As I was preparing to write to wish you all a “Happy New Year,” share some thoughts, and heave a sigh of relief that we were finally turning the page on a challenging 2020, our hopes for a peaceful transition in our nation’s political life were shattered by the horrific assault on the Capitol which led to the loss of five lives. What happened in Washington on January 6, 2021 was nothing less than an attempt to abolish our democracy. This event was preceded by many other extremist rallies and violent inflammatory rhetoric on social media. It cast in particularly terrifying relief what has now been apparent for some time—the extreme polarization of our nation and the fragility of our democracy. The presence of pseudo-medieval symbols and costumes among the rioters in the Capitol also reminded us again of the responsibility we bear as medievalists, not only to set the historical record straight, but also to advocate unequivocally for anti-racism in our policies as an organization, and in our teaching and scholarship as individuals. A public statement from our Council will follow shortly.
Renate Blumenfeld Kosinski, President