IAS Medieval Studies and Near Eastern Studies Joint Lecture

IAS Medieval Studies and Near Eastern Studies Joint Lecture 

February 19, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm EST

The Turn to the Medieval in Ethiopian Studies – The Turn to Ethiopia in Medieval Studies I

Andrea Achi (Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum)  Marie-Laure Derat (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)  Kristen Windmuller-Luna (Cleveland Museum of Art)  Felege-Selam Yirga
 (The University of Tennessee Knoxville)

We are eager to think together about the rich and often challenging complexities that have arisen as a result of the intersection of Medieval Studies and Ethiopian Studies over the past several years. These fields developed along very different lines, but have begun to mutually enrich – and interrogate – one another. In terms of regional networks, the two fields overlap in their concern with political, commercial, and cultural connections in the eastern Mediterranean: while Ethiopia represents for Medieval Studies an outgrowth of Mediterranean Studies, extending investigation for such exchanges down the Red Sea, Europe similarly represents for Ethiopian Studies a secondary ring of this zone of contact. Each offers the other a rich comparative (and sometimes connected) context for the study of Christian culture, including monasticism, hagiography, manuscript studies, and art and architecture, and both have investigated interconfessional relations in ways that might be mutually illuminating. Finally, together they contribute to an exploration of what ‘medieval Africa’ might entail, and allow us to explore the potentialities of more integrated, even global approaches to the premodern world. Yet the enrichment that this intersection of fields provides may also be problematic, as the distinctive chronologies, nomenclatures, and scholarly traditions of Medieval Studies and Ethiopian Studies meet. As research on premodern Ethiopia has greatly expanded in recent decades, and as Medieval Studies manifests increasing interest in Ethiopia, these paired webinars seek to explore what is gained and what is lost by more intensive conversation between them.

Register in advance for this meeting here.


The IAS Ethiopian Studies Series is convened by Suzanne Akbari (IAS), Aaron Butts (CUA/IAS), Samantha L. Kelly (Rutgers U/IAS), Sabine Schmidtke (IAS).

This entry was posted in Lectures. Bookmark the permalink.