post-Conquest Britain

    In the centuries after the Norman Conquest, as many as eight languages were spoken in the British Isles: English, Anglo-Norman, Latin, Norse, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, and Hebrew. Who spoke these languages, and how did they interact and influence each other? In this episode, Austin Benson discusses the linguistic and literary landscape of multilingual Britain, interviewing Dr. Sara Pons-Sanz at Cardiff University about Old Norse, Dr. Shamma Boyarin at the University of Victoria about Hebrew, and Dr. Georgia Henley at Saint Anselm College about Middle Welsh. For more information about these speakers and their conversation, visit www.multiculturalmiddleages.com.

  • Speculum Spotlight: Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages

    Speculum Spotlight: Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages

    What goes into editing a special issue of a journal? How does the framework of race and race-thinking inform medieval studies today? What is the role of objectivity in the study of the Middle Ages? Join us for this conversation with the editors of the special issue Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages, published by Speculum (99.2) in April 2024. This episode is a collaboration between The Multicultural Middle Ages and Speculum, and it was hosted by Katherine L. Jansen and Jonathan F. Correa-Reyes in conversation with Cord J. Whitaker, Nahir Otaño Gracia, and François-Xavier Fauvelle. For more information about these speakers and their conversation, visit www.multiculturalmiddleages.com.